“With Greece’s purchase of the F-35’s, balances can be turned upside down in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, including Cyprus,” Haluk Özdalga Turkish journalist.
Haluk Özdalga, a prominent Turkish journalist and former member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan belongs to, has said that a Greek F-35 purchase would turn the Aegean Sea into a Greek lake, Greek City Times reports.
As we have previously explained, since Turkey opted to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defense system despite being a NATO member, it was withdrawn from the F-35 program.
The F-35 “was developed especially against Russia and China,” Özdalga told to Ahval.
He added that with an F-35 purchase “Greece, which seeks opportunity, can take the air superiority, increase its territorial waters to 12 miles and turn it into the Aegean Greek lake.”
Özdalga concluded that with Greece’s purchase of the F-35’s “balances can be turned upside down in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, including Cyprus.”
Noteworthy, in January 2020, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Donald Trump in the White House and discussed Greece’s interest in the F-35. In the following days, Greece’s Minister for National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos announced that, alongside upgrading Greece’s fleet of F-16s, Greece is looking to procure 24 F-35 aircraft at an estimated cost of US$3 billion.
Panagiotopoulos then told to Skai TV that Greece is looking to buy the F-35 to achieve “air superiority over Turkey” in the coming years.
Specifically, as reported by Keep Talking Greece, he explained that the F-35 purchase will follow the upgrade of the F-16 Viper fighter jets.
Panagiotopoulos estimated that the acquisition of F-35 would begin after 2024.
The upgrade of the Hellenic Air Force Viper Fleet to F-16V configuration is expected to last some 7 to 8 years.
“Someday Greece will also go to the 5th generation aircraft that has unique characteristics, the so-called stealth that is not detected by hostile radars but also has some formidable capabilities in terms of its electronic and weapon systems. Greece will, anyway, like the other countries, go to this 5th generation aircraft. The way we insist on doing this is firstly to upgrade the F-16 fleet to something between the 4th and 5th generations,” Panagiotopoulos said.
“When we are finished, we will have upgraded the bulk of our planes, 82 to 84 F-16s, to the most up-to-date type for this type of aircraft, and have begun the process of acquiring the F-35s,” he said.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force