ATHENS – Adding to more bombast ahead of May 14 elections where his 20-year rule is being threatened, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resumed taking swipes at Greece after there had been a break in tensions.
Erdogan stopped threatening to invade Greece and ceased demands for Greek to take troops off Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast when relations warmed following tragedies in both countries – an earthquake in Turkey and train crash in Greece.
Greek officials have dismissed his return to more fiery rhetoric as playing to his zealous base of nationalists in a bid to stay in power during a tenure that has seen him purge civil society, the military, education system and courts in the wake of a failed 2016 coup, and then having journalists jailed.
Now he said Turkey will continue to “annoy those on the other side of the sea,” said Greece’s SKAI TV, although he didn’t mention Greece by name nor was it said what he meant.
“You will have noticed that every success of our defense industry annoys the (opposition) and those on the other side of the sea. But, don’t get me wrong, we will continue to annoy them… We are Turkey,” he said.
He was speaking at the presentation of a new Turkish-built fighter jet in an event at Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) headquarters, in Ankara, after Turkey was denied buying US-made F-35 fighter jets for purchasing Russian missile defenses.
Named Kaan, the fifth-generation, 21-meter jet is able to reach a maximum speed of 1.8 Mach thanks to its twin engines, said the pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah. It’s designed to replace Turkey’s aging fleet of F-16’s although President Joe Biden said the US will upgrade that force.
The new jet, said Erdogan, “will be able to drop bombs and missiles on the enemy and return to base without being detected,” in what seemed a thinly-veiled warning against Greece’s sovereignty too.
It “will be able to sneak into the enemy’s nest, without being detected by the radars,” he added, according to SKAI, although he didn’t say how that would be possible given today’s defense technology abilities.
Source : The National Herald