In a further escalation of tensions in the Aegean, a chief advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a direct threat to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, his ministers and other Greek officials, not to set foot on the islets of Imia, whose sovereignty Ankara disputes.
Erdoğan adviser warns Greeks off disputed islets - report
Yiğit Bulut, a chief political adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made a direct threat to members of the Greek government to stay off the disputed islets of Imia.
Greece would "feel the anger of Turkey, worse than that in Afrin," Bulut said, referring to a Turkish military operation against a Kurdish-controlled enclave in Syria, according to the Ekathimerini newspaper.
"We will break the arms and legs of any officers, of the prime minister or of any minister who dares to step onto Imia in the Aegean," Bulut said, according to the Athens-based publication.
Bulut spoke as tensions between Turkey and Greece heightened over the uninhabited disputed islets that lie between Turkey’s southwestern coastline and the Greek island of Kalymnos. Erdoğan called in December for renegotiation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that marked out the borders between the two neighbours. The countries came close to war in 1996 in a dispute over Imia, known as Kardak in Turkey.
U.S. Ambassador to Athens Geoffrey Pyatt this week expressed his concern over the possibility of an "accident" happening between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean, Ekathimerini said.
His comments followed a near collision between a Turkish coast guard vessel and a Greek gunboat off Imia.