ATHENS – After complaining that Greece has engaged in an arms race it can’t win, Turkey said its rival spends too much on defense, the ratio rising markedly under the New Democracy government.
Greece’s defense expenditure rose to 3.76 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022, up from 2.45 percent in 2019 when the major opposition SYRIZA was in power, said the Turkish news site Anadolu Agency.
It didn’t mention that Turkish provocations after picked up since New Democracy took power and that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has openly threatened an invasion and is eyeing Greek islands.
The report said Greece spends $8.4 billion now for defense compared to $5 billion three years earlier, an increase of more than 60 percent, but didn’t mention that Turkey spends 26 billion euros ($25.76 billion) on defense.
Erdogan said that includes an increase of $5.38 billion he authorized for 2022 while Defense Minister Hulusi Akar called on Greece to stop buying weapons.
“It should be known to all that the enthusiasm of Greece or the Greek-Cypriots in procuring arms will not help in any way, except for increasing tensions and leading the situation to an impasse,” he said.
The report said Greece now spends $730 per person on defense but didn’t say that Erdogan said it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritime boundaries to 12 miles and that Turkey is challenging Greece’s sovereignty.
It defended Turkey’s huge defense budget as only 1.22 percent of GDP, or $166 per person but didn’t note how many more weapons and military materials and manpower it has of if it included the cost of its Armed Forces.
Fearing a conflict, Greece has been increasing its arsenal to include a $6 billion purchase of 24 French Rafale fighter jets and warships as well as American warships and is eager to buy US-made F-35 fighter jets.
Those were denied Turkey after it purchased Russian S-400 missile defense systems that could be used against Greece and undermines the security of NATO, to which Greece and Turkey belong.
Source : The National Herald