Erdogan says the Greek prime minister does not exist for him

’s president accuses other leaders of lobbying against

Turkish President Recep Erdogan has slammed the Greek prime minister, saying “no longer exists for me” because he prefers to deal with honorable politicians “who keep their promises”.

“There is no longer anyone named Mitsotakis in my book,” Erdogan said in a television address on , according to the AP. “This year we were supposed to have a strategic council meeting … I will never accept having such a meeting with him because we go the same way as politicians who keep what they promise, who have character and who are honorable.”

Erdogan accused Mitsotakis of sabotaging efforts to resolve long-standing territorial and dispute disputes through bilateral talks, and of breaking a promise not to involve third countries. Erdogan said the Greek prime minister was essentially saying to the US “dare not give Turkey an F-16,” when he lobbied against its regional rivals’ attempts to upgrade their air force during a visit to Washington last week.

Speaking to US lawmakers on Monday, Mitsotakis claimed that “the last thing NATO needs at a time when our focus is on helping defeat Russian aggression is another source of instability on NATO’s southeastern flank.”

Turkey had previously been sanctioned and excluded from the US F-35 program after purchasing S-400 missile defense systems from , despite Washington’s warnings not to do so. Since then, Ankara has been stuck with an aging F-16 fleet that it now hopes to be able to upgrade and supplement with new aircraft.

Greece has expressed concern over Turkey’s plans to upgrade its fighter fleet and accuses Ankara of endangering security in the eastern Mediterranean. Greece and Turkey have repeatedly accused each other of violations in recent years.

Ankara has lobbied for readmission to the F-35 program, while threatening to unilaterally block the inclusion of and Sweden in NATO in the midst of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.



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