France will sell 18 Rafale fighter planes to Greece, although French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed a week ago, in an exchange of letters, to resume dialogue in order to overcome the sharp tensions between Ankara and Paris.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly is scheduled to travel to Athens on January 25 to sign an agreement allowing Greece to purchase 18 Rafale fighter jets manufactured by the French company Dassault, while tensions remain high with Turkey over the eastern Mediterranean. It should be noted that France supports the Greek position.
Greek legislators approved the purchase of six new and 12 used Rafale aircraft from France for 2.5 billion euros ($3.04 billion) earlier this month, with the New Democracy government also eager to purchase U.S.-made F-35 aircraft. These were denied to Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bought Russian S-400 missile defense systems that could be used against Greece and undermine the security of NATO, the defense alliance to which Greece and Turkey belong.
Unnamed sources told The National Herald newspaper that Parly, who also spoke on the phone with Greek defense chief Nikos Panagiotopoulos, will also offer to sell French Belharra frigates to Greece.
Tense for several years, relations between Turkey and France have deteriorated sharply in recent months, with Mr. Erdogan going so far as to accuse Mr. Macron of “Islamophobia” and questioning his “mental health”.
Last month, Turkey’s president called Mr. Macron a “problem for France,” calling on the country to “get rid” of him.
by Xavier Cuesta – European Correspondent – EN