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Turkey Refusing to Release Detained Greek Soldiers

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“Erdogan recently claimed that Turkey is a continuation of the Ottoman Empire and vowed to recapture influence in areas once ruled by its caliphate. Much of northern Greece, where most ethnic Turks live today, remained part of the empire until 1913. Erdogan’s Neo-Ottomanist allies proudly speak of jihad and used such terms to describe Turkey’s recent invasion of the Afrin region of Syria.”

Erdogan has made it clear for years that he means to restore the Ottoman caliphate. No one took him seriously, but now he is becoming much more aggressive and open about his revanchist aims. Greece was part of the Ottoman empire for hundreds of years, until it was able to win its independence in 1821. This is an ominous development that bodes ill for the future. The conflict between the Turks and the Greeks was part of the ongoing jihad for many centuries, and still is. The difference now is that few in the West wish to recognize that the jihad is still being waged.

“Turkey Refusing to Release Detained Greek Soldiers,” by John Rossomando, Investigative Project, March 6, 2018:

A Turkish court on Monday refused to release two Greek soldiers who strayed across the border into Turkey last week. Turkey accuses the soldiers of being spies. Greece claims the border crossing was accidental due to heavy snow and fog. This is just the latest example of Turkey threatening its neighbors under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule. A Turkish government spokesman said Monday the soldiers were being held because they wandered into the military zone. He denied they were being held as a bargaining chip to exchange for eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece following the 2016 coup attempt as some press reports speculated. Erdogan repeatedly demanded the soldiers be returned to Turkey.

The Greek soldiers told Turkish prosecutors they were “following footprints in the snow in an attempt to stop migrant smuggling.” Turkish authorities remanded the soldiers into custody because they aren’t resident in Turkey and could flee the country. They also noted they planned to examine the soldiers’ digital data.

This latest action risks inflaming tensions between Greece and Turkey. The two NATO allies have become locked into a war of words in recent weeks, starting last month when a Turkish vessel rammed a Greek ship off a disputed island in the Aegean Sea. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias warned that the Turks had “touched on the red line and in some sense it overstepped it.” Greece would meet any Turkish “aggression” with an equal response.

“Test our resolve. We are kindly asking Greece to set foot on the Imia islets. If that happens, we will defend them to the death, from the moment that Erdogan gives the order,” said Erdogan adviser Yigit Bulut.

Erdogan recently claimed that Turkey is a continuation of the Ottoman Empire and vowed to recapture influence in areas once ruled by its caliphate. Much of northern Greece, where most ethnic Turks live today, remained part of the empire until 1913. Erdogan’s Neo-Ottomanist allies proudly speak of jihad and used such terms to describe Turkey’s recent invasion of the Afrin region of Syria.

Turkish armed forces also conducted war games in the vicinity of the Evros River, where the Greek soldiers were arrested. That exercise included crossing a river, which the Greek media insinuated meant learning how to invade a neighboring country.

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