Faced with Turkey, Greece buys 18 Rafale from France

Athens (AFP) - Greece on Monday concluded the purchase of 18 Rafale fighter jets from France, to strengthen its defense and its partnership with Paris in the face of increased tensions with neighboring Turkey.

The Rafale will be an "important pillar of our air superiority", welcomed the Greek Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos, stressing to the press that this acquisition "constitutes a milestone in bilateral (Franco-Greek) defense cooperation.".

The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, who attended the signing in Athens, for her part welcomed the country's "resolutely European choice" with this contract, and recalled the cooperation between France and Greece "particularly visible in the Mediterranean ", through numerous military exercises.

This contract, worth around 2.5 billion euros, covers 12 used aircraft and 6 new aircraft.

It also includes the supply of Scalp cruise missiles, Exocet anti-ship missiles and Mica and above all Meteor anti-aircraft missiles.

The acquisition was discussed in record time, with the decision to negotiate taken in September by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in response to Turkey's gas exploration and show of force in disputed waters with Greece and Cyprus.

Turkish actions "illegal and aggressive", according to EU leaders, which paved the way for sanctions against Ankara.Greece and Turkey resumed Monday in Istanbul discussions - interrupted in 2016 - to try to settle their differences.

In recent months, France has demonstrably sided with Athens and has sent Rafales and warships during the summer in response to the deployment of Turkish military and prospecting vessels in an area claimed by Greece.Panagiotopoulos also praised "the unwavering support of France".

Posted Date: 2021-02-04

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