Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Greece to cease its alleged navy buildup within the Aegean islands, threatening its neighbor and fellow NATO ally with a “heavy value” that it’d find yourself paying.

“Your occupying the islands doesn’t bind us. When the time, the hour, comes, we are going to do what is critical,” Erdogan stated in a speech on Saturday in northern Samsun province.

The Aegean islands, as soon as dominated by the Ottoman Empire, got to Greece beneath 1923 and 1947 treaties. Ankara has repeatedly accused Athens of pursuing a navy buildup on the islands, insisting that Greek sovereignty over them was conditional on their demilitarized standing. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, nevertheless, has dismissed Turkish makes an attempt to query the sovereignty over the islands as “absurd.”

Erdogan pointed to the historical past of conflicts between the 2 international locations, specifically to the 1919-1922 Greco-Turkish warfare. The warfare resulted in a significant victory for Ankara, whereas Athens needed to cede the territories it acquired by partition of the crumbled Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic that emerged as a replacement.

“Have a look at historical past, look again at historical past, in case you go too far, the value will probably be heavy. We’ve got just one sentence for Greece, don’t forget Izmir,” Erdogan stated, apparently referring to the 1922 battle of Izmir (often known as the town of Smyrna again then).

The battle resulted within the expulsion of the Greek troops from Asia Minor – and a significant hearth that largely destroyed the town. Many historians consider the blaze was began intentionally by the Turkish troops to purge the native ethnic Greek inhabitants.

The hostile remarks haven’t escaped Athens, with the Greek Overseas Ministry stating it will not partake within the “outrageous each day slide” of threats proven by Turkey. As a substitute, the ministry promised to boost the problem of Turkish hostile statements with the US-led NATO bloc.

“We are going to inform our allies and companions on the content material of the provocative statements … to make it clear who’s setting dynamite to the cohesion of our alliance throughout a harmful interval,” the international ministry stated.

The brand new tensions between the 2 neighboring international locations come as Turkey accused Greece in late August of locking its Russian-made S-300 air defenses onto two Turkish jets on a routine flight above impartial waters. Greek navy sources, nevertheless, have denied the incident, telling native media that not one of the nation’s air defenses had been activated on the day of the alleged incident.

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