Days before the 63rd round of low-level bilateral exploratory talks in Ankara, Turkey is expressing its displeasure at the Franco-Greek defense agreement with pointed remarks that it is supposedly harmful to NATO, as well as repeated violations of Greece’s air space.
France and Greece announced on Tuesday a defense and security deal worth around €3 billion, which includes the Greek purchase of three advanced French frigates, as well as additional Rafale fighter jets. Moreover, they committed coming to each other’s military aid.
The French-Greek agreement “promotes European defense and is compatible with our NATO commitments, something recognized by the United States,” Dendias told reporters following a meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
“Greece always operates on the basis of its commitments, in contrast with some other allies who undermine NATO’s cohesion,” Dendias said, a clear reference to Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement, on US television, that Turkey may purchase another S-400 battery and accepts suggestions from nobody as to what kind of arms procurements it will make.
“Our agreement with France is a purely defensive agreement. It is not aimed at anyone,” said Dendias, adding that Greece signed a similar agreement last year with the United Arab Emirates. “Turkish objections are totally unacceptable,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic had slammed, in a written statement, what he called “Greece’s maximalist maritime jurisdiction and air space claims” and went on to describe the pact between France and Greece as a bilateral military alliance formed against fellow NATO member Turkey “in a way that harms the NATO alliance.”
“Greece’s policy of armament, isolating and alienating Turkey is a problematic policy which will cause harm to itself and the European Union, and threaten regional peace and stability,” Bilgic said.
The spokesman added that Greece’s actions would also strengthen Turkey’s resolve to protect its rights in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.
Also Friday, Germany said that it had taken note of the Franco-Greek deal and that it was not aimed at other EU or NATO members.