A senior official from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said Turkish forces will be in Athens in five hours in the event of a missile attack amid increased tension between the two countries in the east Mediterranean, Turkish media outlets reported.
The controversial remarks from AKP Central Executive Board (MYK) member Metin Külünk, also a close confidant of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, came during a conference in Çorum over the weekend. The conference was titled “Turkey’s position in the new world order.”
Külünk, who delivered a speech at the event, talked about the tension between Turkey and Greece over energy rights in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean last summer and the rumors of a possible missile attack on Turkey from Greece.
The eastern Mediterranean was rife with disputes over maritime borders and energy rights between historic rivals Greece and Turkey in the summer of 2020. Ankara dispatched drilling vessels to contested waters in the Mediterranean, while Greece mobilized support from Turkey’s regional rivals –- Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates –- to push back on what it saw as Turkish excursions into its lawful waters.
“I’ve heard Greece will launch a missile attack against Turkey. Let them do it, and they’ll get a response. We will be in Salonika, in Athens, in five hours. The old Turkey no longer exists,” Külünk said, without explaining where and how Greece made such a threat.
Külünk’s name is involved in many controversies. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu claimed in May that an AKP politician was receiving monthly payments of $10,000 from exiled Turkish mafia boss Sedat Peker whose revelations about shady relations between the mafia and state actors have been shaking Turkey. Külünk refused to respond to the claims when asked by the Oda TV news website back then.
According to German media reports in 2017, Külünk also provided money to a boxing gang in Germany, Osmanen Germania, to purchase weapons, organize protests and target critics of the Turkish leader.
Külünk denied the claims at the time.