Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos asked his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to suspend the sale of six German-made submarines to Turkey, a Greek news outlet said Thursday, only to be rejected by the German defense authority.
The Greece-based Proto Thema newspaper said in an article that Panagiotopoulos made the request to the German minister on Wednesday during a teleconference.
According to Proto Thema, Kramp-Karrenbauer replied, “The program to build and sell in Turkey the six type-214 submarines cannot be stopped – or even delayed – because the construction company Thyssen is bound by contracts signed since 2002.”
It added that the Greek minister argued that the sale would upset the balances in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, on the other hand, asked to be informed of the Greek positions on issues raised by the Turkish side regarding the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The official statement on the phone call by the Greek defense ministry said that Panagiotopoulos briefed his German counterpart in detail on the Greek views concerning security and stability matters in the broader region.
Germany had played the role of mediator during the Eastern Mediterranean dispute and previously rejected requests from Greece to punish Turkey.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas last month opposed Greece’s demand to impose an arms embargo on Turkey amid the ongoing tensions.
Speaking to Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), Maas said: “I do not find the demand of an arms embargo against Turkey strategically correct. It is not easy to do this against a NATO partner. We saw that NATO ally Turkey easily bought missiles from Russia because it could not buy from the U.S.”
The German minister also expressed his hope that the disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean will be resolved through diplomatic channels.
Turkey and Greece on Monday launched the first direct exploratory talks in nearly five years to address their disputes related to sovereignty rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The two countries first initiated exploratory talks to discuss the issues in the Eastern Mediterranean on March 12, 2002, in an effort to find a fair, sustainable and inclusive solution. The most recent discussions are the 61st of their kind between the nations.
Talks were regularly held up until 2016, but there have been none since then due to political speculation and the Greek side's reluctance to sit down at the negotiating table. Bilateral discussions continued in the form of political consultations but did not return to the exploratory framework.
NATO members Turkey and Greece also participated in deconfliction talks last year, initiated by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Those meetings were designed to reduce the risk of incidents in the Eastern Mediterranean. The talks facilitated the establishment of a hotline between Athens and Ankara, allowing for conflict resolution at sea or in the air.
Turkey and EU member Greece have been at odds on several issues. Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims made by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
During a meeting in Brussels on Dec. 10, EU leaders decided to draw up a list of Turkish targets to sanction over Eastern Mediterranean tensions. While France, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration have pushed hardest for a tough line on Turkey, other EU states led by economic powerhouse Germany have been far keener on a more diplomatic approach.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.