Akar reiterates Turkish call for demilitarization of islands

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has reiterated his country’s demand that Greece demilitarize its Aegean islands off the Turkish coast, while slamming Athens over its ongoing armement program.

In a speech to mark Turkey’s Blue Homeland military exercise, Akar said that Greece insisted on keeping troops on 16 islands in violation of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty.

“If we are to have a conversation on international law, this is the issue we should start with,” Akar said.

“When these islands are militarized, no one should have a right to speak about Turkey’s efforts to defend itself,” he said.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Haberturk broadcaster, the Turkish defense minister criticized Greece’s large-scale rearmament program.

“If these procurements are meant to bolster [Greece’s] defense capacity, then there is too much of them. If they are directed against Turkey, then they are just not enough,” he said.