ATHENS – The United States is eager to sell F-35 fighter jets to Greece after Turkey was barred from buying them after purchasing Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems that undermine NATO and could be used against Greece in a conflict.
US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said the government “at the highest levels,” – without stipulating whether that meant President Donald Trump who is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – welcomed Greece's decision.
"We ave signaled our support for procurement and are working closely together on a future acquisition program, which would enhance Greece’s defense capabilities, ensure interoperability with US Armed Forces and improve regional stability,” said Pyatt, reported Kathimerini.
He added that “all reports to the contrary are false and misrepresentations of US policy.”
“We take great pride in our defense and security partnership with Greece and work daily to advance that from strength to strength, including through Greece’s future acquisition of the F-35,” he said, adding that the acquisition of the jet is a “multi-year process that would naturally build upon the successes realized in Greece’s F-16 Viper upgrade program.”
Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis is building an international alliance against Turkish provocations and plans to hunt for energy in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, including off Greek islands.
That saw Greece trying to build a bigger arsenal, including buying the F-35s, upgrade its fleet of F-16's and acquire Rafale fighter jets from France and French frigates to boost the Greek Navy which was shadowing Turkish warships and the energy vessel the Oruc Reis off the island of Kastellorizo before they withdrew.