The Turkish president blasted Greece’s recent actions, saying Athens is not at the same level economically, militarily and politically as Ankara.
Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised Greece’s harassment of his country.
“Greece is not at our level as it is not our political, economic, or military equal,” Erdogan said after a Cabinet meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara on Monday.
Over the weekend, amid tensions between Türkiye and Greece, Erdogan cautioned Greece against going too far, warning that Türkiye will do what is needed when the time comes.
“Greece, look at history, go back in time; if you go too far, the price will be heavy. We have one thing to say to Greece: Remember Izmir,” said the president, referring to a coastal area of Türkiye that the Greek army occupied a century ago until Turkish forces drove it out.
According to Turkish National Defence Ministry sources, Greece violated Türkiye’s airspace and territorial waters over 1,100 times in the first eight months of 2022 alone.
Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent months, including arming islands near Turkish shores demilitarised under international treaties, saying that such moves frustrate its good faith efforts for peace.
Erdogan said he will start a three-day Balkan tour on Tuesday, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia.
“As Türkiye, the representative of peace, tranquility, development, and equity in this region where tensions have recently risen, we continue to fulfil our duties,” he added.
The Balkans is a priority for Türkiye not only for political, economic, and geographical reasons, but also due to its historical, cultural, and human ties with the region.
Erdogan also expressed solidarity with Pakistan, where floods have killed over 1,300 people besides damaging swathes of agricultural land, leaving uncounted homeless and destroying infrastructure, saying: “We could not remain indifferent in the face of this problem, which causes many (other) problems.”
He added: “50,000 tents, 100,000 food and cleaning materials were prepared to be sent to the region. As of today, 11 planes, and two kindness trains have gone to the region. The third train leaves tomorrow,” he added.
The president said Ankara will continue to extend help “until Pakistan heals its wounds.”