Athens welcomed US President Joe Biden’s call for calm in the Aegean in his talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Madrid on the sidelines of this week’s NATO Summit.
During remarks on Thursday after the end of the NATO Summit, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Biden’s call “was a very clear, a very clear message that tensions in the Aegean and in Syria must be avoided,” while interpreting it as an exhortation to Turkey to return to the dialogue table and avoid extreme rhetoric.
Referring to relations between Greece and Turkey, the prime minister stressed that Turkey did not raise any issue concerning its claims against Greece at the summit.
Erdogan’s failure to mention Greece, he noted, “says something about whether these arguments can really stand up in an international environment such as NATO.”
They are aimed, he said, “more at domestic public opinion and not at an alliance of countries that should think and understand security in the same way as NATO.”
However, Mitsotakis clarified that the fact that Erdogan did not raise the issue of Greece at the NATO Summit does not mean that Greek-Turkish issues were not in the background of the meetings, and specifically those between NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Ankara and Washington.
Despite the Turkish president’s repeated assertion that he will never again meet with Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister noted, “We have heard it before,” adding that “we deal with our differences in a civilized manner” and “our door is open to dialogue.”
Regarding the agreement between Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki, which will allow for NATO enlargement, he insisted that it does not affect Greek interests in any way.
Meanwhile, Athens is not too concerned about the negotiations between the United States and Turkey regarding the purchase of F-16 fighter jets as Ankara will have to wait some time as the US Congress must also give its approval.
Athens is unconcerned by this development as 83 F-16s are already being upgraded to Viper, and just a few days ago the upgrade of 38 to F-16 Block 50++ was also approved. Moreover, Greece is also beginning the process to acquire F-35 aircraft, with the first one possibly arriving in 2028.