Panos Kammenos claimed on Friday that Turkey is trying "to escalate the crisis" over the Kardak islets, warning against setting foot on them and saying that Greek forces are ready for "any contingency”.
Speaking to reporters in Turkey’s Mediterranean province of Antalya, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Kammenos of using “provocative rhetoric”.
On Saturday, Cavusoglu also reacted to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias’ remarks that “Turkish Chief of General Staff could not set foot on Kardak even if he wanted to,” pointing out that Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar had actually just visited the islets.
“Our stance on Kardak is clear,” Cavusoglu added Saturday.
A decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over the uninhabited Aegean islets of Kardak brought the two countries to the brink of armed conflict in 1996 and led to renewed tensions this year.
On Jan. 29, Turkish military chief Akar visited waters near the islets. Three days later, Kammenos flew over the disputed islets.
On Sunday, Cavusoglu said that although the two countries have different perspectives on the islands in the Aegean, along with its continental shelf and air pace, “We place importance on our relations with Greece”.
Noting the similarities between the countries, Cavusoglu said: “But first of all Greece should not allow a spoiled child to cast a shadow over this,” apparently referring to Kammenos.
“They should not try our patience,” he added.