Island tour

Minister’s island visit angers Ankara

Deputy Defense Minister Nikos Hardalias’ four-day tour of the eastern Aegean islands has apparently annoyed Ankara, as radio harassment from his helicopter on Sunday suggested.

The helicopter was flying in the eastern Aegean when Turkish forces radioed that it was flying in a demilitarized zone and asked it to change direction.

“The helicopter tour of 3-5 islands does not benefit the Greek people and is not an example of political or military intelligence,” Turkish military sources quoted by Anadolu news agency said. “With the hostile attitude it shows, Greece will face disappointing results, as in the past,” the sources reportedly said, while also insisting that military activity on the islands that were transferred to Greece on condition of demilitarization is a clear violation of the treaties of Lausanne and Paris.

Turkey has upped the ante by calling on Greece to demilitarize the eastern Aegean islands, but seems irritated that it has so far failed to find an international audience for the much-hyped issue. emphasis by his Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Countries like the US and UK, as well as the EU, have already rushed to take a stand alongside Greece. In the case of the EU, the response was slightly delayed and came after Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias briefed High Representative Josep Borrell on the issue.

Turkey, however, appeared unfazed on Monday and continued its airspace violation tactics, adding three drones to its fighter jets, indicating a new approach by Ankara.

Meanwhile, on Monday, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt affirmed US solidarity with Greece against Turkish claims.

“As we discussed our common goals of regional stability,” Pyatt tweeted after meeting Dendias at the ministry in Athens, “I affirmed what Washington has made clear: Greece’s sovereignty over its islands is not not in question”.