EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): After sending a very clear message to Turkey with the signing ceremony of the $3 Billion purchase of Rafale fighter jets yesterday in Athens, Greece is sending another message to Turkey with the initiation of the discussions for the “co-manufacturing” of French frigates for the Greek Navy. It’s a welcome strengthening of the traditionally very pacifist – some say submissive – Greek foreign policy.
France to put in frigate offers as Greece beefs up military
ATHENS, Jan 25 (Reuters) – France will put in proposals to supply new frigates to Greece, which is building up its armed forces during a period of tension with its neighbour and NATO partner Turkey, the French defence minister said on Monday.
Florence Parly was speaking at a joint news conference with her Greek counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos in Athens after the two finalised a 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion) agreement for the purchase of 18 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets by Greece.
“Greece is becoming the first European country to acquire this type of fighter jet,” Parly told reporters. “France will soon offer to Greece proposals to renew its fleet of frigates.”
The first deliveries of the advanced French warplanes are expected in July amid a flurry of procurement moves by the conservative government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis after years of shrunken budgets during the financial crisis.
Greece, which last year accused Turkey of “imperial fantasies” in the region, also wants to buy four new frigates, helicopters and drones, upgrade its existing fleet of F-16 jets and purchase torpedoes and missiles to boost its armed forces.
It has promised to recruit 15,000 military personnel over the next four years, revamp its defence industry and this month approved a $1.68 billion flight training deal with Israel, the largest ever procurement deal between the two countries.
On Monday, exploratory talks aimed at laying the groundwork for possible future negotiations to resolve territorial differences ended after a few hours when they resumed in Istanbul following a five-year hiatus.
Another meeting is expected in Athens, a Greek government official said, without giving a date.