Greece is in talks with France and other countries over arms purchases to boost its armed forces, a government official told Reuters on Tuesday.
It is recalled Greece's Finance Minister Christos Staikouras on Monday said that the country is ready to spend part of its cash reserves to support its armed forces. “The Prime Minister’s mandate is to reduce taxes as much as possible, to be close to the lower classes and to strengthen the the armed forces’ prevention force,” Staikouras said during an interview with Alpha TV.
“We are in talks with France, and not only with France, in order to increase our country’s defense potential,” a government official told Reuters. “Within this framework, there is a discussion which includes the purchase of aircraft.”
According to government spokesman Stelios Petsas, the government has given the "green light" for defence spending. "The Prime Minister will be clear on the issues of armaments and the strengthening of the country's deterrent force on September 12th and 13th at the Thessaloniki International Fair [political and economic forum]."
Tensions between Greece and its NATO Turkey continue to escalate.
On Monday evening, Turkey issued a new Navigation Telex (NAVTEX) to extend the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel’s activities until September 12.
The new NAVTEX concerns Oruc Reis and the two accompanying research vessels – Ataman and Cengiz Han. They will conduct seismic surveys in the area already announced off Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In response, Greece’s Foreign Ministry stated “Turkey continues to faithfully fulfil its role as a source of turmoil and instability in the region.”
According to the statement, Turkey continues to “ignore calls for dialogue and escalate its challenges (…) Undermine security and stability in the region by forcing the international community to take action.”
“Based solely on International Law, International Maritime Law and Good Neighborliness Rules, it will continue to seek agreements to delimit its maritime zones with all countries in the region. We call on Turkey to distance itself from the daily delusions it engages in and to work for the security and stability of the region,” the statement concluded.
According to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Oruc Reis will remain in the East Med for another three months.
At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that “Turkey will not allow piracy and robbery in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions. As the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean, Turkey can not be trapped off the coast of Antalya. “Those who make dudes, because they are incited by the former colonialists, I advise them to study their recent history.”