Greece has recalled its ambassador to Azerbaijan after what it said were “unfounded and offensive” claims by the Azeri government that Greece tolerated militants on its soil, Athens said on Wednesday.
According to media reports, Athens has called on its ambassador to Azerbaijan to head back home to consult with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
Greek media also reported that Athens said it had filed a protest with the ambassador of Azerbaijan to Greece, following allegations that Greek officers were involved in training militants who were later sent to Armenia.
According to Hurriyet, a Greek lieutenant was in charge of training an Armenian militia unit for about a month, saying its members included PKK/YPG affiliates as well as mercenaries from various countries.
Hurriyet says Lieutenant Apostolos Pervolakis played a role in the administration and command of the unit after training had been completed in Greece, with the militia ending up in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Athens has vehemently denied the allegations and issued a statement, saying it had launched a complaint with Azerbaijan.
Athens has vehemently denied the allegations and issued a statement, saying it had launched a complaint with Azerbaijan
“Following the totally unsubstantiated and insulting allegations made by the government of Azerbaijan, regarding so-called tolerance by the Greek state towards arrangements for terrorist activities, efforts to recruit terrorist fighters, and cyber attacks from the Greek territory against Azerbaijan, in regards to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh," the statement said.
"The foreign ministry launched a stern demarche yesterday with the ambassador of Azerbaijan, and then the Greek ambassador to Azerbaijan, Mr. Piperigos, was summoned to Athens for consultations,” the statement added.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are accusing each other of targeting civilian populations in a dangerous flare-up over the disputed separatist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Recent clashes between the two long-feuding former Soviet republics, which fought a war in the 1990’s, were the latest flare-up of the long-running conflict, prompting a flurry of diplomacy to reduce the new tensions in a decades-old conflict between majority Christian Armenia and mainly Muslim Azerbaijan.