While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Greece is “incompetent” and as “bait” that is being used by other countries, the New Democracy government has responded with a tentative plan to arm up and buy more fighter jets, reports said.
“It is laughable that Greece, which is incompetent, is being used against a regional and global power like Turkey,” Greek media reported Erdogan as saying during a speech in Ankara, in translated comments.
That came as his government has alternately threatened war and conciliatory dialogue over who has the rights to the seas in the East Mediterranean where Turkey went an energy research vessel and 10 warships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo.
Greece responded with its Navy and the two forces are monitoring each other as the European Union threatened sanctions on Turkey unless it resolves the issue or backs out of the region where it claims sovereign seas.
Erdogan said Turkey has the right to look for energy off its coast, where a number of Greek islands are so close he said they can be shouted too from his country, and is using a maritime deal with Libya as the pretext.
“The colonial era is over and we believe that Turkey’s allies will increase in this new period,” Erdogan added although it is Greece, which made a seas deal with Egypt, that has gotten support from France, Cyprus, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
While he was mocking and insulting Greece, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated that Turkey is also willing to negotiate with Greece although Erdogan canceled planned earlier talks after Greece made its pact with Egypt.
on Tuesday indicated that Ankara is open to dialogue with Greece.
Greece is in talks with France and other countries over arms purchases to boost its armed forces, a government official told Reuters, tension soaring and adding to fears there could be a conflict, accidental or otherwise.
Greece’s Finance Minister said the country is ready to spend part of its cash reserves on arms purchases and other means which will help increase its “deterrence force,” after years of belt-tightening in defense spending.
We are in talks with France, and not only with France, in order to increase our country’s defense potential,” a government official told Reuters. “Within this framework, there is a discussion which includes the purchase of aircraft.”
The official added that no final decisions had been made although Greek media reported the government had agreed to acquire 18 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets from France.
“There is no agreement as written in several media. However, there are discussions on a number of subjects,” a French government source said, without providing any further detail about it.