France Stuns Turkey With A New Defense Deal With Greece That Includes Disputed Waters

Greece’s position on the issue of maritime and air borders with Turkey, expressed in its defense agreement with France, contradicts international law and NATO interests, the Turkish foreign ministry said on Friday, commenting on the inclusion of Greek maritime jurisdiction in the new deal with Paris.

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On Tuesday, Greece and France signed a major defense deal under which Athens will purchase three French navy frigates, while Article 2 of the deal includes a commitment to mutual assistance in case of an armed attack on either.

Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said the deal applies to the entire sovereign territory of Greece, including territorial waters.

“Greece’s maximalist maritime jurisdiction area and national airspace claims are in contravention of international law. It is a vain dream for Greece to think that they can impose upon Turkey these claims, which are also questioned by the international community, by forming bilateral military alliances against Turkey, undermining NATO Alliance itself,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement.

File:Merkel, Putin, Erdoğan and Macron during the joint press release.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File: Merkel, Putin, Erdoğan and Macron during the joint press release – Wikimedia Commons

The spokesman said that Greece is pursuing a “problematic policy” of armament, as well as isolation and alienation of Turkey, instead of cooperation, adding that such a policy “will threaten regional peace and stability.”

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Turkey will respond by strengthening its “determination to protect the rights of both our own and those of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas,” according to Bilgic.

In the summer of 2020, Turkey carried out seismic studies in the Eastern Mediterranean, which Greece considers to be its exclusive economic zone. The Greek armed forces were placed on high alert. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the two countries were on the brink of armed conflict three times in the summer of 2020, and a general mobilization of the Greek armed forces was carried out.

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Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the defense agreement between Greece and France is not directed against other countries and Turkey’s statements criticizing the deal are “completely unacceptable.”

“If Turkey is bothered by these agreements, it can only mean that it sees itself as a potential aggressor,” Dendias was quoted as saying by the Kathimerini newspaper following his meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

He further stressed that the deal with France was “purely defensive” and “not directed against anyone,” as quoted in the report. Dendias also noted that Greece signed a similar agreement with the United Arab Emirates last year and called Turkey’s claims “completely unacceptable.”