Tensions after Turkey accuses Greece of militarising Aegean islands

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By Euronews  with AP
Greek Prime minister attended the naming ceremony of new warship to send message to Turkey
Greek Prime minister attended the naming ceremony of new warship to send message to Turkey   -   Copyright  Thanassis Stavrakis/The Associated Press.

It's with great fanfare that the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, attended the naming ceremony of a newly built warhsip - Vlahakos.

The goal was to send a clear message to Turkey after numerous days of tensions and threats between both nations over Greek military build up on the Samos (1.3km from Turkey) and Lesbos (15km fron Turkish coast) islands.

Without naming Turkey, Mitsotakis said during the press conference: "(History) has taught that whoever violates borders is punished. There is no place for imperial visions in the 21st century, and would-be local bullies have no place."

In response to Ankara's accusations of Greece sending military vehicles to the Aegean islands, Athens alleged Turkey conducted illegal military drills near its borders.

The Greek Prime minister claimed that "[Greece's] borders are blue and not gray" and stressed that the strengthening of the Armed Forces is a priority for the government.

Greece and Turkey have feuded for years over maritime borders in the Aegean and east Mediterranean seas.

After a brief calm in March, tension has been rising steadily between the two neighbors for several months.

In mid-September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Greece of "occupying" the Aegean islands.

These islands are Greek territory but according to international law, Athens cannot place soldiers there. 

The Turkish leader threatened Greece that the Turkish army could "arrive overnight" and "do whatever is necessary" to enforce this status.

In return, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his country was "ready to face" any threat to its sovereignty.