Athens, Greece – Greece is in talks with France and other countries over arms purchases to boost its armed forces, as tensions grow over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
A day earlier, Greece’s finance minister said the country is ready to spend part of its cash reserves on arms purchases and other means which will help increase its “deterrence force,” after years of belt-tightening in defense spending.
“We are in talks with France, and not only with France, in order to increase our country’s defense potential,” a government official told. “Within this framework, there is a discussion which includes the purchase of aircraft.”
The official added that no final decisions had been made. Greek media reported on Monday that Greece had agreed to acquire 18 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets from France.
“There is no agreement as written in several media. However, there are discussions on a number of subjects,” a French government source said, without providing further detail.
Greece has been at odds with neighboring Turkey over a range of issues including overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region, based on conflicting claims over the extent of their continental shelves.
Tensions escalated last month after Turkey dispatched the Oruç Reis seismic survey vessel in a search area following a pact between Greece and Turkey ratifying maritime boundaries.
France and Germany have tried to mediate to defuse the tension, while Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held two calls with United States President Donald Trump last week.
On Monday night, Turkey extended the Oruç Reis vessel’s work until September 12. The Turkish advisory came after the EU called for dialog with Turkey.
Greece’s Foreign Ministry urged Turkey “to desist from its daily rants and to work for security and stability in the region.”