The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has joined a list of nations supporting Greece against Turkey, the Athens-based daily newspaper Kathimerini reported.
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The Arab nation has sent four F-16 fighter jets to take part in a joint drill with the Hellenic Air Force. According to the reports, the jets will be stationed at Souda Bay airbase and will undertake joint military drills with the Greek armed forces over the eastern Mediterranean.
The move comes at a critical time when Greece, Tukey’s tensions are at a peak. Turkey had deployed naval vessels last month to escort a hydrocarbon exploration ship in Greek waters – or the waters claimed by it. Both the nations are part of NATO, however, Turkey’s relations with the organization has tumbled recently.
The chief of Greece’s Hellenic National Defense staff talked with his Emirati partner, Lt. Gen. Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, on Thursday, Kathimerini revealed.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that his country is not looking for trouble with the Greeks, and that dialogue could be the only solution. “If we act with common sense and reason, we can find a win-win solution that meets everyone’s interests,” he said.
Turkey’s troubled relationship with the UAE
Recently, Turkey again agreed to purchase a second batch of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. It came even after the United States warned Ankara of sanctions, and had kicked it out of its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program when Turkey inked its first purchase of the missile systems.
Even in Syria, Turkey had launched its offensive against American-supported Kurdish forces just hours after the U.S. troops vacated the place.
Along with Syria, several middle eastern and north African battlegrounds have become places of proxy wars for the major regional powers. Recently, the Turkish troops were deployed on the ground to aid the Libyan GNA government, against General Haftar’s LNA which enjoys support from France, UAE, Russia, Egypt, and Israel.
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Despite Turkey and UAE having enjoyed strong cultural ties, relations have deteriorated in the past few years. Both sides have been on the opposite ends by supporting different parties in regional conflicts politically – especially during the Egypt and Qatar crisis.
The UAE has also been accused of supporting the 2016 Turkish coup d’ etat attempt, and the Arab country has denounced Ankara over its military presence in Syria. Turkey was also one of the first countries alongside Iran to condemn the establishment of diplomatic relations between UAE and Israel.