Turkey’s defense minister warned of NATO members forming alliances outside the organization after France and Greece signed a five-year pact.
On Saturday, Hulusi Akar said such alliances risked “harming” and “shaking” the intergovernmental military alliance, of which Turkey is also a member.
Greece and France signed a strategic military and defense pact in September, which includes an order for three French frigates worth 3 billion euros.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the deal will allow the two countries to come to each other’s aid in the event of an external threat.
But Akar warns the move would damage the alliance.
“Since we are inside NATO, everyone should know that the search for various alliances outside of NATO will harm both NATO and our bilateral relations, and will undermine confidence. “, did he declare.
Greece announced last year that it would overhaul its military, including hiring personnel and a major military procurement program that led the country to purchase 18 French Rafale fighter jets.
The defense agreement with France includes a mutual assistance clause.
This specifies that the two parties will come to each other’s aid “with all the appropriate means at their disposal, and if necessary by the use of armed force, if they jointly find that an armed attack is in progress against the territory of one of the two parts. ”.
Greece and Turkey are at odds over their continental shelves and maritime borders.
Relations between the two nations have long been strained over territorial issues in the eastern Mediterranean, including air space, energy, the status of certain Aegean islands and the status of Cyprus.
They re-launched exploratory contacts on their differences earlier this year and Mr. Akar said he had recently held a constructive meeting with his Greek counterpart.
“We had positive and constructive talks with the Greek Minister of Defense. We expect to see positive results from these talks in the coming period, ”Akar said.
Separately, Akar said “technical work has been started” to procure Viper F16 jets from the United States, as well as to modernize fighter jets Turkey already owns.
The United States this week did not confirm comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Washington had made an offer to Ankara for the sale of F-16 fighter jets.
Updated: 23 October 2021, 12:42