By Sarp Ozer
IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – Turkey's defense chief and top general visited on Saturday amphibious troops who served in a 1996 flashpoint dispute with Greece which was trying to claim a number of uninhabited Aegean islets off the Turkish coast.
National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler, along with other military officers, paid a visit to members of the elite Underwater Attack Command (SAT) known as "Kardak heroes."
Referring to recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Ankara and Athens are currently in a dispute on maritime boundaries, Akar said: "There are those who try to guide us by going beyond their limits and heights. We cannot accept them."
During the visit, Akar, Guler and the other staff observed military exercises conducted by the SAT teams.
A decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over the uninhabited Kardak islets brought the two countries to the brink of armed conflict in 1996.
– Eastern Mediterranean
Tensions have recently escalated over the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece has disputed Turkey's energy exploration in the region, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast. French President Emmanuel Macron has interceded in support of Athens, despite lacking any Eastern Mediterranean coastline.
Turkey — the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean — has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.
In order to reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of resources.
*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin