Greece expanding into Turkish territory – Blue Homeland architect

Greece is expanding on Turkish territories “with help from great states”, Cihat Yaycı, former chief of staff of the Turkish navy, said in a televised interview, news website the Greek City Times reported on Monday.

“Greece hasn’t been a normal state since its inception,” Yaycı said. “It has expanded its territory five times, despite losing on the battlefield. Where did the territory come from? Turkey.”

Yaycı is one of the architects of Blue Homeland, which is an expansionist concept and doctrine that advocates that Turkey exert full control over its continental shelf, including waters and islands in the Aegean and Mediterranean that currently belong to Greece. The doctrine, devised in 2006 and refined by Yaycı, is now used as an inspiration for Turkey’s regional foreign policy and helped spark a dispute with Greece last year over rights to hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean.

Greece is in the process of its sixth expansion and has plans to grow further in the region, according to Yaycı.

Athens wants Istanbul, northern Cyprus, the Aegean islands, all of the Thrace region and most of western Anatolia to join Greece in what Greeks call the “Megali Idea” (“Great Idea”) Yaycı said. The Megali Idea, popular between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries, and the concept of Enosis, drawn up in the middle of the last century, advocate that Greece annex historically Greek lands.

“Did they take half of Thrace? They took it,” Yaycı said. “Since 1954, with the Enosis plan, do they not want Cyprus to join Greece? They want.”

Greece has unlawfully taken control of islands in the Aegean and has illegally militarised all 23 of them, Yaycı said.

He said Greece violated the terms of international treaties that gave it control over the islands through militarisation, and that Turkey had no obligation to accept Greece’s demands.

On Monday, Turkey said that its naval forces would be conducting exercises in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas named Blue Homeland 2021. The drills will include 82 warships, marine units and drones.

“Is there another state in the Aegean facing Greece? No. Are these islands a stone’s throw away from (Turkish coastal town of) Bodrum? Yes. Are Greece and Turkey NATO allies? Has Turkey ever taken over, or bombed, or sabotaged any islands? No. Has Turkey threatened or put under an embargo any islands, such as Lesbos or Chios? No. So why arm them?”

Greece aims to threaten Turkey by placing heavy weapons on the islands, Yaycı said.

“Turkey doesn’t see Greece as a threat. Greece is a small state for Turkey,” he said.

Turkey has demanded that Greece demilitarise several Aegean islands close to its shoreline. The two countries are seeking to resolve their territorial differences in contacts between diplomats that began in January.