Sightline with Tim Marshall: How Turkey’s first president is linked to tension between Ankara and Athens

President Erdogan is attempting to dismantle the secular legacy of Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Two presidents link Turkey’s rising tension with neighbouring Greece and the conversion of the Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. They are Turkey’s founding father, secularist Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ankara has accused Greece of ‘piracy’ as a dispute over maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean continues to escalate. Each country claims the right to search for gas in the natural resources-rich region.

President Erdogan is on record as wanting to tear up the post-Ottoman era territorial treaties brokered by Ataturk.

However, the EU has sided with Greece, threatening sanctions against Turkey if it does not cease what it has condemned as ‘illegal activities’.

The result is that both countries have deployed warships in the region, with each navy flexing their military might with a host of training exercises. Greece is backed by France, which has also sent a frigate and fighter jets to Crete.

How far will Mr Erdogan go to dismantle Ataturk’s secular legacy? Tim Marshall investigates in this week’s episode of Sightline.