Greece will buy more fighters, helicopters and warships from France and reform its military as territorial tensions with Turkey escalate.
“It is time to consolidate the armed forces. These weapons procurement initiatives constitute a powerful program to become a shield to protect the country,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in his speech. in the city of Thessaloniki on 12/9.
Mitsotakis said Greece will buy 18 Rafale fighters, four French battleships and four naval helicopters in an effort to reform and modernize the army. The Greek military will recruit an additional 15,000 soldiers, while simultaneously devoting resources to the weapons manufacturing industry and defense against cyber attacks.
Greece will buy more anti-tank weapons, torpedoes and new missiles, and plan to upgrade four guardians in service to create thousands of jobs in the country, Prime Minister Mitsotaki said.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced plans to buy a new series of weapons in a speech in the city of Thessaloniki, on 12/9. Photo: AP.
The arms procurement program was announced by Prime Minister Mitsotaki after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron during the summit of Southern European leaders on September 10. Contrary to its other European Union (EU) and NATO allies, France expressed strong support for Greece in its territorial dispute with Turkey.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly welcomed the arms deal and said it was the first time a European country has purchased Rafale fighters. Dassault Aviation, the maker of the Rafale fighter, said it was “very pleased” with the Greek order.
Greece – Turkey tensions have escalated since August, when Ankara sent a warship escorting a probe to do a seismic survey in waters claimed by Athens. Greece sent the warship to deal with the Turkish fleet, and held exercises with its EU ally and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to show off strength.
The territorial dispute between Greece and Turkey, the two NATO members, puts the other countries of the organization in a difficult position. Prime Minister Mitsotakis said in August that NATO’s “no-hands-on approach” when not on either side was “very unfair”.
Mitsotakis accused Turkey of threatening Europe’s eastern borders and undermining regional security. Greek Prime Minister said he wants dialogue with Turkey “as long as it stops acting as a provocator”.
Meanwhile, French President Macron showed his support for Greece, warning his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to cross the “red line”, and to send warships and fighters to eastern Middle-earth. Hai. Erdogan said on September 12 that Macron “must not cause trouble” with Turkey, and urged Greece to “stay away from wrongdoing” backed by countries like France in the disputed waters.
The Aegean Sea is located between Greece and Turkey. Graphics: AFP.