Turkey’s European affairs minister has hit out at Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos for strong statements against Ankara’s activities in the Aegean and elsewhere.
Omer Celik was quoted as saying Kammenos’ comments were “foolhardy” according to Kathimerini newspaper. He also called on the EU to rebuke Greece for comments targeting Turkey.
On Wednesday Kammenos told Greek officers: “If they have the guts, let them dare challenge one inch of our soil.”
Kammenos was referring to numerous recent provocations by Turkey in the Aegean and incendiary statements by the country’s leaders. He described Turkey as “an opponent that continues to provoke us.”
“Our opponent’s provocations, threats and insults don’t scare us and don’t weaken us. On the contrary, they make us stronger. Let them challenge one inch [of Greek land], if they dare. The Greeks, united, we will crush them,” he told the men.
Kammenos announced that 3,500 additional troops are deployed in the Aegean and another 3,500 in Evros, across Turkey’s border in Thrace.
Earlier this week he also claimed the two Greek soldiers being held in Turkish custody could be in jail for 15 years.
“In a country where justice operates under the orders of the Sultan the case may drag on for 15 years,” Kammenos told reporters, also expressing the suspicion that the capture of the two soldiers might have been orchestrated by Turkey.
He noted that such routine cases in the borders between the two countries were usually resolved in five minutes.