Turkey’s patience may run out soon if Greece continues to pose illegitimate threats to the country’s security and sovereignty, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
“They have islands, there are bases on these islands … and if these illegitimate threats against us continue, there is an end to our patience,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by Turkish news agency Anadolu.
According to the Turkish leader, Ankara may respond to Athens’ actions “all of a sudden.”
Turkey has been at odd with Greece and Turkey for decades. The countries were on the verge of an armed conflict several times. A new round of tension began on August 23, when Greece allegedly used S-300 air defense systems to escort F-16 fighters of the Turkish air force performing a reconnaissance mission west of Rhodes Island at the altitude of 10,000 feet. Sources in the Greek Defence Ministry have denied Turkey’s claims that Athens deployed its S-300s in Crete against Turkish F-16s.
Tensions between Athens and Ankara further escalated on September 3, when Erdogan warned that Greece would pay a “heavy price” if incidents with Turkish planes continue. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Ankara expected objectivity from NATO in connection with the use by Greece of S-300 systems in the pursuit of Turkish aircraft. According to Akar, Athens ignores international law, good neighborly relations and friendship with Ankara.