ANKARA – NATO has done nothing to stop Turkey from continuing to send fighter jets into Greek airspace but now Turkey wants the defense alliance to intervene over alleged Greek provocations, without offering proof.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said it’s his country that has “well-intentioned approaches” and wants to make the Mediterranean a “sea of friendship,” said Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah.
He left out the part demanding that Greece take troops off Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast, which would leave them open to an invasion that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened.
“Greece continues to provoke and escalate tensions and its unlawful attitude,” Akar said at the Defense Ministry’s year-end evaluation meeting after Turkey said Greek fighter jets harassed Turkish jets in a NATO exercise.
“This hostile attitude clearly shows that Greece has become so arrogant that it disregards the basic principles and values of NATO. It’s time for NATO to say ‘stop’ to this impertinence,” he said.
Akar didn’t mention that it’s Turkey which has undermined NATO’s security by buying S-400 missile defense systems from the alliance’s ideological enemy Russia, which could also be used against Greece in a conflict.
He said that Turkey expects Greek politicians and military officials to “immediately reverse their stubborn and provocative attitudes” that they adopted for domestic political purposes, urging them to resolve existing issues via dialogue.
He also didn’t say it would be a cause for war if Greece doesn’t remove its Aegean island troops as Turkey has alternated saying it wants diplomacy – that has failed – with increasingly belligerent talk.