Turkish Defense Minister and former Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar argued that the islands given to Greece under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties on condition that it not arm them are now militarized and that therefore the regime it is questionable to them.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the Anatolian Publishers Association (Anadolu Yayıncılar Derneği) last week, Akar also warned Greek officials, recalling the execution of Greek politicians and generals in Athens who were held responsible for a defeat by Turkish forces in 1922. .
Stating that despite international agreements Greece had militarized 16 of the 23 islands, Akar argued that Turkey has every right to defend itself against this threat. Greek sovereignty over these militarized islands and the validity of the agreements will also become controversial, the minister said, according to the Nordic Monitor.
Akar also reiterated that it is unacceptable for Turkey to claim that Greece has 10 miles of airspace over its islands in the Aegean, despite the fact that their coastal shelf only extends for six miles. Akar said Greek leaders wake up in the morning wondering what kind of statement to make against Turkey today and urged them to learn from history. “Some politicians in Greece continue their provocative actions and rhetoric according to their personal ambitions, because such a speech against Turkey is supposed to bring them something in domestic politics,” Akar told reporters.
Akar also referred to a bloody trial that took place in Athens after the Greek forces, which in 1922 had occupied western Anatolia under the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, were defeated by the Turkish army and militia and had to withdraw from the Anatolia.
In what is known as the Trial of the Six (Ex), former Prime Ministers Dimitrios Gounaris, Nikolaos Stratos and Petros Protopapadakis, former Foreign Minister Georgios Baltatzis, former Minister of Defense Nikolaos Theotokis and the last commander-in-chief of the Asia Minor campaign, General Georgios Hadgianestis, were held responsible for the defeat by the Turks and were executed for treason on November 28, 1922 by an emergency court-martial amid political unrest in Athens.
“Our Greek interlocutors must never forget how bitter was the price of the vile adventure that took place a century ago and that its six rulers were sentenced to death. One should learn from history and not pursue new adventures that will lead to disappointment,” Akar added.
Alleging that Greece supports terrorist organizations against Turkey, Akar said all kinds of opportunities were given to terrorists in the Lavrio refugee camp, which Turkey has repeatedly claimed has been turned into a base for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The problems of the Turkish minority in Greece continue, Akar said. Calling them Greek Muslims and not Muslim Turks is a denial of their national identity, according to Akar.
He also criticized the administration of the mosque in Athens, which he claimed Greece opened only for show, by Orthodox Christians.
Akar also expressed dismay at a story published by Nordic Monitor, which reported in April that an exercise called Mavi Vatan (Blue Homeland), an aggressive naval doctrine identified with Turkey’s Mediterranean policy, included a scenario in which Turkish commandos captured an island and planted a Turkish flag. Akar said the images of the military exercise were dated and gave the impression that Turkey was soon to invade the Greek islands, which he said was not true.
Nordic Monitor previously reported that the Turkish military listed 131 islands, islets and rock formations in the Aegean Sea whose status is disputed with neighboring Greece and prepared plans to seize them during a conflict, according to a confidential document.
Some also argue that Greece will invade western Turkey through the islands. Retired admiral Cihat Yaycı, who helped President Recep Tayyip Erdogan purge most pro-NATO officers from the army after a controversial coup attempt in 2016, claimed Turkey would be invaded by Greek troops stationed on the islands if the coup was successful.
Many military experts found Yaycı’s claim ridiculous and fanciful, stating that the Greek military presence on the islands could not pose a serious threat to Turkey.