Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos sent a sharp worded message to his Turkish counter Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following a series of provocations accompanying his tour to the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea.
“The brave do not provoke,” President Pavlopoulos told Greek soldiers safeguarding the remote island of Ai Stratis. “Provocations, especially provocations without a reason, are characteristic signs of weakness and insecurity.”
“What history and our ancestors taught us is “Molon Labe”, Pavlopoulos added citing the famous quote of Spartan King Leonidas I.
- Molon labe (Greek: μολὼν λαβέ molṑn lavé), meaning “come and take [them]”, is a classical expression of defiance. According to Plutarch, Xerxes, king of Persia, demanded that the Spartans surrender their weapons and King Leonidas I responded with this phrase.
“There are no grey zones in the Aegean, neither disputes that move between absurdity and ridiculing,” the President told soldiers while visiting the island of Lemnos.
The president underlined that soldiers in remote areas safeguard the Greek borders that are also borders of the European Union and this according to the International Law.
“You are brave fighters and respond to provocations with Molon Labe!,” Pavlopoulos urged the members of the Greek Armed Forces.
The helicopters transporting the Greek President, the defense Minister and high-ranking military officers to the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea were harassed by the Turkish armed forces on three occasions in less than 24 hours.
Pilots of Shinook helicopters received warning calls and threats from the Turkish armed forces, while they were approaching the islet of Panagia ans the island of Rhodes. The Turkish side claimed the Greek helicopters had violated Turkish Flight Information Region (FIR) or that they were flying in demilitarized zones.”
Ankara does not miss an opportunity to challenge Greek sovereignty in the Aegean Sea.
Turkey’s provocations increased again after the failure of Cyprus talks in Crans-Montana and the start of drilling for natural gas in Block 11 off Cyprus.