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Greece Again Asks Germany, EU to Stop Selling Arms to Turkey

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Foreign Minister Dendias on his meetings with German officials. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS – Getting nowhere with a first request, Greece again said the European Union – and especially Germany – should not be allowed to sell arms to Turkey which has provoked a near conflict in disputes over seas boundaries in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

Germany – home to 2.774 million people of Turkish origin – already had rejected Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' push for sanctions on Turkey for having an energy research vessel and warships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

Germany is also a major arms dealer to Turkey, a lucrative business it has shown no signs of wanting to stop even though German weapons could be used against fellow EU member Greece in a battle with Turkey.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias repeated Greece's request for an embargo during a visit to Berlin to talk about the tension over the seas, meeting with  President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of the German Parliament Wolfgang Schäuble, the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee of the Bundestag, Gunther Krichbaum, and other senior officials, said Kathimerini.

But he couldn't meet German foreign chief Heiko Maas who was in a voluntary quarantine due to possible contact with some who had the Coronavirus.

Dendias, the paper said, also reached out to other parties and groups, especially the rising Greens party that is building influence and could be a government partner after the 2021 national elections.

Dendias raised the issue of Germany building Type 214 submarines that Turkey wants to counter Greece's advantage in its own silent running subs that Turkish forces reportedly couldn't detect, the German vessels giving them a boost.

Dendias said the German submarines could threaten “EU member-states such as Cyprus and Greece, but also in general threaten stability in the region,” but Chancellor Angela Merkel has shown no interest in canceling the orders.

Dendias also was said to have discussed Turkish provocations including in Libya,  Iraq, the Caucasus, and the seas around Cyprus and south of Kastellorizo and other Greek islands.

“The country that refuses to come to the negotiating table and resolve our disputes under international law regarding maritime zones is the same offending country, Turkey,” he said.

He also referred to the danger posed by Turkey's transfer of terrorist jihadists from Syria to Libya and from Libya to the Caucasus, a call coming as Cyprus demanded Turkey stop drilling offshore for oil and gas, but it was ignored.

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.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he won't relent in plans to keep hunting for oil and gas off Greek islands under a maritime deal with Libya that no other country recognizes.

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

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, the paper said, as well as in the production of the Korkut medium-range anti-aircraft system (Rheinmetall type), as well as 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.

Italy is cashing in too with delivering its T-129 ATAK attack helicopters and Gokturk spy satellites while Spain provided technical assistance for the Anadolu helicopter, and sold Turkey the CN-235 Naval Cooperation Aircraft, which together with the Italian-made ATR-72 allow the Turkish Air Force to monitor the Aegean and East Med, the paper said.