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Greece warns Turkey over aggression

Greece today stepped up its rhetoric against Turkish expansionist aims in the Aegean, with the defence minister saying any Turkish attempt to impinge on Greek national territory would be crushed.

The minister, Panos Kammenos, made the statement after a military parade here in Athens to mark Greek Independence Day.  It was on 25 March 1821 that the Greeks began their war of independence against the Ottoman Empire.  Kammenos also warned Turkey against reviving Ottoman ideas.  Other political figures, including Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, delivered similar warnings.

Souring the atmosphere is the continued detention of two Greek soldiers in a Turkish jail after they strayed across the border more than three weeks ago.  Kammenos called the detentions completely illegal and called on Greece’s European partners to pressure Turkey into freeing the two Greek servicemen, whom most Greeks regard as political hostages.

Kammenos concluded his comments by saying that if the Turks continued their aggressive actions, they ought to go back to Central Asia where they came from – a remark that surely would not go down well in Ankara.

On the other hand, Kammenos, a right-winger, is locked in an uneasy coalition with Tsipras’s leftwing government.  Some here in Athens believe he’s being bellicose mainly for a domestic audience.

Listen to John Carr's report
25 March 2018, 15:16