Greece vs Turkey: EU unity shattered as Merkel allies scolded by Athens

Turkey: Erdogan warns Mitsotakis 'don't challenge me'

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Greek foreign minister Nikos Dendias said he was “profoundly” disappointed to find out the German Social Democrat (SPD), Angela Merkel’s allies in government, have approved the sale of submarines to Turkey.

The move, Mr Dendias claimed, could shift the balance in the Aegean Sea in favour of Ankara.

He said: “I cannot but express our profound disappointment over SPD’s role on the motions of an arms embargo to Turkey.

“Both Prime Minister Mitsotakis and I have numerous times spoken to almost everyone in Germany about the necessity to keep the balance in the Aegean.”

Greece has been asking the EU to impose an arms embargo on Turkey but Germany, Spain and Italy have blocked the request at the EU Council.

Moreover, the SPD recently voted against a bill banning the export of submarines to Turkey.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday the revival of dialogue with Greece helped solve some bilateral problems between the NATO members.

Ankara and Athens have been at odds over several issues for years, from conflicting Mediterranean maritime claims to air space and migration.

The states came close to confrontation last year, hurting ties between the European Union and Ankara.

“We believe that the revival of dialogue channels with our neighbour Greece contributes to solving problems and to regional stability,” Erdogan told an event organised by the German Marshall Fund on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels.

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EU leaders will meet in Brussels on June 24-25 for their latest summit at which they are expected to discuss the bloc’s next steps when it comes to Turkey.

According to Euractiv.com, a draft EU document of the summit conclusions will read: “The European Council reiterates the EU’s readiness to engage with Turkey in a phased, proportionate and reversible manner to enhance cooperation in a number of areas of common interest, subject to the conditionalities set out in March and in previous European Council conclusions.”

The Turkish President met with US President Joe Biden at the NATO summit earlier this week.

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The two leaders sounded upbeat after their first face-to-face talks on Monday, although they did not announce major breakthroughs in the relationship between the two allies, at odds over Russian weapons, Syria, Libya and other issues.

President Biden told a news conference after the meeting: “We had a positive and productive meeting, much of it one-on-one.

“Our teams are going to continue our discussions and I’m confident we’ll make real progress with Turkey and the United States.

Despite their publicly optimistic tone, neither provided any details on how exactly they would mend the relationship or lay out steps that would help ease tensions between the NATO allies.

Turkey, with NATO’s second-largest military, has angered its allies in the Western military alliance by buying Russian surface-to-air missiles and intervening in wars in Syria and Libya.

It is also in a standoff with Greece and Cyprus over territory in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Erdogan also met French President Emmanuel Macron. Ankara and Paris have been at odds over Syria, Libya and Turkish criticism of the fight against what Macron calls Islamist separatism, among other issues.

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