The Turkish Armed Forces are ready to perform every task in the seas but Turkey wants the Aegean Sea to be “a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation,” Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said on April 10, referring to recent tensions with Greece.
“We will not allow a fait accompli in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. We have taken all necessary precautions and will continue to take them with the same determination,” he said during his visits to the Gölcük Naval Shipyard Command in the northwestern Kocaeli province and the Gallipoli peninsula in the Gelibolu district of the Çanakkale province.
“The Turkish Armed Forces are fully willing and resolute in performing any task given to them overseas and in the Blue Homeland [territorial waters] regarding our national sovereignty and independence,” Akar said.
The Turkish military chief also said Turkey wishes for a solution in accordance with international law for the problems in the Aegean Sea and has made every effort to make it “a sea of peace, friendship, and cooperation,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Tensions between the two countries rose after Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said he had ordered the deployment of 3,500 additional military personnel in the Aegean and another 3,500 across Turkey’s border in Thrace to challenge the “enemy Turkey” on April 4.
Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik lashed out at Kammenos, junior partner of the left-wing Greek government as the leader of the right-wing Independent Greeks party, calling him “mindless” and “a political comedian” in separate statements.
Afrin op ‘in line with law’
Meanwhile, Akar also stressed Turkey’s military operation to remove the Syrian Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) militants in Syria’s northwestern district Afrin has been carried out in line with international law and the principles of the fight against terrorism.
“’Operation Olive Branch,’ including the arms and ammunition used, and in military and humanitarian terms, is in line with the international law, counterterrorism principles and United Nations resolutions, and is being conducted in respect of Syria’s territorial integrity,” he said, according to a statement by the Turkish General Staff on April 10.
The Turkish army chief also said civilians, the environment, and historical sites in Afrin had never been targeted since the Turkish Armed Forces saw them as untouchable.