Athens, Greece – France hooks up with Greece, which hasn’t bought weapons in 10 years Greece, which has not bought weapons for the military for 10 years due to the economic crisis it is in, will buy weapons from France, which supports it in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced Greece will strengthen its armed forces by buying new weapons systems.
Specifically, Greece will acquire 18 Rafale fighters, a full squadron’s strength, to replacing the aging Mirage 2000 planes; 4 new frigates, while refurbishing 4 existing ones; 4 Romeo naval helicopters; antitank weapons for the Army; torpedoes for the Navy and guided missile for its Air Force. It will also add 15,000 professional soldiers to its armed forces over the next five years, Mitsotakis said.
The new weapons procurement program comes amid heightened tensions with Turkey over resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Its announcement dominated the first half of Mitsotakis’ speech on the grounds of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF). The trade fair itself has been canceled, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Mitsotakis delivered the customary speech describing next year’s economic policy.
The extra spending on defense did not prevent Mitsotakis from announcing a new €6.8 billion injection into the economy, in the form of payroll and other tax cuts, subsidies and payments of pension cuts restored by the courts.
“A shift in priorities (toward defense spending) does not mean a change in goals,” Mitsotakis told a restricted audience of just 50, all wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
Mitsotakis slandered Turkey
Micotakis slandered Turkey for threatening peace in the Eastern Mediterranean, stating that Greece is a country of peace; he called for a dialogue to solve the problem.
Turkey, which accuses Greece and the GCA of attempting to infringe on its maritime rights, has been ostensibly conducting search for oil and natural gas in Turkish exclusive economic zones, although the presence of Turkish Navy vessels nearby actually escorts seismic research. On Friday, Turkey issued a new Navtex, or international maritime safety message, for September 12-September 14 live-fire exercises between its southern coast and northern Cyprus.