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Politics

Eye on Turkey, Greece Buying More French Fighter Jets, Warships

ATHENS – While Greece and Turkey agreed to a shaky detente to ratchet down tension during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Greece is arming itself to the hilt in case a conflict ever does break out.

Greece signed deals to acquire three Belharra navy frigates and six additional Rafale fighter jets from France to bolster the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis noting the Ukraine invasion has raised warning bells.

The Rafale fighter jets will be sold to Greece by Dassault Aviation and would be delivered from the summer of 2024, bringing the Hellenic Air Force’s fleet to 24 Rafales, the French warplane maker said, reported Reuters.

Defense minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos of Greece speaks during a signing ceremony held on the eve of Greece’s national day, on board a 112-year-old battleship that is currently a museum, in Athens, Greece, Thursday, March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The orders were signed aboard the retired Greek battleship Averof by the two countries’ defense ministers, the paper noted, symbolizing Greece’s intent to be battle ready while still trying diplomacy with Turkey which has has continued to send fighter jets into Greek airspace

“With this acquisition of frigates and fighter jets the firepower of Greece’s navy and air force will be strengthened,” Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said.

In September, 2021, Greece agreed to buy three frigates with an option for a fourth one for about 3 billion euros ($3.30 billion) as well to order the Rafale fighter jets, six of which arrived in January.

Greek lawmakers in October ratified a mutual defense pact with France in which the two countries are supposed to come to each other’s aid if attacked, but there was disagreement from other political parties in Greece.

the defense agreement between Greece and France that will allow the two countries to come to each other’s aid in the event of an external threat.

France’s Defense Minister Florence Parly speaks during a signing ceremony held on the eve of Greece’s national day, on board a 112-year-old battleship that is currently a museum, in Athens, Greece, Thursday, March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Greece and Turkey are squabbling over rights to the seas between them and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after pulling back an energy research vessel and warships near the Greek island of Kastellorizo, said he would send them back at some point.

Turkey also said that it would be a cause for war if Greece extends it maritime boundaries from 6 to 12 miles, with Erdogan citing his country’s so-called Blue Homeland doctrine to claim more waters between them.

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