Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rhetoric appears to be coming to an anti-Greek crescendo as he campaigns for his ruling party’s candidates in the upcoming March 31 local elections.
Speaking in Smyrna (Izmir) on Sunday he used extreme nationalist rhetoric when referring to the defeat of the Greek army in 1922.
“Izmir! You who throw the giaours (a word used by the Turks to describe all who are not Muslims) in the sea and protect the helpless,” he said, in an apparent reference to the Greeks who drowned while trying to flee a fire set by Turks in the port.
Athens issued a stern response to Erdogan, stating that his references “undermine the trust we hope to build between our countries.
“Greece is not going to be swept away in the instrumentalization of foreign policy to serve domestic political expediencies, or use history with terms that are offensive to neighboring countries,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in their Sunday statement.
“Such unacceptable references undermine the trust we hope to build between our countries and are not in line with the European perspective that the Turkish leadership claims to support,” the ministry added.