Paula Tsoni reports in Greek Reporter on March 18, 2023. The Minister of National Defence of Greece, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, said in an interview on Friday that he wouldn’t rule out a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in the near future.
The invitation has already been extended from the Turkish side, he stated.
Defense Ministers of Greece and Turkey could meet amidst pre-election period
Speaking to Skai FM, Panagiotopoulos said that such a meeting was more likely to occur in the earthquake-stricken areas of Turkey, as Akar is spending considerable time in those crisis regions, and despite both countries going through a demanding pre-election period.
There definitely is a change in relations between the two countries after the recent earthquakes in Turkey and the rail disaster in Greece, he pointed out, and tensions have clearly subsided, but it is uncertain whether this change will be maintained or permanent.
“We can build on this climate though,” the minister told show host.
On the other hand, Panagiotopoulos affirmed that Greece will continue to enhance its defense, “because it is not only Turkey; it is the general geopolitical instability in our region and the geopolitical risks that emerge from this instability.”
Greece fighter jet and military aircraft orders gradually fulfilled
Panagiotopoulos told the interview that the 12th Rafale fighter jet from Greece’s procurement deal with France has already landed at the Tanagra air force base.
He added that a Letter of Offer & Acceptance (LOA) about the F-35 jets is also expected from the United States soon, pending details about the defense industry’s participation in the deal, and the creation of infrastructure for the aircrafts’ reception in Greece.
In 2024, Greece is scheduled to receive another three C-130 military transport aircraft, while a third C-27 transport aircraft will be delivered to Greece by year’s end, and a fourth early in 2024. With these, the Greek air force will own a total eight C-27s.
Delayed maintenance issues for the C-130s would be partly resolved through an Israeli company, the Defense Minister stated.
Greece, the US, Israel and Cyprus in Joint Military Drill in the Med
Air and naval forces from Greece, the US, Israel and Cyprus began a large military drill in the eastern Meditterean on Wednesday, March 15th.
The exercise, named “Noble Dina 2023“, is an annual event that this year focuses on training the participating forces in complex operational scenarios in a multi-threat environment, with an emphasis on anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and search and rescue operations.
It also aims to increase interoperability and strengthen the forces’ deterrence capability.
Forces from France and Italy, as well as personnel from Germany, will also participate in the exercise, which will last until March 30.
Greece participates with 1 Frigate, 1 Fast Guided Missile Patrol vessel, 1 Submarine, 2 F-16 Fighter Aircraft, and 1 Naval Operations Aircraft.