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Iran Press TV

Turkey, Greece trade barbs over Aegean

Iran Press TV

Sat Feb 4, 2017 7:17AM

Turkey and Greece have been trading accusations of impolitic behavior in the Aegean Sea, where they are engaged in a territorial dispute.

Earlier this week, Turkey said Greek special forces had landed on the Greek island of Kos in the Aegean. Greece, on the other hand, reported mass incursions by Turkish military aircraft over the central and southern parts of the waters on Wednesday.

On Friday, Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu warned Athens against "any arbitrary step contrary to international law that could create tensions," Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported.

The spokesman said a Paris peace accord that ended World War II has banned the militarization of the islands. Greece argues that Turkey was not part of the treaty and thus lacks jurisdiction to pass judgment on the developments in the area.

Muftuoglu, however, cautioned that Ankara would take all legal actions to defend "its right over the Aegean."

Greece had earlier on Friday branded the reported Turkish forays over the waters as "cowboy antics."

The two sides were within a whisker of going to war with one another in 1996 over the ownership of uninhabited Aegean islets known as Imia in Greece and Kardak in Turkey.

On Sunday, Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar paid a surprise visit to the islets.

Turkey was also enraged after Greek recently refused to extradite eight soldiers whom Ankara said had been involved in a failed coup last July to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's administration.

Reacting to the frayed tempers in Ankara, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said Turkey's behavior appeared to be an "attempt to externalize their internal crisis."

"Turkey may occasionally behave nervously, in a manner not becoming to the needs of normal development of bilateral relations," he added.

The two sides are, meanwhile, busy supporting the parties under their respective influence as Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus are working out a means to unify the political systems in each territory.

Back in 1974, Greek-allied forces staged a failed coup to annex the island, but Turkey responded militarily, and the territory has been partitioned ever since.

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