Germany rejected -yet again- recently a Greek request to freeze a submarine sale to Turkey.
Many Greek officials, including Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos have repeatedly talked about the need for the freeze of this major military sale in the past.
According to Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper, the latest attempt of a Greek official to persuade Germany about the threats that such a sale would bring upon the EU’s safety was made on Wednesday, January 27.
The request was brought forward during a teleconference between Panagiotopoulos and his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Greek website Proto Thema quoted Kramp-Karrenbauer as saying that ”the program to build and sell the six type-214 submarines to Turkey cannot be stopped – or even delayed – because the construction company Thyssen is bound by contracts signed since 2002.”
Greece already owns this type of submarine something that gives the country a crucial and important strategic advantage in the fragile military balance in the Aegean Sea.
However, Germany’s sale to Ankara would jeopardize this balance, causing further tensions in the already-tense region of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece’s Wants an EU-wide Arms Embargo to Turkey
Athens pursues such a tough approach due to recent tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
However, the country finds strong resistance from the fellow EU Member States that have signed multi-billion-euro contracts with Turkey’s armed forces.
In December 2020, the German foreign minister Heiko Maas expressed his country’s opposition to Greece’s demand to impose an arms embargo on Turkey, and a halt to the submarine’s sale.
Speaking to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), Heiko Maas had said: “I do not find the demand of an arms embargo against Turkey strategically correct. It is not easy to do this against a NATO partner. We saw that NATO ally Turkey easily bought missiles from Russia because it could not buy from the U.S.”
Additionally, Germany has opposed Greek requests on the highest political level possible.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier in December also turned down calls by Greece to impose an EU arms embargo on Turkey, underlining Berlin’s strategic commitments within the NATO alliance.
Speaking to reporters after an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels in early December 2020, Merkel had said she was happy with the outcome of the meeting and said decisions on Turkish-EU relations were also “well-balanced.”