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Politics

Mitsotakis Unhappy Germany Selling Submarines to Turkey

ATHENS — Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he’s concerned that Germany is going ahead with plans to sell Type 214 class submarines to Turkey which could take away Greece’s biggest advantage in a conflict.

Although his New Democracy party and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union both belong to the center-right conservative grouping the European People’s party she blocked his request for sanctions against Turkish plans to drill for oil and gas off Greek islands.

That brought Greece and Turkey almost to war three times in 2020, Greece’s Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said, but Germany forged ahead with the lucrative submarine sales while simultaneously giving Greece alleged support.

Speaking at the online Europe 2021 conference, Mitsotakis brought up the example of US sanctions on Turkey’s defense industry, including its suspension from the program to get US-made F-35 fighter jets after Turkey bought Russian S-400 missile defense system.

“Germany plans to export attack submarines to Turkey. This is an issue which concerns us,” he said without offering any way to stop it or if he would ask Merkel to reverse the sales after Germany said it was contractually committed.

Turkey wants to buy six of the submarines after Turkey’s navy was said to be concerned it couldn’t detect Greece’s German-made submarines in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

Germany is ignoring requests from Greece not to sell six submarines to Turkey which could be used against Greece in a conflict, after Chancellor Angela Merkel blocked sanctions for Turkish plans to drill for energy off Greek islands.

Panagiotopoulos also asked German defense chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to suspend the sale but was flatly rejected, said the Greek newspaper Proto Thema.

Kramp-Karrenbauer reportedly replied, “The program to build and sell in Turkey the six type-214 submarines cannot be stopped – or even delayed – because the construction company Thyssen is bound by contracts signed since 2002.”

Panagiotopoulos had argued selling the submarines after Turkey bought a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system would upset the balance of power in the region after other critics said NATO’s defenses would be undercut as well. 

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