Greece is adding more military personnel and by developing the country’s defense industry. That is per a government statement last Monday. There is a tense standoff with Turkey that has led to concerns of open conflict between the two countries.
Greece and Turkey have come to the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s. This includes once over exploration rights in the Aegean Sea. The current dispute escalated when Turkey sent a seismic research vessel, the Oruc Reis accompanied by warships.
It was in an area between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete. This is an area Athens claims as its own continental shelf. In response to the Turkish presence, Greece sent its own warships to the area. It also put its armed forces on alert.
There are territorial, religious and historic components to this dispute
The dispute is over oil and gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Greece and Turkey are deploying naval and air forces to assert their competing claims.
Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas says, “The Turkish leadership is unleashing, on a near-daily basis, threats of war and makes provocative statements against Greece. … We respond with political, diplomatic, and operational readiness, determined to do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereign rights.”
Petsas says Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be announcing details of a military upgrade plan. That will come during his annual state of the economy speech this weekend. Last week, Greece raised 2.5 billion euros in a bond auction. So they have $2.96 billion to work with.
Greek media is reporting the purchases may include fighter jets and one frigate or more from France. Petsas says Mitsotakis would be meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Corsica with the European Union’s Mediterranean countries. Will Greece and Turkey go to war… again? Who knows but escalating military conflict is not a positive sign.