An ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has caused controversy with claims “Cyprus is Turkish”.

The statement was made by Devlet Bahceli, leader of Turkey’s nationalist MHP opposition party on Sunday in Izmir during an election rally. Responding to criticism the party received from Greece over a campaign video that shows the island of Cyprus as Turkish territory, the far-right leader defended the decision.

“What else are we to do?” Bahceli said at the rally, reported Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak.

“Cyprus is Turkish and will remain so.”

And he didn’t stop there.

The nationalist leader accused the Greek government of “playing games” in the Aegean, where tensions have continued to reach new heights between the neighbouring countries, with continued air space and water violations.

Referencing the 1922 Asia Minor catastrophe, Bahceli warned the Greek people not to forget “the days when their grandfathers drowned in the bottom of the sea”.

The comments, which have created headlines around the world, come ahead of Turkey’s snap elections requested by Erdogan, due to take place this month on 24 June.

Watch the controversial MHP video campaign below: