Turkey on Monday summoned the Greek ambassador and sent a protest note to Washington over Greece’s alleged deployment of US armoured vehicles on two Aegean islands near the Turkish coast.
The Turkish foreign ministry told the Greek envoy that Athens should “stop violations” and respect the non-military status the islands were assigned by international law, the Anadolu state news agency reported.
In a note to the US embassy in Ankara, Turkey told Washington that its “weapons should not be used in breach” of the islands’ agreed status, Anadolu said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan separately accused Greece of staging “provocations” and playing “perilous games”.
“Greece cannot be our interlocutor, either politically, militarily, or economically,” Erdogan said in a national address.
Greece and Turkey, which are both part of the US-led NATO defence alliance, have feuded for years over maritime borders and energy exploration rights in the Aegean and east Mediterranean seas.
The latest escalation started when Turkish security sources shared aerial images over the weekend purportedly showing ships loaded with US armoured vehicles docking at two Greek islands, Lesbos and Samos.
Erdogan has repeatedly accused Greece of “occupying” the Aegean islands, whose status was settled in treaties adopted after World War I.
In response, Athens accuses Turkey of conducting hundreds of illegal military sorties over the islands.
Greece filed a formal complaint with the European Union, NATO and the United Nations after Erdogan hinted at a possible military operation in the Aegean earlier this month.
Erdogan continued his war of words on Monday, saying Greece was not Turkey’s equal and rejecting diplomatic talks.
He also vowed to defend Turkey’s interests with “any means at its disposal” in the islands row.