Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made new statements regarding the attack on civilians in Iraq and the operations of the Turkish army in Syria.
Turkey’s foreign minister said that the Turkish army did not attack civilians and that Turkey has never asked for permission for its operations and will not do so.
“We cannot stay with our hands tied. In fact, we have not asked permission from anyone for our military operations so far. And we will not ask” said Cavusoglu specifically.
As for the attack in northern Iraq, the Turkish minister said:
“The whole world knows that Turkey has never carried out attacks against civilians. […]According to the information we received from the Turkish Armed Forces, there were no attacks on civilians” Cavusoglu said, among other things.
The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to Turkey, confirming that Turkey was behind the bombing that killed civilians.
According to Iraq’s statement, “The Iraqi government strongly condemns the bombing of a tourist resort in Zakho on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
“The Iraqi government states that these attacks are a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a clear threat to civilians, some of whom have been martyred and others injured as a result of this act.
This attack poses a threat to the security of Iraq and the stability of its people, and while we categorically affirm the condemnation of these violations, which violate international conventions and laws.
We note that Mr. Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has requested the establishment of an investigative committee led by Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein and the participation of some security officials, with the aim of finding out precise details about the attack, and we will respond with the highest levels of diplomatic response, starting with the use of the UN Security Council as well as the adoption of all other measures planned for this matter” reads the announcement of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the same time, there are protests throughout the country against the Turkish invasion and the citizens are demanding the immediate expulsion of the Turkish forces from Iraq.
However, it is not only the citizens who ask the Turks to leave, but also political forces.
“Turkey must issue a formal apology and withdraw its military forces from all Iraqi territories” Iraq’s National Security Council said.
For its part, Turkey says that it did not carry out the bombing and called on Iraq to refrain, as it said, from statements that are the result of third-party propaganda.
Another so-called “peaceful operation” by Turkey has resulted in the killing of tourists in Northern Iraq, under the guise of fighting terrorism.
Specifically, according to reports from Iraqi state media on Wednesday, a Turkish attack in Dohuk province in northern Iraq resulted in the death of eight civilians (according to other sources 9) and the wounding of around 23.
According to Iraqi media and Reuters, a “heavy artillery bombardment” hit a tourist resort in the town of Zakho, located on the border between Iraq’s Kurdistan region and Turkey.
The Iraqi state news agency, according to Reuters, reported that all the victims were tourists who were in the area. Turkish sources denied that Turkish forces bombed the area.
Turkey is conducting illegal military operations in Northern Iraq having violated the border multiple times and often heavily bombarding positions of Kurdish forces, especially PKK.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to reporters on his return from Tehran blaming the US and saying it should remove its troops from Northern Syria.
Erdogan said launching a new operation in northern Syria would remain on the agenda unless Turkey’s national security concerns were addressed and accused the US of supporting terrorists.
Erdogan said that the United States should leave the area east of the Euphrates, and that there are continuous attacks by the Kurds on the Turkey-Syria border.
“Our soldiers were martyred here, our own people were killed. Not only Turkish citizens, but also civilians killed in Idlib and other areas” Erdogan said.
“America must leave east of the Euphrates. This emerged from the Astana talks. They say that America should withdraw its troops from east of the Euphrates. Now, one result that will come out of this is Turkey’s expectation because America is the one that feeds the terrorist organizations there.
Since America is feeding terrorist organizations, while we are fighting against these terrorist organizations, our job will be easier once it withdraws from there or if it stops feeding these terrorist organizations” the Turkish president said.
Erdogan also said he wants Russia and Iran to stand by Turkey in the fight against terrorism.
Furthermore, regarding the condition placed by the US House of Representatives that for a possible sale of F-16s to Turkey, they must not be used for violations of Greek airspace, Erdogan said that when he spoke with American president, Joe Biden, at the NATO summit in Madrid in June, he did not set such a condition for him.
The speech of the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias during the conclusion of the joint exercise of the HellenicArmed Forces with the USA “Poseidon’s Rage” was very important as he unfolded the plans of the country as well as the goals it has for the future.
The following is the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias:
Ladies and gentlemen,
I must say that it is a great honor for me to be here today as the “Poseidon’s Rage 22” exercise comes to an end.
Greek and American pilots trained together over the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean in a wide range of scenarios and missions, but with a single goal: to maintain peace, stability and democracy.
This training is being held for the second consecutive year.
In recent years, Greece and the US have significantly upgraded their defense cooperation, including two Protocols, which I had the honor to sign with my American counterparts. We have added to our original Agreement new military installations on mainland Greece. And I have to say that the Russian invasion of Ukraine proved us right in this strategic prediction.
The port of Alexandroupolis has become an important entry point for the deployment of American forces, as well as an important energy hub.
Greece and the USA once again stood by each other to preserve our fundamental values, despite the unprecedented attack they received from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The US and Greece both sent humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine and both imposed heavy sanctions on Russia, as did all of our Allies, or rather, to be honest with you, almost all of them with one exception. But, let’s leave that for another time.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The basic truth is that our historically troubled region cannot stand any more provocative, aggressive and revisionist actions and attitudes. We must work together to maintain peace, security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond.
Greece has been moving in this direction in recent years. And in this spirit, we signed the Agreements on the delimitation of maritime zones with Italy and Egypt.
We agreed with Albania to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. We created the East Mediterranean Gas Forum.
We signed Agreements with France and the United Arab Emirates. We have developed numerous multilateral cooperation schemes with our trusted regional partners, and I must say, including the 3+1 cooperation with Israel and Cyprus – as Israel and Cyprus are the “3”, plus the “1”, the US . And if you allow me to express the hope that this will become “4” as soon as possible.
Over the years, many F15 (“Eagles”) and F16 (“Fighting Falcons”) have been trained at this base. And this year we had the pleasure of having the F35 (“Lightnings”) for the first time.
I would like to point out that this was the first live fire training of F35s in Europe – as well as the first deployment of an entire squadron to another base. This is particularly important as more and more European Allies choose the F35 fighter jet for their own air forces, including us, Greece.
So let me express the hope that as soon as possible we will see American F35s training together with Greek F35s. And our F16s and Rafales are here to mark the occasion.
Will you allow me to end with a remark in Greek:
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am extremely proud to be here before you today. Not only for the excellent machines behind me, which ensure air supremacy in our region. But also for the excellent human potential that is in front of me.
Through constant crises, self-sacrifice, effort, self-denial and all of us based on the backwardness of the Greek people, we are building the most powerful Greece we have ever seen” concluded the speech of the Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
The US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had a meeting today at the US Pentagon with the Greek Minister of Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos who is continuing the greek mission to the US after the completion of the visit of the Greek Chief of the National Defence General Staff.
The two Defense Secretaries, according to the US Pentagon statement, “discussed the growing partnership between the United States and Greece and the close cooperation between the two countries on the base, defense modernization and collective defense, particularly in the face of Russia’s aggression to Ukraine.
“The defense relationship between the United States and Greece has never been stronger,” Austin said. “The updated US-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement reflects our nations’ unwavering commitment to shared peace and security. And it allowed the expansion of US forces in Greece to support US and NATO objectives of strategic access to the region.”
“Two examples of this cooperation,” Austin said, “include the continued hosting of U.S. naval forces in Souda Bay and priority access to U.S. military forces at the port of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece, just 60 miles north of the Dardanelles Strait in Turkey.
Access to the port allows quick access to the Sea of Marmara and then through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea.
This access allows us to continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine, to counter malicious actors, and to exercise and operate in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea region,” Austin said.
Nikos Panagiotopoulos thanked Austin for his leadership of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which was set up in April, and said Greece remains committed to providing continued support to Ukraine.
“Greece’s response to the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine was indeed swift and decisive,” Panagiotopoulos said.
“We offered all the help we could to Ukraine, a country that is being attacked in violation of every rule of international law. We apply these penalties imposed on the attacker. Despite their cost to us, we are willing to consider any other action, any other kind of assistance.”
Panagiotopoulos said that part of the world is now facing various forms of revisionism that pose a threat to all nations.
“Greece is a key hub for supporting and … projecting the allied presence in a region facing various forms of revisionism,” Panagiotopoulos said.
“Revisionism, whether it takes the form of challenging basic rules governing the international legal order, or expresses itself as seeking to change internationally recognized borders—or both, as is often the case—constitutes a major threat to the interests of Greece, the interests of the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance in general. Revisionism of any form is against stability … revisionism must not prevail,” he added, according to the US Pentagon statement.
There might be new developments regarding the M1117s that Greece constantly receive from the USA, as the Hellenic Army General Staff is considering their conversion to unmanned vehicles carriers.
According to a recent announcement by the Greek Ministry of National Defence: “On Friday, July 15, 2022, a presentation was made to the Hellenic Army General Staff by representatives of the TEXTRON company, regarding the US AEROSONDE system and the possibility of its integration into the M1117 ASV” the announcement concludes.
If this integration takes place, the M1117s will have tremendous capabilities to identify enemy forces fully fulfilling their role.
Textron Systems’ small unmanned Aerosonde offers efficient multi-mission management capabilities.
Designed for onshore and offshore operations, this system is equipped with day/night recording cameras, has a communications transponder and can be modified to the customer’s wishes, according to Textron.
It has been tested for over 500,000 flight hours in a variety of environments, from the heat of the desert to the cold of the Arctic, Textron reports.
From Monday, July 11 to Saturday, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, made an official visit to the USA and the Hellenic General Staff proceeded with full information for every meeting of the Greek Chief of Staff.
We will present you some of the most important meetings so as not to tire you with long texts.
On Monday, July 11, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff went to the Pentagon, where he met with the Chief of Staff of the Army General James C. McConville, with whom they discussed matters of mutual interest with an emphasis on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences for the defense architecture and security of the Euro-Atlantic area, as well as in the close Military Cooperation between Greece and the United States which, in addition to the updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA), also includes operational cooperation and joint training activities that are constantly being strengthened both numerically as well as qualitatively.
On Tuesday, July 12, and in the context of the “Letter of Request” (LOR for LOA) mission that has preceded for the acquisition of the 5th generation Fighter Aircraft F-35, the Greek Chief, General Konstantinos Floros, went to Fort Worth in Dallas, Texas, on Lockheed Martin’s facilities that house its production line.
There he was informed about the state-of-the-art facilities of the assembly line, painting, initial and final checks and flight tests and about the 3 types of the F-35 (A, B and C), furthermore he was given a tour by the company’s staff.
He also visited the flight test line of the factory where the F-35s that are preparing to be delivered to their users are housed, while he was also briefed on both the international sales of the F-35 and the interoperability of its use at the European level, as well as the progress of the program to modernize the Hellenic Air Force’s F-16 fighters to the Viper version and the modernization of the Hellenic Navy’s P-3B Naval Operations Aircraft.
On Wednesday, July 13, 2022, the Head of the General Assembly met in a particularly cordial atmosphere with the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate, Senator Robert Menendez, with whom he discussed the developments in Ukraine, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East East, Greece’s initiatives in terms of establishing and maintaining bilateral and multilateral cooperative forms of cooperation that promote security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region and more broadly, for the mutually beneficial and rapidly evolving deepening of the Military Cooperation between Greece and the US and the contribution of the strategic relationship between the two countries and of course for the Turkish provocations and the possible consequences in the region.
On Thursday, July 14, 2022, the Chief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff met with the Commander of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Lieutenant General Scott D. Berrier with whom they discussed the current defense and security challenges, the upgrading of the cooperation of the two countries in matters of collection, analysis and exchange of information, as well as the importance of early detection of threats to ensure stability in the wider region.
Afterwards, General Konstantinos Floros met with the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Mr. James A. Hursch, with whom they discussed the strategic cooperation of the two countries and the prospects for securing and strengthening our military capabilities. On this, the Chief of the Hellenic General Staff mentioned the high priority equipment programs for Greece, as well as the need to use all the available support and financing tools for their implementation (FMS, EDA, FMF).
Subsequently and immediately after the completion of the vote in the House of Representatives for the approval of the US Defense Budget, which also included a provision for the under conditions modernization and acquisition of F-16s from Turkey, the Greek General met and had a discussion on issues of mutual interest with the Co-President of the American Hellenic Council Mr. Gus Billirakis, in the presence of the Member of the House of Representatives Ms. Nicole Malliotakis and the Greek Ambassador to the USA Ms. Alexandras Papadopoulou.
Afterwards, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff met in a particularly warm atmosphere with his US counterpart, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), General Mark A. Milley, following his official invitation, on the basis of which the visit to the US took place, with whom they discussed matters of mutual interest with particular emphasis on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the parameters of its war effort, its consequences for the defense and security of the Euro-Atlantic area, the measures taken by the Alliance to strengthen its Eastern Wing and the increase of its deterrent capacity, as well as in the role of Souda and Alexandroupoli to serve the development and deployment of forces, means and material. Finally, he pointed out to his counterpart the importance of the challenges facing Greece due to the serious revisionist tendencies that are developing in the region.
On Friday, July 15, 2022, the Chief of the Hellenic General Staff visited the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Tampa, Florida, where he was briefed on its mission, organization, means and actions. He then met with USSOCOM Commander General Richard D. Clarke with whom they discussed matters of mutual interest, with particular emphasis on current trends in the field of Special Operations and the resulting organizational, equipment and operational training requirements to support them. In this context, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff referred to the Hellenic Special Forces – Special Operations Forces and the processes of their rapid adaptation to modern standards, among other things, through their recent incorporation into the newly created Special Warfare Command of the Hellenic Special Forces.
The Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff referred to the extensive upgrading of the administrative and educational infrastructures of the Special Warfare Command which are in progress and have become a pole of attraction for the Special Operations Forces of friends, partners and allied countries and the execution of joint operational training activities. In this context and with the aim of deepening the cooperation between Greece and the USA, the Greek Chief and the Commander of USSOCOM confirmed their intention for the exchange of Liaison Officers and the organization of conferences and other actions by the Special Warfare Command regarding Special Operations.
The United States Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin announced on Monday that they have reached an agreement to build about 375 F-35 fighter jets over three years.
Lockheed also announced that the cost of the F-35 has dropped significantly despite high inflation.
“Amidst the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and reduced F-35 quantities, it has managed to achieve a cost per jet lower than the record-breaking inflation trends. The agreed-upon price also includes modernized hardware needed to power the Block 4 version’s capabilities, which ensures the F-35 remains the world’s most capable aircraft in production today,” Lockheed Martin said.
“We are pleased to announce that the Department (of Defense) and Lockheed Martin have reached a handshake agreement for the next F-35 purchase based on 375 F-35s,” said William LaPlante, the Pentagon’s chief of weapons acquisitions.
The United States Department of Defense said the final quantity of aircraft included in this agreement may change depending on “adjustments made by the United States Congress to the budget for fiscal year 2023 and any orders requested by overseas partners ».
Greece is among these partners who are apparently fighting to acquire the fighters as quickly as possible and it is possible, without having any information, that the Greek F-35s will also be among these 375 fighters through the MDCA and the adjustments for rapid acquisition of F-35s incorporated by Philhellene Bob Menendez.
Turkish President Erdogan has repeated his threat to block Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, sending again an ultimatum to the two countries.
Erdogan said: “I want to repeat once again that we will freeze the NATO accession process if these nations do not take the required steps to fulfill our demands.”
At the NATO summit held in Madrid late last month, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed an agreement so that the first would lift its veto regarding the membership of the two last, in exchange for commitments to fight terrorism and for arms exports.
Sweden, however, apparently has literally implemented the agreement that states that any extradition of “terrorists” ,as Ankara calls them, must first follow the legal process and the European Law.
As it seems, based on this process, none of the individuals in Ankara’s lists have been recognized as a terrorist so far, and this angers Erdogan, who even said on Monday: “Sweden is not showing a good image at the moment.”