Greece insists on Turkish arms embargo

With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan making clear his plans to continue exploratory activities within Greece’s continental shelf over the next two months, Athens is pressing its case for an arms embargo against Turkey.

Reacting to Ankara’s operational escalation in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, Athens is determined to stress that it is unacceptable for European Union countries to continue exporting arms to Turkey while it threatens a member state.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has insisted already on the need for an arms embargo on Turkey by Greece’s EU partners and also raised the issue in person with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The case was also made by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in a letter to his counterparts in Germany, Italy and Spain. 

The most serious aspect of the assistance provided by many of Greece’s European partners to Turkey is not only the equipment but, more importantly, the know-how that has enabled Ankara to rapidly develop and expand its domestic defence industry, including in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles. 

Mitsotakis has made special reference to the know-how provided by Berlin to Ankara for the German-designed Type 214 submarine and for the anaerobic propulsion (AIP) systems. There is similar cooperation between Berlin and Ankara in the production of the integrated programme of Leopard tank (2A4). Berlin also provides significant technological assistance in the production of the Korkut medium-range anti-aircraft system (Rheinmetall type), as well as PorSav missiles.

What’s more, negotiations are under way for know-how related to the engine of the domestically produced Altai tank. Germany has provided engines for the Turkish Navy’s national corvette, as well the so-called national frigate (MilGem) and, together with France and Spain, has also provided know-how for the A-400 transport aircraft. The MEKO frigates are also a German-type ship that has been developed for the Turkish navy.

Italy has provided significant know-how through the delivery of T-129 ATAK attack helicopters (a true copy of the A-129) and Göktürk spy satellites. Spain provided the know-how for the Anadolu helicopter, and sold Ankara the CN-235 Naval Cooperation Aircraft, which together with the Italian-made ATR-72 allow the Turkish Air Force to monitor the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.

(A version of this article was originally published by Kathimerini and reproduced with permission.)