Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Greece Receives 1st Batch of Rafale Fighter Jets from France

Wed 19 Jan 2022 | 05:40 PM

On Wednesday, Greece received the first six new Rafale fighter jets purchased under a defense deal with France that has further stirred tensions with Greece's historic rival and NATO partner Turkey.

Greece has ordered a total of 24 Dassault-made jets at a cost of more than 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) as it seeks to modernize its armed forces amid a long-simmering dispute with Turkey over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Other areas of tension include air space, the status of some Aegean islands, and the ethnically-pided island of Cyprus, but the two countries re-launched exploratory talks last year.

“The new Rafale jets which landed today are ready to take off for a better, more peaceful future for the whole region” Greece’s conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

Mitsotakis, who also announced tax breaks for members of the defense forces, police, coast guard, and firefighters, said the Rafale deal was contributing to Europe's strategy for autonomy.

In October, Greece’s parliament ratified a defense pact with France, a NATO ally, whereby they would come to each other’s aid in the event of an external threat. The pact includes an order for three French frigates worth a further 3 billion euros.

The deals, which come after a decade-long financial crisis in Greece, have fueled distrust in Turkey, at loggerheads with Athens over issues including their respective maritime boundaries and continental shelves.

France says the accord is not aimed against any third country but that Greece, guarding the European Union's southeastern flank, must be protected.

“We obviously don’t need anyone’s permission for their acquisition,” Mitsotakis said of the Rafale jets. “With the same determination that our country shuts the door on every threat, it keeps the windows open for dialogue.”