Greece complains to NATO, UN over Turkey's remarks
Greece sent complaints to NATO and UN, calling Erdogan's statements "inflammatory."
Greece has sent letters to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United Nations, complaining over Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's "inflammatory" statements and asking them to condemn Ankara's behavior, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO members, have disputes over the extent of their continental shelves, energy resources in the region, their airspaces, and authority over some islands in the Aegean Sea, as both countries were not able to achieve any worthwhile progress over 60 rounds of talks from 2002 until 2016.
The European Union voiced concern on Monday over Erdogan's statements in which he accused Greece of occupying demilitarised islands in the Aegean and saying Ankara was prepared to "do what is necessary" when the time came.
State-owned Anadolu news agency said that Turkey sent letters this week to the NATO, EU, and the UN, in which it explained its stance on matters including overlapping claims on territorial waters, airspace, and the demilitarisation status of the Aegean islands, among other issues.
On Wednesday, Greek diplomatic sources said Ankara's letter distorted reality and included unfounded arguments that violate international law. The sources added that Greece has also sent letters to the UN and NATO.
"The Turkish attitude is a destabilising factor for NATO's unity and cohesion, weaking the southern flank of the Alliance at a moment of crisis," Nikos Dendias, the Greek foreign minister, said in a letter to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a warning to Greece on Saturday for violating Turkish airspace. He stated that Greece would pay a "heavy price" if it continued to "harass" Turkish jets over the Aegean during Turkey's most prominent technology festival, Teknofest, in the province of Samsun on the Black Sea coast.
Ankara has been accusing Athens of provocations, which it says undermines efforts for peace. The two countries have been head to head with territorial disputes in sea and air, which lead to air force patrols and interception missions almost daily.
"We have only one word to tell Greece: Do not forget Izmir (Smyrna in Greek)," Erdogan said, referring to the end of the Greek occupation after Turkish forces entered the city in the Aegean coast in 1922.
"Your occupation of the islands does not bind us," Erdogan said.
"When the time comes, we will do what's necessary. As we say, we may come suddenly one night," he added, using his often-repeated words when he talked about launching an operation into neighboring Syria.