Greece will insist in this week’s European Council on a European Union embargo on selling arms to Turkey. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is also expected to tell his counterparts that the arms they sell to Turkey could be used against EU member-states.
Athens’ main concern is Germany’s T-214 submarines. Germany is expected to deliver components of six submarines to Turkey, which will finish building them locally. Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias have repeatedly discussed the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Some countries, notably Germany and Spain, appear unwilling to implement an embargo because of the economic losses they would sustain. Greece considers these misgivings unfounded, saying such cancellations have happened in the past. A notable precedent is the cancellation of the sale of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships (helicopter carriers) to Russia after the latter invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014. Russia had ordered the ships in 2010 and France cancelled the order in 2015, selling the two ships instead to Egypt for 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion).
The above precedent shows that Germany is capable of selling the T-214 submarines under construction to a third country and avoid financial loss. Germany had also cancelled the sale of a weapons system to Russia – in its case, combat simulators – after the Crimea invasion.
Spain has also provided components for a vessel, a helicopter carrier, currently being built in Istanbul. Spain is one of the countries that uses its economic exposure in Turkey to argue against an arms embargo.
The Netherlands, however, with a far longer presence in Turkey and with far greater investments (over $30 billion) – through the presence of multinational firms such as ING Bank, Philips, Shell and Unilever – is one of the major proponents of the EU putting greater pressure upon Turkey to force it to stop its provocations in the eastern Mediterranean. Not to mention the U.S. Congress’ decision to push for the imposition of sanctions against Turkey over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system.
Besides the embargo, Greece is also seeking to strengthen its own capabilities. As Kathimerini revealed last week, one of its aims is to buy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers from the United States.
(A version of this article was originally published by Kathimerini and reproduced by permission.)