Turkey responded to the defense agreement by Greece and France earlier in the week saying on Friday that “anti-Turkey military alliances harm the NATO alliance.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement claiming that Greece’s “maximalist” claims regarding maritime zones and air space are against international law.
“It is vain for Greece to hope that it can make Turkey accept these claims, which are also questioned by the international community, through anti-Turkey military alliances, harming the NATO alliance,” the ministry said, referring to the French-Greek deal in which both countries committed to mutual defense assistance.
Greece aims to “isolate Turkey”
“Such futile efforts will only increase our determination to protect our rights as much as the rights of the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ in the Aegean and the Mediterranean,” it added.
“Greece’s arming policies to isolate and alienate Turkey, in fact, are problematic policies that will harm the EU, to which it is itself a member, and threaten regional peace and stability.”
France and Greece signed Tuesday a multibillion-euro deal for Athens to buy three French warships, an accord hailed by President Emmanuel Macron as a major boost for the EU’s defense ambitions.
“Today is a historic day for Greece and France. We have decided to upgrade our bilateral defensive cooperation,” Mitsotakis said.
He said the agreement involves “mutual support” and “joint action at all levels,” as well as an option to purchase a fourth frigate.
“Our two countries have developed a very powerful alliance that goes beyond our mutual obligations” as NATO allies, he said.
Macron added that the frigate sale was not meant to be seen as a threat against Ankara, but a means to jointly ensure security in the Mediterranean, as well as in North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans.
Greece: No intention to start arms race with Turkey
Mitsotakis said on Thursday that Greece has no intention of engaging in an arms race with Turkey.
“I do not intend to enter into an arms race with Turkey, and I’m always reaching out a hand of friendship to Turkey,” the Prime Minister said during a Democracy Forum conference in Athens.
“We have big differences on many issues, but there should be a way to solve these differences through dialogue,” Mitsotakis stressed. “At the same time, we will defend our territory, our territorial integrity, our sovereignty, our sovereign rights. And in order to do so, we need a strong deterrence.”
“We bought the frigates at the best price and with the best delivery time,” Mitsotakis added, saying that the ships Greece ordered will place the Hellenic Navy firmly in the digital age and significantly enhance the country’s deterrence capability.