Even at the very fifth NATO Summit in Vilnius, Turkey continues to contest the extent of Greek airspace.
On the occasion of the commitment of an area for an exercise of NATO and Turkish units south of Rhodes and Kastelorizo for 14 July with a NOTAM from Athens stating that the 10 nautical miles of airspace should be respected, Turkey says with an anti-NOTTAM that it will not do so and its planes will fly up to 6 nm.
With the hours counting down to the long-awaited Mitsotakis-Ertogan meeting at the NATO summit in Vilnius, the Turkish president appeared ready for the big "oriental" bargain.
Pressuring the US underground with a "no" to Sweden's entry by seeking a "yes" for F-16s while punctuating his blackmailing dilemmas by asking for EU membership as well, provoking positions and reactions from Washington and Brussels, the Turkish president said, "First, come and open the road for Turkey to the EU and then we will open the road for Sweden, as we did for Finland. I said this to Mr Biden last night and I will underline it again in Vilnius.
"We have always supported and continue to support Turkey's aspirations for EU membership, it is a matter between the EU and Turkey, we are focused on Sweden being ready for NATO membership," was the White House statement.
Commission Deputy Spokesperson Dana Spindad commented: "The EU has a very specific enlargement process with a very clear set of steps that all candidate countries, even those that wish to become candidate countries, must follow."
In two 24 hours from now Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with the Turkish president with a fresh and strong popular mandate and expectations:
-The opening of a positive agenda
-The opening of a positive agenda, -The opening of a positive discussion of low political and political issues
-the resumption of discussions on the Confidence Building Measures
Government Spokesman Pavlos Marinakis noted: "We believe in dialogue, we believe that it is very important to talk with the neighbouring country. From then on, we are clear in our positions. There is no possibility or possibility of retreat. We believe in resolving our only dispute on the basis of international law, which is the definition of the EEZ and continental shelf."
What is even more impressive is that the subtle processes that are going on behind the scenes of the NATO Summit, which officially starts tomorrow in Vilnius, in order to satisfy Washington, Stockholm, Athens and Ankara, brought to the fore by the US president's mention of simultaneous military reinforcement of Athens, photographing according to analysts the green light for the F-35 and Ankara "outlining" the F-16 and Sweden's membership in the Alliance.
"Turkey is looking to modernize its F-16 aircraft. And Mitsotakis in Greece is also looking for some help... And so, what I'm trying to build, frankly, is sort of a joint venture, where we strengthen NATO both through the military strengthening of Greece and Turkey and also with Sweden joining. But it's a work in progress. It's not done yet," the US President said
However, American parliamentarians, in a letter to the US Secretary of State, stress that any sale of F-16s that Ankara wants should be done with safeguards so that they are not used against Greece: "If an agreement to sell F-16s and modernization kits to Turkey is being considered, we strongly urge that any final agreement include mechanisms to provide for the cessation, delay, or withdrawal of the transfer of such weapons if Turkey engages in actions that threaten or undermine U.S. national security interests and the unity of the NATO alliance."
What is certain is that in Vilnius, "armed to the teeth", the first attempt to re-engage Greek-Turkish relations after almost a whole year of coldness will be made.