Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced that his country intends to purchase American F-35 fighter jets as part of its efforts to bolster its air force in light of tensions with Turkey.
“We intend to get a squadron of F-35s with the possibility of getting a second squadron,” Mitsotakis said at the conclusion of a two-day NATO summit in Madrid.
The Greek prime minister explained that Athens had placed an order for the aircraft “in 2027 or 2028”.
And the conservative Greek government had previously signed a billion-euro deal with France to acquire Rafale fighter jets and Bilhara-class frigates.
The SYRIZA party, the most prominent opposition faction, heavily criticized Mitsotakis for his statement.
“We are a small country with weak finances,” former education minister and SYRIZA member Nikos Filis said in a radio address.
He continued: “The government told us that we would buy Rafale fighters, not F-35s. Now we will get two models. This story has no end.”
And in 2020, the conservative government unveiled its largest arms-buying program in decades, following a major confrontation with Turkey over oil resources and maritime influence in territorial waters.
Currently, the Turkish authorities accuse Greece of stationing troops on the islands of the Aegean Sea in violation of the peace agreements concluded following the results of the First and Second World Wars.
For its part, Athens emphasizes that it is deploying these forces in response to the deployment of Turkish military units, aircraft and Turkish landing ships on the opposite side.