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Politics

Greece Wants EU Arms Embargo on Turkey, Targets German Subs

ΑΤΗΕΝS — Rocking the boat against other European Union countries profiting from sales of arms to Turkey, Greece wants the bloc to embargo the sending of weapons as the two countries are locked in a dispute over rights to the seas.

That was already resisted by Germany, which plans to sell submarine components to Turkey that would take away a major advantage Greece has against its rival in its own German-made subs.

Germany, home to 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage, had blocked Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' attempt for sanctions over Turkey planning to drill for oil and gas off Greek islands.

He will run into opposition as well to any embargo from other countries that sell to Turkey, especially Spain and The Netherlands, which want to equip Turkey with arms that could be used against Greece in a conflict.

The EU countries, while tweeting alleged support for Greece in its clashes with Turkey over the Aegean and East Mediterranean, have indicated they prefer the money from arms sales over any real penalties.

Mitsotakis, said Kathimerini, is now appealing for the embargo with the argument that the weapons they sell to Turkey could be used against other EU member states.

Greece's major worry, the paper said, is the German T-214 submarines, enough parts to build six of them and take away Greece's advantage in underwater stealth, Turkey's military earlier said alarmed when it couldn't detect Greek subs.

Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias have repeatedly discussed the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who plan to go ahead with the sales despite Greece's arguments.

Greece had noted previous arms sales cancellations, including two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships (helicopter carriers) to Russia after the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Russia had ordered the ships in 2010 and France cancelled the order in 2015, selling the two ships instead to Egypt for 1.2 billion euros ($1.45 billion,) still being able to profit, which is the model Greece wants against Turkey.

Germany had also cancelled the sale of a weapons system to Russia – in its case, combat simulators – after the Crimea invasion, the paper reported, adding that Spain – which opposes an embargo – provided components for a vessel, a helicopter carrier, currently being built in Constantinople.

The Netherlands also has major interests in investments in Turkey, more than $30 billion, the report said, through the presence of multinational firms such as ING Bank, Philips, Shell and Unilever.

Nevertheless, the Dutch government wants Turkey to back off provocations against Greece but it wasn't said if that would go as far as being willing to pull back any financial interests to help its EU partner.

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