Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his clear annoyance for the first time on Monday over the future deployment of US troops in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece, and French plans to sell weapons systems to Greece.
Speaking to reporters on his return from the G20 summit in Rome, where he met with US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, Erdogan said “we raised the issue to both Biden and Macron.”
“We said ‘what is the issue with Alexandroupoli? Establishing a base there bothers us and our people,’” he said.
He also did not fail to conceal his dismay with his French counterpart over the sale of Rafale fighter jets to Greece. “We discussed [with Macron] the issue of arms sales to Greece. We shared our concern about this issue, because we do not have a hidden agenda,” Erdogan said. “He told me that ‘they have money,’ to which I answered: ‘they are deceiving you, as I know they have no money; they owe 400 billion euros to the West alone,’” the Turkish president added.
However, in his meeting with the US president, Biden raised the difficulties caused by Ankara’s purchase of the S-400s from Russia to relations between the two countries, while also stressing the need for Turkey to respect human rights and the rule of law.
The issue of the Eastern Mediterranean was also discussed.
The Turkish president claimed he did not sense a negative attitude on the part of the US, while also claiming that the American president told him he would do what he could regarding Ankara’s bid to buy American F-16 warplanes.