Ties between Ankara and Athens remained strained over the weekend, with Greece’s armed forces under instructions to remain alert but calm, following an escalating war of words over sovereignty in the Aegean and an unprecedented spike in Turkish provocations.
According to sources, the Greek military is particularly concerned about a possible surprise move by the Turkish Navy in the Aegean – either another attempt by a Turkish vessel to approach the Imia islets or a claim by Ankara to search and rescue rights in the area – that would ratchet up tensions further.
A week of challenges by Ankara, prompted by a Greek court decision on January 26 to reject a request for the extradition of eight Turkish military officers linked to last year’s failed coup, culminated in a terse verbal exchange.
Late on Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the “tone” and “absurd remarks” of Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, saying that they were “deplorable.”
“We condemn his baseless, inappropriate as well as unethical expressions against our country and our President and return them to the owner,” the Turkish ministry said in a written statement issued late on Friday.