“Greece aims for superiority over Turkey with futile weapon show”

Greece wants to gain the upper hand over Turkey, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday, calling the recent weapons “futile”.

“This is not an arms race, it is an arms exhibition. They (Greece) are trying to achieve superiority over Turkey by arming themselves in their own way with encouragement and provocations from certain countries. It is a futile effort, ”Akar said at the press conference. a ministry award ceremony in the capital Ankara.

He added that despite being a NATO ally, Greece has different aspirations which it seeks to achieve through other alliances.

Despite declaring that it did not intend to enter an arms race with its neighbor and NATO ally, Greece announced in September the purchase of three new Belharra frigates from France. with the option for one more.

Greece has also announced its intention to purchase six more Rafale fighter jets.

Greece has often been embroiled in tensions with Turkey over a range of issues, from competing claims over Aegean oil resources to the demilitarization of the islands. Greece’s burgeoning arms program is designed to counter Turkish challenges in the eastern Mediterranean, against which France is among the few EU states to have offered public support in recent months.

Akar stressed that whatever Greece does, Turkey is determined to protect its rights and interests.

“We have problems with Greece both in the Aegean Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean. We defend that in the face of these problems, solutions must be sought on the basis of international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue as well as peaceful means and methods, “he said. , adding that Greece however continues its aggressive acts and statements.

The minister stressed that Athens was trying to present Ankara as “expansionist” on the basis of “artificial claims”.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected claims to maritime borders made by EU members, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The two sides cite a series of international treaties and agreements over the decades to support their conflicting land claims.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara promotes the resolution of outstanding issues in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations. Instead of choosing to resolve the issues with Ankara through dialogue, Athens has repeatedly refused to sit at the negotiating table and has chosen to rally Brussels to take a tougher stance against Turkey.

Akar also recalled that Greece, in violation of international agreements, militarizes the Aegean islands which are under demilitarized status.

“The island of Kastellorizo ​​(Megisti-Meis) is only 1.95 kilometers (1.2 miles) from Turkey. It is an island of 10 square kilometers (3.8 square miles). They want 40,000 square kilometers of sea area for this island. When we say “no” to that, we are called “expansionists,” he explained.

Akar said Turkey expects Greece to travel to Ankara for the fourth meeting under the confidence-building measures.

“We want the peoples of both countries to continue their lives in security and prosperity by taking advantage of this existing wealth. But we expect them to understand that these statements are never a weakness.”

In January, they agreed to resume talks after a five-year hiatus after months of tension. Since then, Ankara and Athens have held two rounds of talks, the last in Athens in March.

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