Turkish journalist Hamza Tekin said in a September 7, 2020 interview on Channel 9 (Turkey) that the EU cannot afford to impose serious sanctions on Turkey for fear that Turkey will attack Greece and capture its islands – which he said can be done in less than a day – and open the gates for millions of refugees to flood Europe, and withdraw from NATO.
Hamza Tekin: "The EU announced a few days ago, or a week or so ago, that the sanctions [that it would impose] may include Turkey's ship construction. So what? Go ahead, no problem. This is the scope of the EU [threats]. The EU cannot take serious measures against Turkey. Turkey has a very strong hand in this game – politically, militarily, and more – that it can play to annoy the European Union."
Interviewer: "For example?"
Tekin: "The most important card in this hand is Turkey's military power. Turkey can strike Greece and all of its islands off the coast of Turkey. Turkey can capture all of these islands in a single day, if a military confrontation breaks out."
Interviewer: "In a single day?"
Tekin: "Yes, maybe even less. Turkey can also play the refugee card. There are six million refugees [in Turkey] – not only Syrians – so let no one say that Turkey uses the Syrians as leverage. There are refugees of seventy-five different nationalities in Turkey. Turkey will never force them to go to Europe – it will only open the gate. Turkey also holds the card of withdrawal from NATO. Will [NATO] be able to cope with that?"