On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked Greek and French officials, saying they were “greedy and incompetent”, against the backdrop of escalating tension between Ankara, Athens, and Paris in the eastern Mediterranean.
This stance comes as Turkey celebrates, on Sunday, “Victory Day”, a national holiday that marks the “victory” of Ataturk’s army over the Greek forces, in 1922, during Turkey’s war of independence.
Erdogan asked, during the handing over of certificates to officers in Ankara, “Will the Turkish people accept what may be exposed to … and does the French people know the price they will pay, because of these greedy and incompetent officials?”
The statements of the Turkish President reflect the fragility of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, after three weeks of escalation, which began on August 10, with Ankara deploying a research ship in waters claimed by Athens.
In a step taken in support of Greece, France last week strengthened its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean, and condemned, on Sunday, the “escalatory behavior” of Turkey.
“When it comes to fighting, we will not hesitate to offer martyrs … The issue is the following: Who attacks us in the Mediterranean and (the Middle East) are they ready for the same sacrifices?” Erdogan said.
Ankara is intransigent about the European threat to impose sanctions, and on Saturday, it announced new military exercises in the north of the island of Cyprus.
Also, the Turkish Vice President, Fuad Aktay, warned on the same day against any expansion of Greek territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles.