Main opposition CHP chair on Erdoğan and Mitsotakis: 'Two populists playing war card'

Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has referred to Turkish President Erdoğan and Greek PM Mitsotakis as “populists who play war card as their votes are declining” amid the recent increasing tension between two countries over the Aegean islands.

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Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Sept. 11 called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “populists who play war card as their votes are declining”.

“Mitsotakis and Erdoğan have something in common; both of their votes are declining. As it stands, two populists play war cards. This is their mentality! Our stance on the armament of the (Aegean) islands is clear, we will solve this issue when we assume power,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Twitter.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments came after Erdoğan accused Greece of occupying demilitarised islands in the Aegean Sea and said that Turkey was ready to "do what is necessary" when the time came.

Mitsotakis deemed Erdoğan’s remarks “unacceptable” and said that Erdoğan has been utilizing "nationalism" and "increased tensions" before the upcoming elections

Turkey has recently been angered by what it said is harassment of its jets by Greek forces. Ankara has said that S-300 air defense systems used by Greece had locked on to Turkish jets during a routine flight.

As Erdoğan prepares for what is shaping up to be the biggest electoral challenge of his nearly 20-year rule in 2023, the president has played up achievements in the global stage. He has also stepped up his rhetoric on foreign policy.

Ankara says the Aegean islands were given to Greece under the 1923 and 1947 treaties on the condition that it does not arm them. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has repeatedly said Turkey would start questioning Greek sovereignty over the islands if Athens persisted in arming them.