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Erdoğan says Turkish missiles could hit Greece if arming of Aegean islands continues

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In yet another move likely to further strain relations between two neighboring countries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned that Turkey could hit Athens with missiles if Greece continues to arm the Aegean islands, Turkish media reported.

Erdoğan, who was speaking in the Black Sea province of Samsun on Sunday, said Greece is uneasy about the development of the Turkish national defense industry since Turkey has even begun to manufacture its own missiles.

“This production certainly scares the Greeks. When you say ‘Tayfun,’ they get scared. They say, ‘It may hit Athens.’ It certainly will do so,” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey will not remain idle if Greece continues to arm the Aegean islands with weapons procured from the United States and elsewhere.

Tayfun, which is Turkish for “typhoon,” is a short-range ballistic missile developed by Turkey. The missile, which was test-fired in October over the Black Sea, hit a target at a distance of about 560 kilometers, a range more than double that of the current missiles in Turkey’s arsenal.

Turkey and Greece are bitter rivals involved in contentious geographic disputes, including exploration for natural gas off the divided island of Cyprus and the Dodecanese — a group of islands off the Turkish coast that were ceded to Greece by Italy following World War II. They mobilized their navies and warplanes in opposition to one another in the Mediterranean in 2020.

Erdoğan has lately accused Greece of “occupying” Aegean islands and equipping them with weapons and aircraft purchased from the United States.

In response, Athens accuses Turkey of conducting hundreds of illegal military sorties over the islands.

In September, the United States said Greek sovereignty was not in doubt after Turkey lodged a protest over the deployment of Greek armored vehicles on the islands of Lesbos and Samos.

Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias lashed out at Turkey on Monday after Erdoğan’s threats, saying it is unacceptable and universally condemnable for threats of a missile attack against Greece to be made by an allied country, a NATO member.

“North Korean attitudes can not and must not enter the North Atlantic Alliance,” Dendias said after arriving in Brussels for a European Union foreign affairs meeting.

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