Turkey ready to ‘do what is necessary’ in warning to Greece

Erdogan issues warning to Greece

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Greece has been told it risks provoking the wrath of Turkey if it persists with its military fortification of islands in the Aegean Sea – with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warning: “Those who sow the wind reap the storm”. Ankara claims Athens is breaching international treaties requiring islands in the key strategic waterway, which separates the two countries, by staging military drills on the islands of Rhodes and Lesbos.

Specifically, Turkish officials insist the deployment of soldiers or weapons on some islands near its coast is in violation of their nonmilitary status according to international law.

Athens insists it needs to defend the islands against a potential attack from Turkey, highlighting the fact that Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has a sizeable military force on the western Turkish coast, barely 20 miles away.

Speaking during a joint news conference with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu, Mr Cavusoglu said continued violation of the treaties would open the sovereignty of the islands up for debate and force Turkey to defend its rights.

He said: “We cannot remain silent. Greece needs to renounce its violation.

“Either it steps back on the issue and abides by the agreement or we’ll do whatever is necessary.”

“We will continue to take the necessary steps both legally – within international organisations, especially the UN and on the field.

NATO members Turkey and Greece have decades-old disputes over an array of issues, including territorial claims in the Aegean Sea and disputes over the airspace there.

The disputes have brought them to the brink of war three times in the last half-century.

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Turkey established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus after an invasion in 1974 – although it remains unrecognised by the international community.

Tensions over exploratory drilling rights in areas of the Mediterranean Sea where Greece and Cyprus claim exclusive economic zones culminated in a naval standoff two years ago.

Mr Cavusoglu said: “Greece should not forget this.

“Those who sow the wind reap the storm.

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“If you do not want peace, we will do what is necessary.”

Speaking last month at the G20 summit in Bali, Mr Erdogan warned his neighbour Turkey “can come suddenly one night” and Athens should “mind its place” and “remember the history.”

He also dismissed Greece’s military presence on the Aegean islands as having “no meaning,” insisting: “all the planes and weapons that come will be of no use”.

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