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Greece to spend over $12.5B more on arms amid ‘window of opportunity’ with Turkey

Greece to spend over $12.5B more on arms amid ‘window of opportunity’ with Turkey
Greece is forecast to spend some €12.5 billion more on arms over the next four years amid a "window of opportunity" in ties with Türkiye, as announced by the country's defense minister on Saturday.

Nineteen major procurements are scheduled in the next four years, including at least 20 F-35 fighter jets and modernization for 37 F-16 Block 50 aircraft, Nikos Dendias said in a speech to parliament.

Already underway, these, along with the procurement of three FDI-type frigates and 24 Rafael war jets from France and 83 more F-16 jet updates, will greatly improve the Greek armed forces’ capabilities, Dendias added during the plenary discussion on the newly formed government’s policy program.

On March 29, Greece also approved the purchase of the Israeli-made SPIKE NLOS missile systems during a meeting of its National Security Governmental Council chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

On relations with Türkiye, which saw a thaw in recent months, Dendias said Greece “continues to extend an olive branch, aiming for the peaceful coexistence of the two peoples and hopes for improvements in relations.”

“We look forward to an improvement in relations with the neighbor, especially after the window of opportunity that seems to have opened after the devastating earthquakes,” he said, referring to powerful tremors that shook southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, claiming more than 50,000 lives.

Dendias also argued that in order to achieve peace and stability, Athens must “send the message that it will defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights with absolute determination.”

Under these circumstances, a strong military and the will to use it when necessary are a must, he maintained.

Also speaking at the session, Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis said Greece looked forward to building good neighborly relations with Türkiye, working toward restarting talks, and promoting a positive agenda through the confidence building measures and increased economic collaboration.

Gerapetritis also said Athens sought to resolve a dispute with Türkiye on the delimitation of the exclusive economic zones and the continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean, claiming that these were the only problems between Athens and Ankara.

Rapprochement with Türkiye Greece was among the first countries to convey its condolences and offer aid on Feb. 6, when twin earthquakes struck 11 southern Turkish provinces.

Likewise, Türkiye was the first country to offer its condolences and aid following a Feb. 28 train accident in northern Greece that left at least 57 people dead.

After the accident, Türkiye allowed the transfer of a Greek prisoner to Greece to attend his son’s funeral.

On March 20, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Nikos Dendias met in Brussels and agreed that Türkiye would support Greece’s campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2025-2026 and Athens would support Ankara’s candidacy for secretary general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

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