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Politics

Greece Wants Germany to Stop Selling Arms to Turkey

November 29, 2020

ATHENS — Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias again called on Germany to “set a clear example” in the European Union and not sell weapons to Turkey – that could be used against Greece – ahead of a European Union meeting that could take up sanctions for Turkish provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

“I really fail to understand Germany’s reluctance to use the enormous power of its economy to set a clear example to countries that they must obey international law,” Dendias was quoted as saying in an interview with Politico.

But Greece hasn't pushed Germany to stop selling the arms, especially the planned deal that would see Turkey get six Type 214 submarines of the type that Greece has that are nearly undetectable.

That would take away Greece's advantage in case of a conflict with tension over Turkey having sent the energy research vessel The Oruc Reis and warships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' New Democracy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party both belong to the European People's Party, a collection of center-right political groups but he hasn't squeezed her over the arms sales.

After pulling back demands for European Union sanctions, Greece now wants bloc members not to sell arms to Turkey while building an arsenal as tensions keep rising between them.

Despite the dilemma, other EU countries want to sell arms to Turkey while the bloc could wind up imposing sanctions that apparently would exclude the lucrative arms deal, making the penalties almost pointless.

Mitsotakis insisted on the arms embargo although he had pulled back his insistence on sanctions to give diplomacy a chance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seizing the moment to send his ships back near Greek waters he said are Turkish.

Mitsotakis made the embargo push to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas but Germany, home to 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage, rejected sanctions against Turkey.

Earlier, Dendias made a similar plea to Germany, Italy and Spain, said Kathimerini, but there was no word on whether there was a response as Greece is planning to buy French frigates and fighter jets.

While backing Greece in statements and tweets, other EU countries continue to reap the rewards of selling arms to Turkey along with technical assistance that could be used against Greece and NATO, to which both belong.

EU arms and technical assistance has helped Turkey expand its domestic defense industry, including developing drones, the paper said.

Germany is also providing Turkey with know-how for the Leopard tank 2A4, said Kathimerini, as well as in the production of the Korkut medium-range anti-aircraft system (Rheinmetall type), and PorSav missiles.

Germany is also helping arm Turkey to the teeth with engines for the Turkish Navy’s national corvette vessel, the national frigate (MilGem) and, together with France and Spain, has also provided know-how for the A-400 transport aircraft. The MEKO frigates are a German-type ship that has been developed for the Turkish navy.

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