Turkey continues its barrage of challenges with unabated intensity - this time through the mouth of Hulusi Akar. The Turkish Minister of Defence, speaking to Qatari state-backed Al Jazeera television network, accused Greece of blocking the sale of F-16s to Ankara.
"We cannot say that no result was achieved. This process continues. As you know we had a cooperation plan for the F-35 aircraft. But it was interrupted. Turkey and the Turkish Armed Forces need 40 F-16 Block 70s. We asked the US to export them.
"At the same time we asked for the upgrade of the 79 F-16s we have. We carried this through natural channels in the US last year," he said.
“We have alternatives if that gives us a problem. Our neighbour and NATO partner, Greece, wants to stop this deal and is sending a request to the United States Congress not to sell these planes to Turkey. This is unacceptable in international agreements.
"Here we are talking about an allied state that should contribute to our strengthening. Because our power is also their power.
"We have seen that the United States Congress has placed conditions on the use of these aircraft. We also said that Turkey is a sovereign state and that we will not conditionally accept the purchase of aircraft. We believe that these conditions will change later.
"In addition, the United States will act institutionally to sell these planes to Turkey. Because we are allies. We have a lot of work to do together. So we hope that the United States will correct its mistake.
"I believe that no matter what happens, anyone who prevents Turkey from acquiring these aircraft will have brought this shame. We wish to fill this gap. If we get into trouble then we have alternatives.
"The Turkish Armed Forces are strong. It is not possible for us to accept the conditions imposed on us. As we saw in the example of Ukraine, the world needs a strong Turkey. Especially our friends, our allies and the Europeans.
"We have a strong role in NATO. That is why our allies and partners should not stand in the way of the purchase of these aircraft."
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