Greece’s defense minister says his country has the right to take “all defensive measures” to protect its easternmost islands amid threats by neighboring Turkey that dispute Greek sovereignty rights and raise the specter of war. Speaking after Cyprus’ independence day military parade Saturday, Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos rejected Turkey’s demands to demilitarize the islands. He said claims they were not being threatened as “baseless and unacceptable.” Earlier this week, Turkey summoned the Greek ambassador to protest the alleged deployment of dozens of U.S.-made armored vehicles to the Aegean islands of Samos and Lesbos. Ankara says those islands should remain demilitarized in line with international treaties.
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