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Turkey Reiterates Right to Defend "Blue Homeland"
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar declared on Friday that his country is determined to defend its rights to what it calls the "Blue Homeland," referring to the Aegean by a name first used in 2020 by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In what appears to be another jab from Greece’s neighbor to the east after a year of almost never-ending incursions onto Greek waters and airspace, the Defense Minister invoked an expansionist doctrine which claims Turkish control over the eastern Aegean and the northern Mediterranean.
Referring to the Aegean as the "Sea of islands," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday stated in an address to his AKP Party in Istanbul that no one should be concerned about Turkish presence from the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean.
In Friday’s remarks, Akar stated "We have no claims on anyone’s land or sea. Nevertheless, we will not back down on our rights.
"We are determined and capable of defending our rights across the ‘Blue Homeland’ as well as Cyprus," he added.
The irredentist concept of a "blue homeland" claims that vast sections of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, including Greek and Cypriot waters — and the oil and gas deposits under them — all belong to Turkey.
Erdogan, in the meantime, referred to the Aegean Sea by the phrase "Sea of Islands" again just this past Wednesday, as he continued his provocative rhetoric against Greece before the restarting of Swiss talks on the future of Cyprus.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey will retain the right to have "a presence" in all the seas surrounding his country.
"We have a presence there with all our strength, with all our possibilities and we will continue to be there," he declared, adding that Turkey will also secure all its rights "in all the waters that surround us."
In an unusual turnabout, Turkey charged on Tuesday that Greek fighter jets had "harassed" its research vessel Cesme while it sailed in international waters in the Northern Aegean.
However, the Greek Defense Ministry sources completely denied that any of its aircraft were even in that area at present, stating that the Hellenic Air Force is not active at present in the area where the vessel Cesme is located.
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