After a period of calm for some months, tensions return particularly intense in the Aegean, where “Greece and Turkey are accused of violating international treaties and of threatening peace,” writes the French newspaper Figaro.
He comments that while NATO floodlights are focused on the war in Ukraine, Turkey and Greece, both members of the Atlantic Alliance, have recently stepped up military exercises, accusing each other of disrespecting international treaties.
Since the beginning of June, Figaro notes, the tension escalated when President Erdogan openly accused the Greek authorities of equipping the Aegean islands.
In an “incendiary tweet”, the daily quotes the Turkish president as saying, referring to (Turkey’s) “rights” and “international agreements on the demilitarization of the islands”, he had stated threateningly:
We warn Greece once again “to be careful, to stay away”. from dreams, rhetoric and actions that will lead her to results that she will regret, as happened a century ago “.
This reference to the war of Turkish independence did not fall on deaf ears, Figaro points out. For many Greeks, a painful wound reopens that exists, as he commented, nailed to the collective memory: that of the “destruction of Smyrna”, when in 1922, against the background of the Greek-Turkish conflict, a fire destroyed many neighborhoods of the city. , leading to the death of thousands of residents – mostly Christians – and forcing tens of thousands of Greeks to flee Turkey.
The publication points out that a year later, in 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne ratified the new situation, leading to a mass exchange of populations and within months, 1.5 million Greeks arrived in the Aegean islands or mainland Greece, while 500,000 Muslims from Greece were taken to Turkey.