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Politics

After French Fighter Jets, French Warships Could Join Greek Arsenal

ATHENS – After signing a 2.5-billion euro ($3.03 billion) deal to buy 18 French-made Rafale fighter jets – six of them new – Greece will be offered a deal to also buy frigates, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said in the Greek capital.

She came to sign the fighter jet deal as Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis is looking to build up Greece’s defenses in the face of constant Turkish provocations that has at times brought fears of a conflict.

Greece is trying to bolster its defenses with possible purchase of US-made F-35 fighter jets denied Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan authorized purchase of a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system that could be used against Greece and undermine the defenses of NATO, to which Greece and Turkey belong.

"Greece is becoming the first European country to acquire this type of fighter jet," Parly told reporters. "France will soon offer to Greece proposals to renew its fleet of frigates,” said Reuters, as the United States also wants to sell Greece warships.

The deal for six new and 12 used Rafale jets was announced hours after a new round of talks between Greece and Turkey over disputed territorial waters ended in Constantinople that wasn’t designed to be negotiations.

The first deliveries of the advanced French warplanes are expected in July as Mitsotakis has been building international alliances against Turkey – backed by France which is also a trade partner with Turkey.

Greece is looking to buy four new frigates, helicopters and drones, upgrade its existing fleet of F-16 jets and purchase torpedoes and missiles to boost its armed forces, the report said.

The government also wants to add 15,000 military personnel over the next four years, fix a shaky defense industry and approved a $1.68 billion flight training deal with Israel, the largest ever procurement deal between the two countries.

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