Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again targeted Greece and Athens’ positions on Friday but this time refrained from questioning the sovereignty of the Greek islands and talking about a military operation.
He also threatened the United States that if the process of buying and modernizing F-16s does not proceed, then Ankara will turn to other countries, including Russia, to buy fighter jets. Talking to reporters on his return from a tour of the Balkans about whether Turkey was “preparing for a military operation” against Greece, as he had at least implied in the previous days, Erdogan replied that his message was clear.
“Greece’s attitude toward Turkey lately is inexplicable. There are violations they have conducted in the Aegean, there are harassments against our aircraft, some of which are carrying out NATO missions, there are interfering actions, and radar locks with S-300 missiles,” he claimed.
“Have you ever heard anything about Greece’s S-300s from those who talked about our S-400s? The S-300s are also Russia’s and the S-400s are Russia’s. [The Greeks] continue to arm the islands right under our noses against the demilitarized regime resulting from agreements,” he said, while not holding back his gripes about the American bases in Greece. He said that if given the opportunity to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when the Turkish delegation goes to the UN General Assembly, this issue will be raised.
As for the United States and the F-16s, Erdogan expressed hope Washington “will not lead us down different paths.”
“What I mean by different paths is that it is not only America that sells fighter jets to the world. Britain sells them, France sells them, Russia sells them. In other words, there’s the possibility of buying them from everywhere.”