Austin met with Panagiotopoulos at the Pentagon-Akar gets eaten in his F-16 gear.
A plethora of messages that upset Turkey included the Panagiotopoulos – Austin meeting at the Pentagon.
In a brief statement to the press before the meeting, Austin said defense cooperation between the US and Greece is “stronger than ever”.
“The updated US-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreements demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the common peace and security of our countries and have enabled an increased US military presence in Greece to support NATO’s strategic entry goals in the region,” Austin said.
The two Defense Ministers focused on the military cooperation between Greece and the US, but also on regional issues, such as the war in Ukraine, and discussed the growing defense partnership between the US and Greece and the close cooperation between the two countries for collective defense. especially in relation to Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine.
Nikos Panagiotopoulos, on the other hand, said that defense cooperation between the US and his country “has reached the highest level in recent years.” Describing Russia as an “aggressor”, the Greek minister said that they are ready to “take all kinds of measures” against this country and “provide all kinds of assistance to Ukraine”.
Panagiotopoulos even spoke of “revisionism” without naming the country, and specifically said:
“Revisionism, whether expressed as a challenge to the fundamental rules governing the international legal order, or as an attempt to change internationally recognized borders, or often both, poses a serious threat to the interests of the United States, Greece and the North. Atlantic Alliance. Revisionism must not prevail. We must be aware of the principles and be determined to avoid negative precedents and take a common stand against those who engage in such illegal and destabilizing behavior. The main common goal must be to preserve the international legal order, which is primarily based on international law, but also on good neighborly relations.”
Panagiotopoulos said he hoped the meeting would provide an opportunity for further deepening of US-Greece relations and addressing Austin he stressed: “A new cornerstone of this cooperation is undoubtedly Greece’s purchase of the latest F-35 fighter jet , which will increase interaction, coordination and interoperability between the US and Greek Armed Forces.”
This new contact comes at a time when the Turks cannot yet accept the cold shower on the F-16s from the US Congress.
The country’s Minister of National Defense, Hulusi Akar, however, regarding the draft of the US House of Representatives regarding F-16s in Turkey, said: “The process continues. We will continue to work militarily, politically and diplomatically. Our hope is that common sense prevails and that logical and logical solutions emerge.’
Akar answered questions from reporters after the cabinet meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Complex yesterday.
Asked about his assessment of Greece’s activities to prevent the sale of F-16s to Turkey and the US House of Representatives’ acceptance of adding “the condition on the sale of F-16s to Turkey” to the national defense authorization bill, Akar said the process is ongoing and is being closely monitored.
Stating that Greece has brought the issue “to dimensions that cannot be explained by the standards of international relations”, Akar emphasized for his part: “With various initiatives Greece is trying to influence the agreement reached between the military delegations of Turkey and the US to procure and modernize the F-16s as much as possible.”
Underscoring that Turkey’s demands are in line with both Turkey-US and NATO relations, Akar said: “US officials have stated that Turkey is an important ally in the talks, and NATO officials have expressed the success of in the fight against terrorism and immigration. How do you explain the situation? A congressman, a group appeared there, which is mixing things up with some manipulation and disinformation. We expect the United States not to play this trick.”
Stating that for NATO to be strong, its members must be strong, Akar made the following statements:
“Military officials know this, they know about our work and we openly express our views in all our meetings. Turkey is a powerful state. There should not be something like ‘I will give you this, but you will not this”. We continue our talks with reasonable parameters in the talks between military delegations. The process continues. We will continue to work militarily, politically and diplomatically. We hope that common sense will prevail and logical and reasonable solutions will emerge.”