Turkey’s foreign minister Mevsut Cavusoglu threatens Greece with a not at all diplomatic ‘accident’ in the Aegean Sea that could harm the bilateral relations irreparable. Cavusoglu threatens to shoot down a helicopter with the Greek Defense Minister on board, should the later dare fly again near the Imia islet.
Speaking to a Turkish daily, the foreign minister targeted Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, urging him to “come to his senses.”
Cavusoglu described Kammenos’s as “provocative” and said that his behavior and comments create problems between the two neighboring countries.
Such behavior could cause an unwanted accident that could not be repaired, Cavusoglu said, clearly , implying that Turkey could should down a helicopter with the Greek defense minister on board should Kammenos dare fly near or over Imia again.
“The minister provokes constantly,” Cavusoglu said. “Greece makes provocative moves since a long time. We behave with sensibility so that there is no tension with our neighbor,” he added.
On February 1st, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos flew to Imia islet and threw a wreath in the sea in commemoration of three Greek soldiers who lost their lives during the Imia crisis on 31. January 1996.
Kammenos visit came just four days after a gunboat with the Turkish Chief of General Staff and the three top commanders of Land, Air and Naval Forces took a sailing tour around the highly disputed Imia islets.
The visit of Turkey’s top brass was followed by massive air space violations from Turkey: 138 times on a single day.
Cavusoglu threats follow direct threats by Turkey’s deputy prime minister Veysi Kaynak. On February 1st, Kaynak openly threatened Greece with an intervention of Turkish Armed Forces in the Aegean Sea.
Kaynak said that Turkey will not allow Greece to exploit the islets in the Aegean adding “The Turkish Armed Forces that have the responsibility for the border protection will not allow it. The Turkish forces will prevent such a development in any way.”
Ankara went furious after Greece’s Supreme Court rejected its request to extradite 8 Turkish soldiers who sought asylum in Greece a day after the failed coup in July 2016.
Ankara’s response to Court decision was the usual Turkish way: provocations and threats.
Both countries are members of NATO.
PS So NATO-member Turkey wants to shoot down a helicopter of NATO-member Greece for violating imaginary Turkish borders and territory? Ankara can already seek membership to some other defense alliance…