Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Saturday that his country’s newest ballistic missiles could reach Athens, before reiterating Türkiye’s demand that Greece cease its alleged militarization of the Aegean islands.
“Now we have started to make our own missiles,” Erdogan said in a speech on Sunday. “Of course, this production scares the Greeks. When you say ‘Tayfun’, the Greeks get scared and say ‘It will hit Athens’. Well, of course it will.”
Türkiye test-fired its ‘Tayfun’ ballistic missile in October, reportedly launching the projectile 561 kilometers (348 miles) along its Black Sea coast. The short-range missile was developed in secret by Ankara-based defense contractor Roketsan, and will supposedly be capable of striking land or sea targets at a range of just under 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
“If you don’t stay calm, if you try to buy something [to arm yourself] … a country like Türkiye will not be a bystander,” he continued. “It has to do something.”
Erdogan was referencing Greece’s transfer of American armored vehicles to the Aegean islands of Samos and Lesbos, which was reported by Turkish state media in September. While Ankara claims that this alleged militarization contravenes a series of early 20th Century treaties, Athens maintains that it is entitled to station some troops on these islands.
Although Greece and Türkiye are NATO allies, the two countries are historic rivals, and have a number of ongoing disputes. These include arguments over control of several Aegean islands, quarrels over drilling rights in the Mediterranean Sea, and the long-running dispute over the status of Cyprus.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with a delegation of US lawmakers in October, hailing the “extremely good” relationship between Athens and Washington during the talks. Mitsotakis also declared that Greece would not “accept an infringement of its sovereignty or sovereign rights” by Türkiye.
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