The Aegean Sea contains some of Greece’s most beautiful islands, stretching from the Cyclades to the Dodecanese. However, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, this Greek sea should be referred to as the “Sea of Islands”.
Speaking to a congress of his AKP party in Istanbul, Erdogan said there should be no “concerns about Turkey’s presence from the eastern Mediterranean to the Black Sea, as well as in the Aegean, which old-timers called the Sea of Islands.”
“We have a presence there with all our strength, with all our possibilities and we will continue to be there,” he said, adding that Turkey will also secure all its rights “in all the waters that surround us.”
Retired admiral Cihat Yayci is an architect of the “Blue Homeland” theory, which envisions Turkish influence over vast swathes of the eastern Mediterranean. Yaci has asked for the name of the Aegean to be changed, as it is Greek (the Turks call it Ege), and referred to as the “Sea of Islands.”
Erdogan agrees with this theory and has since referred to the area as the Sea of Islands.
The Turkish President also revisited the violent eviction of thousands of Greeks from Smyrna (modern-day Izmir) during the Greek-Turkish war of 1922.
“We spoiled their dreams then and we will do the same with similar dreams on our southeastern borders,” Erdogan added.
The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea, and covers about 214,000 square kilometres (83,000 sq mi) in area. The sea is named after Aegeus, Greek hero Theseus’ father who jumped into the sea and drowned after having thought his son was dead.