Erdogan says Greek PM ‘doesn’t exist’ for him — Analysis
Turkey’s president accuses fellow NATO member state’s leader of lobbying against Ankara
Recep Tayyip Turkey Erdogan has attacked the Greek Prime Minster, claiming Kyriakos Mizotakis “no longer exists for me”He prefers to work with honourable politicians “who keep their promises.”
“There’s no longer anyone called Mitsotakis in my book,”As cited by AP, Erdogan stated these words in a televised Monday address. “This year we were supposed to have a strategic council meeting… I will never accept having such a meeting with him because we walk on the same path as politicians who keep their promises, who have character and who are honorable.”
Erdogan claimed that Mitsotakis had sabotage efforts to settle long-running territorial disputes via bilateral talks and violated a promise not to involve any third countries. Erdogan said that the Greek PM essentially told the US government “don’t you dare give Turkey the F-16s,”When he opposed the regional competitor’s efforts to improve its air force during a Washington visit last week.
Mitsotakis stated to US lawmakers that the “last thing that NATO needs at a time when our focus is helping defeat Russian aggression is another source of instability on NATO’s southeastern flank.”
Turkey had previously been slapped with sanctions and excluded from the US F-35 program after purchasing S-400 defense systems from Russia, despite Washington’s warnings not to do so. Ankara is stuck with an F-16 fleet that it has not upgraded or supplemented since then.
Greece expressed concern over Turkey’s plans to upgrade its fighter jet fleet, accusing Ankara of endangering security in the eastern Mediterranean. In the last years, Turkey has repeatedly accused Greece of violating its airspace.
Ankara is also pushing for F-35 readmission, threatening to stop unilaterally the NATO inclusion of Finland/Sweden amid the continuing military conflict between Russia/ Ukraine.
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