ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister called Monday on Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to clarify whether a map displayed by a nationalist ally of Erdogan’s that showed several major, inhabited Greek islands as Turkish is official Turkish policy.
Greece and Turkey have been at loggerheads for decades over a series of issues, including disputes over undersea exploration rights in the Aegean Sea and the sovereignty of uninhabited islets. The two neighbors have come to the brink of war three times in the past half century.
Tensions have again increased over the past two years. Recent quarrels have focused on Greek islands off Turkey’s coast, where Ankara accuses Athens of maintaining a military presence in violation of treaties. Greece counters it is acting according to international law and is defending its islands in the face of Turkish hostility.
“Take a good look at this map. Crete, Rhodes, Lesvos, Chios, Samos all consumed by Turkey,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted Monday, along with a photo of Devlet Bahceli, the leader of a nationalist party allied with Erdogan, holding up a map showing Crete, Greece’s largest island, and all eastern Aegean Greek islands as being Turkish.
“Α fever dream of extremists or Turkey’s official policy? Another provocation or the true goal? President Erdogan must make his position clear on his junior coalition partner’s latest antics,” Mitsotakis tweeted.
The map was a gift to Bahceli from the ultranationalist Grey Wolves group, the youth organization affiliated with Bahceli’s National Movement Part, or MHP.
Grey Wolves head Ahmet Yigit Yildirim tweeted the photo with Bahceli and the map on Sunday, saying it was “to show the national consciousness’ border of our islands where the glorious Turkish flag fluttered for hundreds of years but that were usurped by Greece.”