Greece has continued to violate Turkey's airspace, territorial waters and the status of the demilitarized islands in the Aegean Sea, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
So far in 2021, Greece carried out 206 airspace violations, 27 territorial water violations, 95 aerial vehicle harassment and 790 violations by ships on islands with demilitarized status, said Maj. Pınar Kara, spokesperson of the Defense Ministry.
Apart from Greece's arming of islands near Turkey, in violation of long-standing treaties, Turkey also condemns Greek efforts to claim maximalist maritime territory in the Eastern Mediterranean and to confine Turkish waters to a small area in the south, although Turkey has more Mediterranean coastline in the region than any other country.
Greece maintains its unlawful, uncompromising attitude that leads to escalations in tensions, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in July as he urged Athens to abandon its maximalist policies and provocative actions while underlining the need for discourse for peace and stability.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiation. Turkey has also criticized the European Union’s stance on the Eastern Mediterranean conflict, calling on the bloc to adopt a fair attitude regarding the dispute and abandon its preferential treatment of Greece under the pretext of EU solidarity.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, the ministry said that efforts to picture Turkey's presence in Northern Cyprus as an "occupation" will not be able to cover historical atrocities against Turkish Cypriots.
It will not benefit Greeks, Greek Cypriots or their supporters, it added.
Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the United Nations to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded in 1983.