New development in tensions between Turkey and Greece in eastern Mediterranean basin: Greek media reported today (Wednesday) that his country Tahabrit has approved the expedited transfer of six advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Greek Air Force.
The Greek English-language news site “Greek city times” reported that the planes to be flown to Greece were originally intended for the Turkish Air Force but their transfer was canceled following Ankara’s decision to purchase S-400 air defense systems from Russia. The news site quoted the veteran newspaper Astia as reporting that US Secretary of Defense Mike Pompeo had approved during his visit to Greece the sale of 20 F-35s to the Greeks.
The new acquisition is part of Greece’s comprehensive armaments program launched with American and European support following Turkey’s growing threats to Greece’s territorial and economic waters in the eastern Mediterranean basin. According to the original report in the Greek newspaper, part of the armament program includes the purchase of two advanced submarines from Germany along with spike missiles, drones and anti-UAV drones from Israel and “Raphael” fighter jets from France.
Military tensions between Ankara and Athens peaked last month as Turkish fighter jets were sent to fly over the Greek island of Castellorizo, off the coast of Turkey, after Greece transferred military forces to the island.
This is another diplomatic blow for Turkey, which in recent months has also managed to miss relations with Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and France. Earlier today it was reported that Turkey was planning a “diplomatic retaliation” against France due to an illustration by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that appeared on the cover of the satirical magazine “Charlie the Bedouin”. Earlier this week, Paris returned the ambassador from Ankara after Erdogan claimed that the French president needed a “mental examination”.
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