Russia Ready To Supply Turkey With 2nd Batch of S-400 Missiles; Greece ‘Bets Big’ On French Rafale Fighters

Russia is ready to supply Turkey, an “old friend of Greece”, with the second batch of S-400 air defense systems, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with the Greek TV channel ANT1.

“You know, your old friend Turkey, although it is a NATO member, has very developed relations, for example, militarily and technically with our country. We are planning bilateral projects with them, because they are so sovereign that they make decisions despite their NATO membership,” Peskov said.

“We have specific agreements with our Turkish partners, and we hope so. Yes,” the spokesman answered when asked whether Russia would supply the second batch of the air defense systems.

File:S-400 Triumf.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: S-400 Triumf – Wikimedia Commons

Greece, Turkey’s longtime NATO ally, accuses Ankara of “aggressive and illegal behavior” in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, and of becoming a tool in the migration problem.

Russia and Turkey signed a contract for the supply of four battalions of the S-400 air defense system worth $2.5 billion in 2017; deliveries to the Turkish side were carried out in the summer-fall of 2019.

The contract included an option for one more regimental set. In August 2021, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had no doubts about buying a second S-400 regiment from Russia. Rosoboronexport said the contract for the second regiment would be signed in 2021.

Greece Partners France

Meanwhile, Greece and France are building a strong defense partnership. PM of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian in November where they discussed strengthening the bilateral relations with the focus on security and economy in the framework of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, the Greek Prime Minister’s office confirmed.

“Pathways on strengthening the bilateral relations on multiple levels with the focus on security and economy in the framework of Greece-France Strategic Partnership Agreement were discussed”, the statement read.

During the meeting, Mitsotakis noted that Strategic Partnership Agreement took the bilateral relations of two states to a historically high level. Moreover, during the meeting of Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, both parties criticized European states supplying arms to states threatening other countries with force.

According to Dendias, Greece would like other European states to follow the French lead in not supplying hostile states with weapons, threatening other countries (especially EU) with force and destabilizing the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Dendias noted that while Greece receives defense weaponry from France, it contributes to regional security, and the Greece-France Strategic Partnership Agreement does not threaten any state and is not directed against specific states.

On September 28, Greece and France signed a bilateral Strategic Partnership Agreement. Under the agreement, Greece purchased three French Belharra frigates with the option to buy one more in the future.

Dassault Rafale - Wikipedia
Dassault Rafale – Wikipedia

In addition, Greece and France agreed that Greece will buy 24 French Rafale fighter jets. The total cost of the squadron of 18 aircraft is 1.92 billion euros ($2.26 billion).

Earlier as EurAsian Times reported, France delivered the first Rafale fighter to Greece under a deal signed earlier this year. The handover ceremony took place at the Dassault Flight Test Center in the Istres commune in southern France.

The Rafale will provide the HAF with the latest-generation multirole fighter, enabling the Hellenic Republic to ensure its geostrategic stance in full sovereignty. The delivery of the first Rafale is a clear demonstration of France’s determination to meet the government of the Hellenic Republic expectations and to participate actively to the sovereignty of the country, the Press Kit from Dassault read.

“Following the Mirage F1 in 1974, the Mirage 2000 in 1985 and the Mirage 2000-5 in 2000, the Rafale is now proudly flying with the Hellenic Air Force colors. The Rafale is a Strategic Game-Changer for the HAF.

It will play an active role by securing Greece’s leadership as a major regional power. I would like to reaffirm our total commitment to the success of the Rafale in Greece,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.