Turkish officials talk only of war, says new Greek Defence Minister

Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos says all statements made by officials from neighboring Turkey are about war, Vice News reported on Wednesday.

“Whenever a top official from Turkey makes a statement, it is a statement that involves talk of war,” said Panagiotopoulos. “War in Syria. War in the Middle East. War in the Aegean. Now if that isn’t aggressive rhetoric, then I’m wondering what type of rhetoric it is.”

Tensions between Greece and Turkey are not new, but the discovery of natural gas and oil deposits has brought them to a boil just when Turkey’s apparent drift away from NATO is causing alarm in Washington and Athens, according to Vice reporter Aris Roussinos.

Greece, Cyprus, and Israel have been conducting joint military drills to enhance cooperation, while also pushing forward with plans for a pipeline to transport the newly discovered oil and gas to the European Union, reducing Europe’s dependence on Russia, according to Roussinos.

“It’s impossible to divorce these moves from the broader strategic picture of regional powers unsettled by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s bellicose rhetoric and growing image as a source of regional instability,” said Roussinos.