Skip to main content

Intel: Greece seeks French military aircraft as Turkey renews gas exploration in eastern Mediterranean

Athens seeks French military hardware amid sharp tensions with Ankara.
GettyImages-1228237320.jpg

Greece’s government is discussing plans to buy new military aircraft from France amid Turkey’s moves to explore for hydrocarbons in waters claimed by Athens in the eastern Mediterranean.

Reuters on Monday cited a Greek official as saying no deal had been struck yet, contradicting Greek news reports that an agreement had already been reached to acquire 18 Rafale fighter jets.

"We are in talks with France, and not only with France, in order to increase our country's defense potential," Reuters cited the official as saying, adding that the discussions include “the purchase of aircraft.”

Why it matters:  Turkey’s push in the eastern Mediterranean is bringing regional countries and the European Union together in opposition, with France’s leaders eager to step in.

Last week, fighter aircraft from France and the United Arab Emirates joined the Hellenic armed forces for joint military exercises based out of Souda Naval Base on Crete. Italian forces also joined the exercise.

The EU reiterated last week the possibility of placing economic sanctions on Turkey for sending a research vessel, the Oruc Reis, to explore for hydrocarbon reserves in waters claimed by Greece.

In response to the tensions, Turkey said it would launch live-fire exercise this week in an area between Turkey’s coast and Cyprus.

Turkish officials slammed the threats of sanctions and the joint military exercises. Video shared by Turkey’s Defense Ministry on Saturday suggested Turkish F-16s had intercepted and turned back Greek F-16s approaching the Oruc Reis’ exploration area.

What’s next:  Ankara on Monday again prolonged the Oruc Reis’ mission, this time issuing a new NAVTEX that said its work will continue until Sept. 12.

Germany is seeking to mediate the dispute, and both Greece’s and Turkey’s foreign ministers have expressed openness to engaging with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to resolve the tensions.

On Tuesday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was open to dialogue with Greece, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mocked Greece as “incompetent” during a speech at the presidential complex and said “regional and global power” Turkey was being treated unjustly.

Know more:  Cengiz Candar digs up the ideological roots of Erdogan’s strategic ambitions in the Mediterranean and what they portend for the NATO alliance.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial