Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar stated in provocative manner that he believed Greece did not want to engage in a possible military conflict with Turkey.
During an interview on TV on Wednesday, the Turkish MoD also referred to the contentious issue of the Hagia Sophia which has come to the fore after the Turkish President made it clear he wanted to turn the UNESCO world heritage site into an islamic mosque.
Mr. Akar stressed that “I do not think that Greece wants to get involved in a war with Turkey. I want to emphasise that it is not mathematically convenient for them. What we are saying is to sit down and dialogue.”
He then reiterated Turkey’s allegations of militarisation of Greek islands, stressing that “16 of the 23 Aegean islands are militarised, against the Treaty of Lausanne.”
“There is an unofficial military presence. Do you [Greece] feel threatened and do you do this? There is no country with territorial waters at 6 miles and 10 miles in the air. We are maintaining our composure in such extreme conditions. Let’s meet and talk. We want to meet our expectations in the Aegean and the Mediterranean and we have made some progress.”
Akar also referred to Hagia Sophia, clarifying that “neither Greece nor any other country can move forward by adopting an anti-Turkish stance. Hagia Sophia belongs to the Republic of Turkey and we will use it as we wish. Foreigners cannot be involved in our plans for Hagia Sophia. ”