Greece and Cyprus are trying to ease relations with Turkey.  Erdogan called for the demilitarization of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea

The defense of Greece and Cyprus against any revisionist tendencies is represented by international law, our strong alliances and our membership in the European family, and we will always resolutely and calmly counter any rhetoric that goes beyond appropriate diplomatic limits.“Mitsotakis said during a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, writes AP.

I assume that this approach is finally the right one and that we will soon return to calmer waters, always keeping open the channels of communication which, in my opinion, should never be closed, even in the most difficult circumstances.“.

Turkey and Greece have a long history of disputes, including exploration of the gas in the eastern Mediterranean and claims in the Aegean Sea.

The two countries also disagreed on ethnically divided Cyprus. Turkey claims much of the island nation’s offshore economic zone, where natural gas deposits have been discovered.

Cyprus was divided in 1974, when Turkey invaded the island following a coup aimed at uniting with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a declaration of independence by Turkish Cypriots in the northern third of the island.

Greco-Turkish tensions escalated last week when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Greece to demilitarize its Aegean islands, saying it was “no joke”. He spoke during Turkish military exercises near the islands, including an amphibious landing scenario.

The Ankara government says Athens has built a military presence on the Aegean islands, in violation of 20th-century treaties that gave way to the Greek islands after a long period of Turkish occupation.

Greece has said the islands need defense, given threats of war from Turkey, which has NATO’s second-largest army and maintains a large landing fleet on the Aegean coast.

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