Ankara accuses Athens of trying to arm a demilitarized island that is at the center of the current tension in the eastern Mediterranean

Turkey accused Greece on Monday of committing acts of “piracy” after an attempt to “arm” a demilitarized island near the Turkish coast, which is at the core of the current tension in the eastern Mediterranean.

In the context of the escalation between Turkey and Greece, the publication of pictures in the media of the arrival of Greek soldiers on the island of Kastelorizo, located two kilometers from the Turkish coast, last week angered Ankara. 

Greece insists that the right to exploit the natural resources around this island belongs to it, which Turkey rejects.

Omar Celik, spokesman for the conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, “The Greek initiatives to arm Mays (the Turkish name for the island of Kastelorizo) are another example of piracy”.

“Pointing weapons towards the Turkish coast is folly,” he added on Twitter.

On Sunday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry described the arrival of Greek soldiers in Kastelorizo ​​as a “provocation”, denouncing the violation of its status as a demilitarized island under a treaty dating back to 1947.

“We reject illegal attempts to change the status of this island,” the ministry said in a statement.

And on Friday, Agence France-Presse published pictures showing the arrival of armed Greek soldiers in Kastelorizo. 

These images were widely circulated in the Turkish media.

According to a Greek official, the soldiers were present on the island before that date, and their arrival on Friday is part of the rotation of the force deployed there.

The island of Kastelorizo ​​is one of the main points of contention between Turkey and Greece in their dispute over the sharing of the huge gas reserves discovered in recent years in the eastern Mediterranean.