Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu indicated on Thursday that even if the United States sets conditions for Turkey’s acquisition of F-16 fighter jets, Ankara will continue to violate Greece’s airspace with overflights, as he claimed that there are many islands of “disputed sovereignty” in the Aegean.
His remarks entailed that Turkey will not apply any conditions or restrictions set by the US on the issue of the sale of the F-16s.
In an interview with state-run TRT Haber television, Cavusoglu referred to the Turkish government’s attempt to buy the fighters, stressing that it will not accept any strings attached.
“It is not possible to say ‘yes’ to a method that will tie our hands. So, after all, what does it say? Airspace of Greece. What do you mean by ‘Greek airspace’?” he said, adding that Turkey’s response to what Greece calls its airspace is that there are islands and islets whose sovereignty status has not been determined.
He also expressed his annoyance at US Congress members of Greek origin who are lobbying against his country. “[Kyriakos] Mitsotakis himself has already lobbied over the F-16s in his speech [to Congress],” he said in reference to the Greek prime minister’s visit to Washington in May.
Cavusoglu also hinted that violations of Greek airspace would continue, saying that “with 6 miles of territorial waters, they [Greece] claim 10 miles of airspace.” “There is no question of not using those 4 miles,” he stressed.