On Monday, after a meeting with the government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan He said He no longer intends to have anything to do with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and has canceled a meeting with him. “We should have had a strategy meeting this year, but as of today I no longer have any Mitsotakis on the agenda,” Erdogan told some reporters.
Motivating his statement, Erdogan sharply criticized Mitsotakis, accusing him of asking the US government to stop selling some F-16 warplanes to Turkey; But he also accused the Greek government of granting asylum to many advocates of the political organization Fethullah Gulen, which the Turkish president considers responsible. project to overthrow him that took place in July 2016.
Disagreements between Turkey and Greece are very frequent and in the past have been of concern among other things Energy resources in the Mediterranean And Cyprus situationbut the tones rarely rose like in the past few hours.
As for the warplanes, Erdogan refers to a speech given by Mitsotakis last May 17 during a visit to Washington: The Greek prime minister, who leads a conservative-inspired government, implicitly warned the United States of the dangers to Greece if a new event occurred. Fighter planes were sold to Turkey, accused in recent months of carrying out several unauthorized air strikes in Greek airspace. “The last thing NATO needs at a time when our goal is to help defeat Russian aggression is another source of instability on NATO’s southeast flank,” Mitsotakis said while doing nothing. An explicit reference to Turkey, which is part of NATO but has been for years, showed signs of intolerance toward the pure Atlantic that its allies demanded.
According to Erdogan, Mitsotakis was referring to F-16 firing on Turkey past time Want to buy from the United States, after being excluded from the purchase of the new generation of F-35 fighters, which happened in 2019. The US government decided on this last exclusion as a result.Buy by Turkey of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which the United States vehemently opposed. It is unusual for a NATO country to buy weapons from Russia, which is one of the main enemies of the alliance.
Greece is not the only Western country that Turkey is quarreling with these days. Turkey has been using its veto for weeks to block Sweden and Finland join NATOdue to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to many observers, Turkey would like to meet some of its requests in exchange for its vote in favor of entering the two countries: among them also the lifting of the partial arms embargo on Turkey imposed by Sweden and the extradition of some members of the Gülen political organization back from Sweden.
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