Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “does not exist for him” after he visited the US and accused the PM of trying to block the sales of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara, state news agency Anadolu reported on Monday.
“We had agreed not to include third countries in our dispute with him. Despite this, he had a visit to the US last week and talked to the Congress and warned them not to give us F-16s,” Erdogan said at a press conference.
However, the Turkish president said he did not anticipate the US would take into account Mitsotakis’ opinion when making its decision on the F-16s sale.
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Ankara had made a request to Washington in October to buy 40 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets. The State Department wrote a letter to Congress last month saying it would serve US national interest and NATO unity to approve the sale.
Erdogan added: “He [Mitsotakis] no longer exists for me. I will never agree to meet with him. We will continue our way with honourable politicians.”
Erdogan also announced cancelling the strategic council meeting with Greece, Anadolu reported.
Tensions between neighbours and fellow-NATO members Greece and Turkey increased since 2020 thanks to Ankara’s plans to explore for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
The two countries have also had a series of air and sea border disputes.
Last month, Athens and Ankara traded accusations of over airspace violations with fighter jets.
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