More tension looms with Ankara
Turkey insisted yesterday that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras went back on a promise he made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to extradite eight servicemen that fled to Greece after the botched coup attempt in Turkey in July.
“Not only did he not keep his promise, but, at the same time, he deceived us and didn’t rise to the. occasion,” a Turkish government source told Kathimerini yesterday, adding that Tsipras had told Erdogan in a phone conversation at the time that the matter would be “taken care of” in 15 to 20 days. The source insisted that Athens has not fully grasped the “gravity of its error.”
“[Athens] doesn’t comprehend the level of dismay and bitterness this created in Ankara at a time of increased hope for a solution to the Cyprus problem and progress in Greek-Turkish relations,” the source said. Greece’s Supreme Court had ruled against the extradition of the eight officers to Ankara on the grounds that they wouldn’t receive a fair trial.
However, according to Kathimerini’s sources in Ankara, the decision will lead to heightened tension until that time when “Athens understands the significance of the issue and returns the coup plotters to Ankara.”
Tensions are expected to escalate with regard to Ankara’s claims in the Aegean, and the refugee crisis, while economic relations between the two countries could also suffer. Ankara has already warned that it will scrap a bilateral deal with Athens for the readmission of refugees and migrants to Turkey and has also begun to flex its muscles in the Aegean with a show of “hard power,” in the form of a barrage of air space violations and actions focused on the islets of Imia
Meanwhile, calls in Turkey are growing for Ankara to pull the plug on various bilateral trade agreements.
Migrants protest during a visit by Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas to the Elliniko camp yesterday. Protesters blocked the entrance of the site, in a bid to draw attention to poor living conditions at the camp.