Turkey's Erdogan says Greek PM Mitsotakis ‘doesn’t exist’ for him after his US visit
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “no longer exists” him, accusing the PM of trying to block the sales of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara during his visit to the US, state news agency Anadolu reported on Monday.
“I spoke [with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis] In that discussion, we agreed to not let third countries come between us. But despite this, just last week he went to the US and to the US Senate [and said]… ‘[Do] whatever is needed against Turkey’,” Erdogan said at a press conference.
“Not only did he say these things, he said ‘don't you dare give Turkey the F-16s,’ essentially giving this recommendation to the US. This year we were supposed to have a strategic council meeting. There's no longer anyone called Mitsotakis in my book. I will never accept having such a meeting with him because we walk on the same path as politicians who keep their promises, who have character and who are honourable.”
However, the Turkish president said he did not anticipate the US would take into account Mitsotakis’ opinion when making its decision on the F-16s sale.
Ankara had made a request to Washington in October to buy 40 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets. The State Department wrote a letter to Congress last month saying it would serve US national interest and NATO unity to approve the sale.
Erdogan also announced cancelling the strategic council meeting with Greece, Anadolu reported.
Tensions between neighbours and fellow-NATO members Greece and Turkey increased since 2020 thanks to Ankara’s plans to explore for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
The two countries have also had a series of air and sea border disputes.
Last month, Athens and Ankara traded accusations of over airspace violations with fighter jets.