Turkish leader Recep Erdogan has been heavily criticised after saying Turkey would ‘bury contemporary Byzantines’ a reference to Christians and Greeks who formerly inhabited what is now Turkey.

The inflammatory speech was made at an event to celebrate the 569th anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople to Islamic fighters in the 15th century. The event was attended by as many as half a million people.

He said:

“We’ll bury the contemporary Byzantines. We say No to Aegean and the Mediterranean.”

Erdogan continued on from previous comments on Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying:

“From now on, Mitsotakis is no longer my interlocutor. Why? I deal with people who make politics in a personal way. We are friends with those who are friends with us, but they should know well that we do what is necessary with those who see us as enemies.”

Adding:

“The Turks must be united and the national interests of the country are more important than politics. As our ancestors buried the Byzantium, let us hope that today by building our vision for 2053, we will also manage to put in the time warp of history the contemporary Byzantines who set up intrigues against us. Constantinople was the favourite city of the Prophet Muhammad and that is why it was conquered.”

The remarks come on the back of comments last month in which Erdogan said he would never speak to the Greek PM again, in which he said:

“For me, there is no Mitsotakis. I will never meet with him again. I no longer recognize Mitsotakis. I will not talk to him anymore. We agreed not to include third countries in our dispute with him. But he went to the US and criticized Turkey (in Congress). It can build so many military bases with others. Turkey is self-sufficient.”

Continuing:

“How is Greece treating us at the moment? Is not Greece a destination for the FETO organization at the moment? There are currently 10 bases in Greece. Why are these bases being created in Greece? Against whom? At the moment, Greece owes €400 billion to European countries.”

Greek and Turkish have been high in recent years over Erdogan’s Ottoman imperialistic plans in the Aegean Sea and Erdogan’s increasingly expansionist and far-right foreign policies. Let’s not forget the recent Turkish invasions of Cyprus, Iraq, Syria, and the Greek, Armenian and Assyrian genocides 100 years ago.

[Based on reporting by: Keep Talking Greece]

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