Erdogan challenges three countries in one day. Part Two: Greece


February 15, 2018 – Fort Russ News –

–  Kamran Hasanov in Tsargrad, translated by Tom Winter –

“In the course of one day, events occurred that led to the cooling of relations with three countries at once: Greece, Israel and the United States.”

Imia (in Greek) Kardak (in Turkish) Islets of discord. And then there is Cyprus!

On the same day, February 13, Erdogan in the most severe form criticized Greece for the incident that occurred three days earlier in the Aegean Sea.

“These Greeks again were troublemakers, unfortunately. Similar things have already happened. The Greek boats approached but got moved away from Kardak,” Erdogan said, answering journalists’ questions.

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The Greek side responded in a softer form. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the country’s Foreign Ministry called Ankara’s actions “a violation of international law,” undermining Turkish-European relations. Although the former Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who held this post in 1996-1999, did not stint on harsh terms, “outdoing” even Erdogan. Commenting on the incident, he said: “A good Turk is a dead Turk.” They do not have a sense of justice.”

Recall, on February 11 in the area of the disputed islets Kardak (Imia in Greek), the Turkish PT boat rammed the Greek Coast Guard cutter, preventing the Greeks from laying a wreath on the place where three Greek soldiers were killed in 1996, when their helicopter crashed. It is notable that the Greek Minister of Defense Panos Kammenos himself intended to lay a wreath on the Kardak rocks, but he was prevented by the Turkish military. As a result of the collision, the aft part of the Greek ship was damaged, and it had to be towed to the port of Leros.

The microscopic and uninhabited islets of Imia put Turkey and Greece on the brink of war in 1996. Both countries landed and hoisted their flags there. After a two-week difference in the area of the islands when Turkish and Greek helicopters crashed, the heat of passion reached the limit. However, with the mediation of Washington, the conflict between the two NATO countries was hushed up.

Differences between Athens and Ankara are not limited to the islands in the Aegean Sea. More serious is the problem of Cyprus, divided into Greek and Turkish parts. In 1974, when Greece was going to annex the island inhabited by the Turks and Greeks, Turkey landed an assault on the northern part of Cyprus. Taking control of almost 36% of the island’s territory, Ankara proclaimed the independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

The echoes of that conflict are still heard, especially after large reserves of gas were discovered in the Mediterranean. On February 9, under the pretext of military maneuvers, the Turkish Navy’s ships blocked the floating drilling platform of the Italian oil company ENI.

“Let no one think that we do not notice the adventurers’ attempts to search for gas deposits off the coast of Cyprus,” Erdogan said, warning lest ENI become a tool in the “games” of Nicosia.”

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The Greek Foreign Ministry regards Turkey’s actions as a violation of Cyprus’s sovereign rights, and the place of drilling is Cyprus’ “exclusive economic zone.”

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