Tension rises between Turkey and Greece as Erdogan issues warning

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Greece not to “go too far” amid heightened tension over territorial disputes between the two NATO allies.

“Greece’s occupation of Aegean Sea islands is not our concern,” Erdogan said in a speech on Saturday in Samsun province on the Black Sea coast. “When the time comes, we will do what is necessary. As we say, all of a sudden, we can come overnight.” 

On Monday Erdoğan, sent a reminder to Greece saying that Greece was not Türkiye’s equal politically, economically or militarily.

Erdoğan made the remark, following a cabinet meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday.

"I would like to make the following reminder about Greece, which has recently stepped up its harassment and rudeness towards our country. Greece is not at our level, as it is not our equal politically, economically, or militarily," Erdoğan said.

The Turkish government is irked by what it sees as a growing Greek military buildup on islands near its coast, Western military support to Greece, and a growing US military footprint in Greek border towns. Turkey also has accused Greek fighter jets of locking radar-targeting systems on Turkish fighters that it says were in international airspace. 

Tension between the two neighbors increased this week after Greece lodged a complaint with NATO asking for deletion of a Twitter post by the alliance’s Allied Land Command to mark Turkey’s 100th Victory Day on Aug. 30. Turkey observes that date each year to remember the effective end of its war of independence in 1922 when it defeated Greek armies.

Erdogan urged Athens to “remember Izmir,” the last city that Ankara liberated from Greek occupation at the end of the war. “If you go too far, the price will be heavy,” he said on Saturday.

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