Greek officials pushed back against a story this week that appeared in Daily Sabah and other outlets that claimed Turkish drones might be sold “for the first time” to the Greek army, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The report in the pro-government Turkish press also made it into the Western press before Greek sources rebuffed it and got at least one of the stories taken down from the Internet.
The first report noted that “Turkish-made drones that are used primarily in search and rescue or mine detection operations are ready to enter Greek Armed Forces inventory with a signed preliminary agreement.”
This came the same week that Greece was on alert after a Turkish ship appeared to want to survey areas off a Greek island near Rhodes. Turkey has laid claim to a swath of sea it calls a ‘blue motherland’ and which conflicts with Greek claims.
The drone deal seemed out of place among Turkish-Greek tensions. Turkey is now a leading make of some drones, including the armed Bayraktars it has used in Libya and Iraq and Syria.
These smaller drones, however, were being made by a company called Assuva Defense, the reports claimed. Turkish media portrayed this as a potential Turkish deal to a fellow NATO country. “Greece to buy 50 Turkish drones,” headlines said.
However, the Defense Minister Nikolas Panagiotopoulos categorically denied the story. Other Greek officials said the story is part of “targeted leaks” that are designed to spread some kind of fake news.