Tension is running high between Greece and Turkey. The cause? Turkish Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar paid a visit to Imia, a pair of two small, uninhabited Greek islets in the Aegean Sea, on January 29. He was accompanied by the commanders of the Turkish land, naval and air forces.
Imia – which Turkey calls “Kardak” – was a subject of yet another crisis in 1996 that brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war. Although armed conflict was ultimately averted, Turkey still claims that the islands are Turkish, even though the islands in the Aegean are historically and legally Greek.
Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos and Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis have criticized Akar’s recent visit to the Greek island, describing it as a “serious violation” and a “show for Turkey’s domestic audience.”
Since then, Turkish government officials and politicians have continued to bring the issue of Kardak to the attention of the Turkish public in a tone that calls on Greece to “know its place.” The latest Turkish political leader who offered his opinions on the issue was Devlet Bahçeli, chairman of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party, the third-largest party in Turkey’s parliament.
by Uzay Bulut