ATHENS – Greece will ask the European Union to impose an arms embargo on sales to Turkey at a critical meeting Dec. 10-11 but faces opposition from Germany, which provides Turkey with lucrative armaments and submarines.
Germany also had blocked Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis' earlier call for sanctions on Turkey for provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean before he withdrew it to give diplomacy a chance.
That immediately failed when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had sent the energy research vessel the Oruc Reis and warships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo only to withdrew them to send them back in again.
Facing the prospects of sanctions at the EU showdown though, Erdogan pulled his ships back out again in what Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias indicated was a ruse to avoid penalties and buy time to continue hunting for oil and gas in Greek waters later.
The European Council, which makes up the leaders of the 27 member states, will meet to take up the question of what to about Turkey, wary that Erdogan has warned he would flood the bloc with more refugees and migrants if he doesn't get his way.
Mitsotakis, said Kathimerini, will tell his peers that the weapons they sell to Turkey could be used against them as well, with Spain also reluctant to go along with an embargo that would cost that country money in lost sales.
Turkey also has purchased a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system undercutting NATO – the defense alliance to which Turkey, Greece and many other EU countries belong.
Greece's big advantage in tension with Turkey if a conflict broke out has been its super silent German-made submarines – which Turkey wants as well, Germany planning to sell components for six of them, with Turkey finishing the build.
Mitsotakis and Dendias have repeatedly tried to persuade, to no avail, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to stop the the sales at the same time they back Greece, but in tweets and statements.
Spain has also provided components for a vessel, a helicopter carrier, currently being built in Constantinople, the paper said, arguing against an embargo whilc allegedly supporting fellow EU member Greece.
The Netherlands – whose companies have some $30 billion in investments still is arguing for a tougher line against Turkey although bloc leaders have been reluctant to provoke Erdogan.