Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron “not to mess” with Turkey, as tensions between the NATO allies escalate.
“Don’t mess with the Turkish people. Don’t mess with Turkey,” Erdogan said during a televised speech in Istanbul on the 40th anniversary of the 1980 military coup.
“You will have many more problems with me,” he added.
On Friday, Marcon said that Europe needed to be “clear and firm” with Erdogan’s government over its actions.
France and Turkey, both NATO members, have been at odds over an arms embargo for Libya and over the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, where Paris is supporting Greece and Cyprus, who say Turkey is looking for oil and gas in their waters. Turkey says it has equal rights to the resources in those waters.
Erdogan also postulated that France has no right to criticise Turkey because it also had a colonial past.
Later the same day, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday announced a “robust” arms purchase programme and an overhaul of the country’s military amid the tensions with Turkey.
“The time has come to reinforce the armed forces… these initiatives constitute a robust programme that will become a national shield,” the PM said in a keynote address in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
Mitsotakis said Greece would acquire 18 French-made Rafale warplanes, four multi-purpose frigates and four navy helicopters, while also recruiting 15,000 new troops and pouring resources into the national arms industry and cyber-attack defence.
Mitsotakis is believed to have hammered out the programme after talks with Macron during a southern European leaders summit in Corsica this week.