Cavusoglu provokes Greece over Imia – Turkish newspaper blames Greek Army for raising flag in … Oinousses
New York.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his surrogates will do everything it takes to win the April 16 referendum that will give Erdogan absolute power, risking even a hot incident with Greece in the Aegean.
Violations of the Greek airspace by Turkish military jets and of the Greek territorial waters have increased. A group of seven Turkish military aircraft comprised of two F-4, four armed F-16 and a CN-235 transport aircraft entered Athens FIR on Friday without submitting a flight plan.
Greek authorities recorded three violations of air traffic rules which developed into 18 violations of national airspace in various areas of the Aegean. Seventeen of the violations were conducted by the CN-235.
The government controlled Turkish Press publishes fabricated stories on Greece and Cyprus aimed at increasing the nationalistic sentiment in Turkey. Erdogan will desperately need the support of the nationalistic MHP in order to gain the majority in the referendum. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has made the Grey Wolves fascist gesture during a meeting of his party’s parliamentary group last Tuesday.
Yildirim said in regard to the alliance between his party the AKP and the nationalist party MHP.: “Our nationalist and patriot brothers have told me ‘the country first, the nation first and we will move forward together’.”
After the statement Yildirim made the symbol of the Turkish nationalist extremist movement the ‘Grey wolves’.
Following Turkish press reports that on Jan. 29, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar visited the islets of Imia – a claim that Greek Defense Ministry rejected – Turkish Press claimed that the island of Oinousses was captured by the Greek Army!!! Oinousses (almost 1,000 population) is barren cluster of 1 larger and 8 smaller islands some 2 kilometres (1 mile) off the north-east coast of the Greek island of Chios and 8 km (5 miles) west of Turkey, liberated by Greece after 1912 Balkan War. Almost 1,000 people
According to the Turkish Media, Greece has captured the island of Oinousses, which they call “Koyun”, and has put a garrison there. They say that the Greek Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Alcibiades Stefanis, made a “provocative” visit on the island!
As they say, the Greek General “visited the island without anyone stopping him(!) raised the Greek flag”…
KOTZIAS – CAVUSOGLU
Greece’s foreign ministry criticized comments made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday about the islets of Imia and the eight Turkish servicemen who requested asylum in Greece, saying personal attacks do not promote the relations between the two countries.
“When someone is unable to respond in a political manner to events, it may be this person does not understand them. One may not understand the technical, legal and political aspects of the issues and therefore choose personal attacks instead […] that do not promote the relations between the two countries and are foreign to our political culture,” the ministry said.
Asked in an interview with Anadolu Agency on Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias’ remarks that the Turkish “general staff chief couldn’t set foot on the Imia even if he wanted to,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying: “If his duty was to do so, he would have done it. Let’s not forget that we set foot on the places we were supposed to. Our stance on Kardak is clear.”
Commenting on the Greek Supreme Court’s decision not to extradite “Turkey’s 8”, Cavusoglu claimed Greece is “preventing the traitors from being prosecuted for their crimes” which is “not in line with good-neighborly, friendly relations.”
Two Turkish army officers were entered Greece through Evros and handed themselves in to the authorities on February 15. They are held by Greek police in a safe area, the Ministry of Citizen Protection said on Friday, responding to media reports. Earlier, government sources categorically denied reports in a private television channel that the two officers are being held at the headquarters of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP).
TENSION TO LAST
BEYOND THE REFERENDUM
According to “Kathimerini”, Athens is preparing – on a political, economic and military level – for a standoff with Ankara that could last up to two years, as the government says the recent spike in Turkish provocations is part of a plan to bring its claims in the Aegean Sea back to the fore.
Greek and foreign analysts say that the harsh rhetoric coming from Turkey is directly linked to the upcoming referendum on April 16 on whether to expand the powers of the president.
Given this context, Athens is preparing for more tension in the period beyond the April referendum, stretching all the way to the national elections in Turkey in 2019.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried to woo voters by playing the nationalist card. The stakes couldn’t be higher for Erdogan, as a no vote could plunge the neighboring country into an even deeper crisis.
However, it is believed that the provocations are driven by more than just a populist effort to appeal to a domestic audience, as Ankara has, at the same time, reintroduced talk of “gray areas” in Aegean, essentially disputing Greece’s sovereignty.
Greece’s decision not to extradite eight Turkish servicemen to Turkey and this week’s asylum applications of two more officers – allegedly involved in a plot to assassinate Erdogan – are not making matters any easier between the two countries.