Tayyip Erdogan vows to protect Turkey's rights against Greece

International |  IANS  | Published :

Ankara, Sep 27 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to "use all means" to protect Ankara's rights and interests against Greece.

"We will not fail to use all the means to defend our country's rights and interests against Greece, when necessary," Erdogan said at a press conference after a cabinet meeting on Monday.

His remarks came amid a recent escalation of tension between two neighbours over their disputes in the Aegean Sea, reports Xinhua news agency.

He accused Athens of making policies based on "provocative actions" and suggested that Greece is being "dragged into a swamp with military build-ups".

"This is a dangerous game for both the Greek politicians, the Greek state, the Greek people," Erdogan said.

Relations between the two countries have long been tense over a series of issues, including territory and energy disputes in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas.

The semi-official Anadolu Agency reported on Sunday the footage of Greek ships, carrying military vehicles, landed on Lesbos and Samos islands on September 18 and 21, respectively.

Turkey warned Greece that these islands have non-military status according to international treaties.

Earlier this month, Erdogan accused Greece of "harassing" Turkish fighter jets in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean, a claim that Greece has rejected.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on September 11 said despite the recent "unacceptable" comments of Erdogan, he was "always available and open to a meeting with the Turkish leader".

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