Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday criticized Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for trying to block sales of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey during a visit to the United States, saying he will never meet with the Greek leader again.
“For me, there is no Mitsotakis. I will never meet with him again,” Erdoğan said at a news conference following the weekly cabinet meeting.
“There are currently 10 [American] bases in Greece,” Erdoğan claimed. “Why are these bases being created in Greece? Against whom? At the moment, Greece owes €400 billion to European countries.”
“We are facing a Greece which proposes that the US ‘not give F-16s to Turkey.’ From that point on, there was no Mitsotakis for me. The United States will probably not act in line with what Greece wants,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies, have been at loggerheads over a host of issues such as maritime boundaries, the extent of their continental shelves, airspace and ethnically split Cyprus.
During his visit to the United States, where he met President Joe Biden and senior US officials last week, Mitsotakis said Greece would start procedures for the purchase of F-35 fighter jets from the United States by 2030.
Following Erdoğan’s remarks, Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou responded that Mitsotakis defends Greece’s rights and international law and that Greece’s foreign policy is also based on its alliances, Reuters reported.
“We won’t get into a counterargument with Turkey’s leadership. Our policy is a policy of principles,” Oikonomou was quoted as saying.