Greece expresses concerns to Spain over military ties with Turkey

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – The Greek Foreign Minister on Tuesday expressed concerns over Spain’s potential plans to step up military cooperation with Greece’s regional rival and NATO ally Turkey.

Nikos Dendias made the comments following talks with Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares in Athens.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month said his country hopes to increase defense cooperation with Spain – also a NATO member – through the purchase of a second aircraft carrier and possibly more ‘a submarine.

“I expressed my concern over Spain’s possible intention to strengthen its military cooperation with Turkey,” Dendias said on Tuesday. He said members of the European Union have agreed not to export military technology that could be used “for acts of regional aggression or destabilization.”

Dendias added that Albares has offered “a clear position” that Spain will act within the framework of EU decisions, to which both Greece and Spain belong.

Greece has embarked on a project to modernize its air force and navy, with major purchases from France, citing concerns over Turkish military activities. Relations between Greece and Turkey have deteriorated over the past year and a half over submarine gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean and migration.

“Turkey is a destabilizing factor in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Dendias.

Sharon P. Juarez