On Friday Turkey lashed out at a series of positions the EU summit in Brussels took regarding territorial disputes with Greece in the Aegean and Mediterranean – specifically on drilling rights and Ankara’s charge that Greece is “militarizing” its islands in violation of historic treaties, an accusation which the EU has not backed. This also as Turkey has been seething over Ukraine and Moldova so quickly being granted EU candidate status.
The EU has consistently sided with defending Greece and Cyprus’ pushback against expansive Turkish claims, which the Turkish foreign ministry slammed as decisions which are “prejudiced, lack vision, and are disconnected from reality.”
The guy holding that stick says “this is Turkey’s border, how can these islands be Greek” — i just have never seen anything like this in my life… following turkey is really harmful to mental health… https://t.co/7NHatJGjgO
— Pinar Tremblay (@PinarTremblay) June 10, 2022
Turkish publication Daily Sabah explains, “Citing several Greek policy positions and actions, including its claim to 10 nautical miles (11.5 miles) of national airspace, the militarization of Aegean islands near the Turkish coast, and pushbacks of asylum seekers, it underlined that the EU’s silence on these issues contributes nothing toward their resolution and harms regional stability.”
This after early this month German Chancellor Olaf Scholz put the ball in Turkey’s court, urging that it not “provoke” Greece, which is a similar criticism from France’s Macron as well, who has even more actively backed Greece and Cyprus in these disputes.
Meanwhile Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis more or less claimed ‘victory’ following Friday’s EU meeting:
“I repeat that we are fully covered by the conclusions that were unanimously adopted and which express concern about Turkey’s provocations,” said Mitsotakis regarding Greek-Turkish affairs, stating that they “call on [Turkey] to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all member-states and to de-escalate the tension which it is cultivating in the Eastern Mediterranean, so as to promote peace and stability in the wider region.”
But perhaps as predicted, Turkey has not de-escalated its rhetoric, but completely the opposite, with its foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu going so far as to call for a ‘greater Turkey’ in a recent televised speech:
— George Mastropavlos (@g_mastropavlos) June 25, 2022
Cavusoglu said “Turkey cannon be contained within its borders” – echoing the well-known neo-Ottoman, expansionist rhetoric of Erdogan over the past years.
In the now viral clip, the top Turkish diplomat said further, “We’ve got a responsibility to our history and to our future, because there is a Turkey bigger than Turkey. Turkey is bigger than our country, don’t forget that. This is the reason we cannot be contained within our borders.”
While the West has been focused on the “imperialist” rhetoric from Moscow, it might take note of the imperialist ambitions now being spouted from NATO’s second-largest military, at a moment the much smaller EU/NATO country of Greece is under threat.