Turkey Threatens Greece With Missile Strike
TURKEY - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened Greece with a missile strike on Athens. Both countries are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance.
Turkish news, Anadolu Agency reported that Erdoğan spoke at an event in the northern Samsun province on Sunday and said that Turkey's ballistic missile test "scares" Greece because the missile is capable of hitting Athens.
Erdoğan said, "Now we have started to build our missiles. Of course, this production frightens the Greeks. When you say ‘Tayfun’ [Typhoon], the Greek is scared. They [Greece] say it will hit Athens. Of course, it will hit".
"If you try to buy something (to arm) from here and there, from America to the islands, a country like Türkiye will not be a bystander. It has to do something," he added.
The missile test he was referring to was carried out in October, when Turkey tested a short-range ballistic missile Tayfun (Typhoon) over the Black Sea, hitting a target from a distance of 349 miles in 456 seconds (about 7 and a half minutes).
Turkey has repeatedly complained about "provocative" actions and rhetoric by Greece over the last few months. Turkey claims that Greece has armed islands located near Turkey's coastline that have been demilitarized as per treaty stipulations, and says that such actions frustrate efforts toward peace between the two countries.
Greece Responds To Turkey's Missile Threat
In response to Turkey's missile threat towards Greece, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Monday that “It is unacceptable and universally condemnable for threats of a missile attack against Greece to be made by an allied country, a NATO member".
“North Korean attitudes cannot and must not enter the North Atlantic Alliance,” referring to the recent stream of missile threats by North Korea toward its neighbor, South Korea.
Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said, “Mr. Erdogan must know well that our country can be neither terrorized nor intimidated. Mr. Erdogan thinks that as many times as he repeats the irrational and unjust, he can make it rational and just. That is not going to happen".
He said that Greece “is absolutely determined, is always prepared, ready to defend international legality, to defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights.”
Turkey Says Greece Using Every Opportunity To Fuel Tension
Turkish Minister of Defense Husuli Akar says that Greece has been using "every opportunity" to fuel tension with "provocative actions". He also said that Greece "never misses a chance to raise tensions in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean".
"Greece is making every attempt to increase the tension with unreasonable and unlawful demands and claims along with its ongoing provocative actions and aggressive rhetoric," the defense minister said.
Turkey Also Blames US For Backing Terror Groups In Northern Syria
Greece is not the only NATO-allied country that Turkey has an issue with. Erdoğan also said that the United States is giving military support and weapons to terrorist organizations in northern Syria.
He said, "America is sending 4,000-5,000 trucks of weapons and ammunition to northern Syria. Even though I've told them this over and over, they don't care."
"We are with you in NATO. Although we are together, you are doing wrong to us and you are on the side of the terrorist organization ... we will pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps," he added.
Turkey considers the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and People's Defense Units (YPG) terrorist organizations, but the United States supplies YPG forces with military support, including weapons.
Why Does The United States Give YPG Military Aid And Weapons?
The United States gives the YPG military aid and weapons because the group is actively fighting ISIS in the region, which is a terror threat not only to Syria but to the United States as well.
The support of the YPG by the United States however has put a great deal of strain on relations between the U.S. and Turkey, which laments the fact that the United States refuses to label them a terrorist organization as they "rely heavily on the YPG and its primary partner in northeastern Syria," a report by Anadolu Agency said.
A report by a Turkish news agency in 2020 said that the United States did not account for $750 million in weapons for the YPG/PKK groups.
The U.S. military did not "properly account for, properly store weapons, equipment for vetted Syrian partners" the Turkish report stated.
"The U.S. military failed to account for $715 million in weapons and equipment allocated to the PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of PKK terror organization, according to an audit," it said.
A Pentagon inspector general report released in 2020 said that Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (SOJTF-OIR) personnel "did not maintain comprehensive lists of all equipment purchased and received" to back its partners in the fight against Daesh/ISIS in the fiscal year 2017 and 2018," Anadolu Agency reported, citing the Pentagon inspector general report.
"This occurred because SOJTF-OIR personnel allowed multiple entities ... to store records in numerous locations instead of designating a central repository for all supporting accountability documentation," the report said.
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