Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reignited a row between his nation and its close neighbor Greece over a set of islands situated in the Aegean Sea.
Speaking at the scene of military exercises near Izmir, on Anatolia's western coast, Erdogan "invited" Greece to "stop arming islands."
President Erdogan made his announcement at the Aegean holiday destination city Izmir. /Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO via Reuters
A Greek government spokesman responded by calling for an avoidance of "provocation" and instead said the situation should be seen in the context of international law.
The islands have been the subject of much contention for more than 100 years.
To add to the complicated situation in the Aegean, both nations are NATO members.
In 2021 the nations restarted talks over their dispute in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.
Maps produced by Greece's Foreign Ministry show the Greek view of the region (L) and Turkey's claims (R). /Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Hellenic Republic
However, those talks fell apart again last week. President Erdogan and Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have reportedly fallen out, and Ankara has accused Athens of "airspace violations."
"Once again we invite Greece to stop arming islands with non-military status and [to] abide by international agreements," Erdogan said on Thursday.
"Turkey will not renounce its rights in the Aegean and will not back down from using rights that are established by international agreements when it comes to the subject of arming islands," he added.
Greece disputes Turkey's claims that it has historical rights to the islands.
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