A few hours after a trip to Africa, which Turkish businessmen watch with great interest, President Receyp Tayyip Erdogan releases a statement that is inserted like a boulder in relations with the United States, if only because it comes a few days after the new defense agreement between Washington and Athens. He stated that the United States has proposed the sale of F-16 fighters to Turkey in exchange for its investment in the F-35 program, from which Ankara was removed after purchasing the S-400 defense systems from Russia. It is clear that after the Greek purchases made by France (i.e. 24 Rafale fighters , 3 corvettes and 2 Bellharra frigates)tensions are set to rise in the eastern Mediterranean. HERE ANKARA
A busy week has begun for Ankara’s foreign policy. The president’s next trip to Africa will lead to huge investment opportunities on the continent. Erdogan will visit Nigeria, Togo and Angola, where he will speak at the forum of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) (Monday in Angola and Wednesday in Nigeria). But alongside the growing presence of Turkey in Africa, the dossier relating to defense and international relations stands out.
“There is the $ 1.4 billion payment we made for the F-35sand the United States had such a proposal in exchange for these payments – Erdogan said – And regarding this, we said to take all necessary measures to meet the defense needs of our country. We are working to further develop our fleet from modernizing the F-16s in our possession to new additional purchases of F-16s.
Furthermore, according to Reuters, Turkey has submitted an application to the United States for the purchase of 40 F-16 fighters manufactured by Lockheed Martin and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes.
On the one hand, Ankara reminds everyone, allies and non-allies, of having ordered 100 F-35s, an order that went up in smoke due to the concomitant commercial relations with Moscow under the heading S-400. On the other, Erdogan has repeatedly stressed that Ankara still intends to buy a second batch of S-400s from Russia: this is a move that, while apparently could deepen the rift with Washington, in fact opens up to a geopolitical ping pong that is intertwined. with the moves of Paris and Washington itself in the macro area of ​​the Aegean. HERE AEGEAN
A few days ago, the US and Greece reached an agreement in the defense sector for the use of new bases in Hellenic land and for the principle of mutual aid. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendiason Thursday in Washington with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed the agreement that will protect Greece from aggression from other countries. On the occasion, they launched the third Greece-United States Strategic Dialogue which included the representation of inter-agencies from both countries.
The choice to focus on the port city of Alexandroupolissignals the American desire to increase security in Southeast Europe by bypassing the Dardanelles. The American side confirms the protection of the territorial sovereignty of Greece. The Greek side knocks on the overseas and French doors given the difficulties in reasoning with NATO on the same terms, due to the hybrid position of Turkey, a member of the alliance and main opponent of two other members such as Greece and Cyprus. SCENARIOS
An arms race is kicking off in the Eastern Mediterranean
First of all, bipartisan pressure from the United States Congress to push the Biden administration must be registeredto calm Ankara for two basic reasons: its relationship, geopolitical and military, with Moscow and the lack of progress in the ancestral dossier linked to freedoms and human rights, which resulted in arrests and persecutions following
the 2016 coup. Republican Senator Bob Menendez distinguished himself for numerous initiatives in defense of the sovereignty of Greece and Cyprus , jeopardized by the requests of Erdogan, who aims at gas in the exclusive economic zones of the two countries. Erdogan meanwhile transformed Santa Sophia into a mosque and withdrew the country from the Istanbul convention. Two moves that in fact place it in antithesis with Western values.
All while the farewell visit to Ankara by Chancellor Merkel took place: “I have always said that our collaboration has been very good in the years in which I have worked with Mr. Erdogan – Merkel said after the meeting behind closed doors – I criticized Turkey on the issue of human rights and individual freedoms. We looked for solutions. We could have had differences, but we depended on each other ”. Finally, pay attention to that item that we have accounted for in these columns in the past relating to the Greek interest in the F35s.

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