The President of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdogan, may have made clear that his country does not have any territorial claims over Greece, but the message did not reach his cabinet.
The issue of Aegean island ownership was brought up during a heated debate in the parliament this week, when the opposition confronted Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Speaking about certain islands that Ankara insists are part of Turkish territory, Mr Cavusoglu, said that the country will resolve the matter either by means of diplomacy, or by military intervention.
“We continue our diplomatic talks with Greece,” he said. “If we do not agree, the parliament will decide on the alternatives and we will apply them. But this is a national policy. This is not an issue that will be discussed in the corridors. We established a team of military personnel at the Ministry of National Defense. We discussed the problem and the steps we can take. Is it more beneficial to reduce tension or increase it?”
Referring to the Imia conflict, which resulted to Greek soldiers losing their life in 1996, Cavusoglu insisted that the government considers this “occupation” a national issue and that the ruling party, AKP, is not responsible for how the incident turned out, because they were not the government then.
During his speech, Cavusoglu said that Turkey has three options: Try to work out a diplomatic solution with Greece, take the issue to the International Court, or send the Turkish army to claim the islets.