The Turkish Defense Minister warns Greece … “Don’t test our patience”

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar put it in guard Greece from testing its country’s patience over what it described as Greek provocations, including the threat to expand its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.

Speaking on Saturday with a group of reporters in Ankara, he said his country wants to resolve disputes with its neighbor and fellow NATO member Greece through dialogue and transform the Aegean. in a “sea of ​​friendship”, but accused Athens of militarizing the islands near the mainland of Turkey, in violation of international agreements.

Greece and Turkey have long been in conflict over a number of disputes, including land rights in the Aegean and energy exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Tensions over exploratory drilling rights in Mediterranean areas erupted in the summer of 2020, with Greece and Cyprus claiming their exclusive economic zones.

“NATO refuses to sell us weapons”

In parallel, the Turkish defense minister expressed his regret at what he described as the “overt or hidden” arms embargo on Turkey by some NATO allies, stating that these countries “weaken” the alliance by not selling. defense components to Turkey, in a press interview in the capital, Ankara.

Akar said talks with the US over Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 fighters, instead of the $ 1.4 billion paid in advance as part of the price of the F-35, are still in course.

In response to a question about growing tensions over Russian military formation on Ukraine’s borders, Akar said Turkey wants to resolve the conflict “as calmly and cautiously as possible”.

He added: “Our vision from the start is: we stand for pace and conflict resolution through negotiation. Let’s not increase tensions, let’s refrain from any provocative behavior. That is why we always tell our interlocutors that it is very important to act carefully. “

Sanctions for Turkish officials

The United States imposed sanctions on some Turkish defense officials and excluded Turkey from the US-led F-35 fighter program after Turkey bought the Russian advanced S-400 long-range missile defense system.

Meanwhile, Washington justified its decision due to concerns about the threat of Russian technology to combat aircraft.

Canada has also revoked licenses to export drone technology in Turkey last April, after discovering that Turkey’s ally, Azerbaijan, had used the equipment in its war against the Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In October 2019, Canada joined some European countries, including France, Great Britain and Germany, in suspending arms exports to Turkey after Ankara launched a military operation in northeastern Syria against the Kurdish fighters.

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