ATHENS – While Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was in Washington to meet US President Joe Biden, rival parties insisted he must try to stop the planned sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.
Main opposition SYRIZA and PASOK-KINAL said Mitsotakis should have taken a stronger stand on Biden’s proposal to Congress to arm Turkey despite repeated violations of Greek airspace.
Mitsotakis instead, after delicately raising the issue of the F-16s – it came just after the renewal of a US-Greece mutual defense deal – wants to have the Hellenic Air Force acquire F-35’s.’
The sale of those was barred to Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went ahead and bought a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system that undermines NATO and could be used against Greece in a conflict.
“Preventing the sale of F-16s to Turkey – and not a new arms race with the purchase of F-35s worth 4 billion euros – is what is needed, as is the explicit condemnation of Turkish aggression in the Aegean,” sources in SYRIZA not named told Kathimerini.
A SYRIZA lawmaker, Giorgos Katrougalos said if Mitsotakis failed to persuade Biden, “he must take the blame, even if Congress later acts as a guardian angel and the matter does not move forward.”
PASOK-KINAL said Mitsotakis must receive a clear commitment that “Turkey will not be rewarded with new equipment.”