ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s prime minister summarized plans Saturday to update the nation’s defense capabilities, such as buying new fighter airplanes, frigates, helicopters, and weapons systems amid increased tensions with Turkey over rights to sources in the eastern Mediterranean.
Within a yearly state of the market speech, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated Greece would acquire 18 brand new French-made Rafale fighter planes to replace its aging Mirage 2000 fighters, purchase four navy helicopters and four brand new frigates, and has been refurbishing the next four frigates.
The armed forces will likely get fresh anti-tank weapons, new torpedoes, and brand new guided missiles, in addition to hiring 15,000 more individuals during the following five decades, ” he explained.
“This selection… .strengthens the connection between the French and Greek armed forces, and will permit them to intensify their strategic and operational alliance,” the announcement said, adding that a contract will be signed”in the forthcoming months.”
Turkish poll vessels and drill boats continue to prospect of gasoline in oceans where Greece and the European island state of Cyprus assert exclusive economic rights.
The rising tension in the sea has resulted in concerns that the problem could spiral to armed conflict.
“We’re a peaceful nation, prepared to collaborate with … like with Turkey,” Mitsotakis said, talking from the northern town of Thessaloniki. If Turkey disagrees with the delineation of marine boundaries in the eastern Aegean, ” he explained, then a remedy could be found in the International Court.
Turkey accuses Greece of attempting to grab an unfair share of marine resources and Cyprus of ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots about the ethnically divided island.
Greece and Turkey have run rival naval drills because of their standoff. On Friday, Turkey declared live-fire exercises beginning Saturday and running through Monday involving its southern shore and northern Cyprus.
“The time (has arrived ) to fortify the armed forces as a heritage to the safety of the nation.”
The prime minister also addressed economical steps to tackle the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, announcing a few tax cuts along with the expansion of subsidies. The financial package adds around 6.8 billion euros ($8.1 billion) injected into the market, Mitsotakis stated.
Part of the surplus defense spending, in addition to help to companies, will be funded using 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion) which Greece recently increased in a bond market.
The Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), on whose reasons Mitsotakis talked, was canceled this year due to the coronavirus. He gave the classic prime minister’s speech concerning the market facing a limited audience, all of whom wore masks and practiced social distancing.
Approximately 5,000 people protested outside the address place, together with riot police tracking. Similar presentations in preceding years have become violent, but not that time.