Greece and Turkey, tensions in the Aegean

”Greece is wasting its money on weapons against Turkey”

Turkish defence minister denounces that Greece wants to start an arms race against Turkey by buying arms from France.

Greece is wasting its citizens’ money on second-hand weapons against Turkey, Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday, in response to Athens’ policy of rearming its army and escalating hostilities in the Aegean.

Greek citizens’ money is being wasted on weapons and equipment that have reached the end of their useful life. Second-hand planes, second-hand tanks, second-hand cannons… Whatever they have, France sells to Greece and makes money. You don’t get anywhere like that. If you are trying to defend Greece with what you do, you are spending a lot on defence, you don’t need all that weaponry to defend yourself… But if this is to face Turkey, then it won’t be enough,” Akar stressed during an interview for the A Haber channel network.

Insisting on the futility of the current Greek arms race, the former Turkish general denounced that the Greek government is not showing any willingness to talk about sharing the resources in the Aegean or the Eastern Mediterranean, and accused Athens of forming an alliance with Paris within NATO itself, against Turkey.

“You deploy weapons in front of Turkey, and you call us expansionists”

“We say: you have 3,000 islands (in the Aegean), and yet we have you under our noses. You want 40 square kilometres of maritime jurisdiction for the island of Meis (Kastelorizo), which has 10 square kilometres; you deploy weapons on the islands, you claim 10 miles of airspace… You are right under our noses, and you call us expansionists,” he denounced referring to Greece.

We have not rejected any meeting, we have not rejected meeting with anyone. Because we are right, and we are strong. We have arguments. The Greeks have no arguments,” insisted Akar. Ankara has criticized and denounced the deployment of soldiers on several islands in the eastern Aegean, off the coast of Turkey, despite the fact that according to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris, these islands must be demilitarized, and it is illegal deploy troops or weapons on them.

The minister also referred to the recent hostile actions of the Greek army in the Aegean, where two Turkish fighters carrying out a NATO escort mission were harassed by Greek planes. “We don’t harass anyone, but we don’t leave any harassment unanswered. We have said this in NATO and everywhere,” Akar said, assuring that such actions by Greece are deliberate.

Despite the fact that Greece is wasting its money on buying used weapons from France to use them against Turkey, as part of an ambitious rearmament program by Athens, the Turkish defence minister assured that Turkey has no intention of entering a race of arms with Greece, which it considers its neighbour and ally in NATO.