The Greek President, General Phaedon Gizikis, visited Andravida Air Base in Central Peloponnese on Thursday (20 June) to inspect the Phantom jets which are the latest arms delivery from the United States.
The Greek President, General Phaedon Gizikis, visited Andravida Air Base in Central Peloponnese on Thursday (20 June) to inspect the Phantom jets which are the latest arms delivery from the United States. The President was briefed by officers of the 117 Combat Wing of the Air Force on the readiness of the aircraft, which are some of the 34 Greece has ordered from the United States.
Their delivery, and a new deal this month between the two countries under which the U.S. will supply some 80 aircraft, have brought fears that Greece has started an arms race with its neighbour Turkey. Both Greece and Turkey are sallies under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Fears of an arms race began with the dispute between the two countries over their oil rights in the Aegean sea.
The American governments' arms deals with Greece since the military coup have been strongly criticised in the U.S. With the flareup of the Aegean dispute in May, the prospect of U.S. arms being used against Turkey has made the criticism more intense.
The U.S. Congress has become increasingly unwilling to sanction arms deals with the Greek junta. The Greeks, apparently fearful that U.S. arms may be refused, are reported to have turned to the French. Last month there were reports that France had agreed to sell 40 Mirage jet fighters to Greece as part of an arms deal worth hundreds of millions of pounds.