Greece's Ongoing Pursuit of F-35s


Despite a recent thaw in relations with Turkey, Greece was still eager to purchase advanced F-35 fighter jets from the US, as affirmed by the country’s foreign minister in an interview on Saturday.

Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis spoke highly of Greece's relations with Turkey but insisted on upgrading the country's military by purchasing F-35 fighter jets from the US, whom he described as a major player in the region and a "superpower."

Gerapetritis praised the level of relations with the US in recent years, saying, "We don't do transactional politics, we do an international policy of principles, and everybody respects that, and the big players, the United States, which is obviously a superpower, realizes who the credible regional player is."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had already visited Athens on Saturday evening, and the minister indicated that Greece would request again the purchase of F-35, an all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft, despite Washington's previous lack of response.

“They (F-35) would significantly upgrade the country's defense. We will discuss this issue (during Blinken’s visit). I believe there will be positive developments,” he said.

When asked about the state of relations with Turkey, Gerapetritis said they were excellent and based on mutual understanding between the two NATO allies.

“I want to emphasize that it is very important that we have now reached a level of discussion and understanding so that we can manage tensions without causing crises,” he said.

More specifically, Gerapetritis argued that the thawing of bilateral relations was already yielding positive results from the Greek side, as these were no longer limited to dealing with irregular migration and human trafficking issues.

The minister also underscored that Athens intended to take the issue of maritime border delimitation with Turkey to an international court, such as the International Court of Justice in The Hague or the Special Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg.

However, the top diplomat said, “At this stage, we have not discussed this issue. It is an issue that will come up in the future. What we have said is that we are going step by step. We are never going to take leaps.”

On Dec. 7, 2023, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a landmark visit to Greece after the two neighboring countries experienced a tumultuous relationship in recent years.

Erdogan said in a news conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens, that there is no issue between Turkey and Greece that cannot be resolved and that they want to "turn the Aegean into a sea of peace and cooperation."

Turkey and Greece announced the Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good-Neighbourliness, in which they stressed that they are committed to fostering friendly relations, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and understanding and seeking resolution to any dispute between in line with international law.

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