Former Turkish PM Says Erdogan Aggression Risks Military Clash with Greece

A coastguard ship and a Turkish navy vessel patrol on the Bosphorus on August 26, 2016 in Istanbul during the opening cerenomy of the Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge. The bridge -- technically a hybrid between a suspension and cable-stayed bridge -- is an architectural marvel spanning the steep banks of …
OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

Former Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has warned that the continued aggressive policies of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan could result in military conflict.

The former prime minister stated that Turkey’s current policy was risky and that while he thought the country had legitimate concerns over its supposed coastal territories, the confrontational actions of Erdogan could escalate and lead to a crisis.

“Unfortunately our government is not doing a proper diplomatic performance,” Davutoglu said, and added that all the parties involved in the Eastern Mediterranean should seek to get around a negotiating table to “de-escalate the tension,” newspaper Kathimerini reports.

A former member of Erdogan’s Islamist AKP party, Davutoglu formed his own party, the Future Party, in December of last year. The party is made up of several other AKP defectors as well.

Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean largely stem from Turkish attempts to conduct seismic research for natural resources in areas Greece considers to be part of its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Greece put its armed forces on alert at the end of July over the issue and tensions have remained high between the two countries ever since, with France recently supporting Greece and expanding its own presence in the area more recently.

Earlier this week, France announced that its aircraft carrier, the Charles De Gaulle, would also be deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Reacting to the French move, former Turkish admiral Deniz Kutluk said he doubted France and Turkey would come to military blows but claimed the Turks could take over the French aircraft carrier within two days.

Kutluk had much harsher words for Greece, however, saying that Turkey must give a 48-hour deadline for Greece to remove all military personnel from the Aegean islands as per the agreement reached in the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

“Turkey must declare that ‘We do not recognise sovereignty over these 16 islands’. Turkey must say that ‘Greece within 48 hours and under observation by international observers will ensure the disarmament of these islands or else these islands are ours’. And one by one, let’s take it and finish it. We have that power,” he boasted.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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