Greek media outlets report that the U.S. will divert to Greece six F-35s originally built by Lockheed Martin for Turkey.
News is emerging of the immediate arrival and inclusion of six F-35 fighters in the arsenal of the Greek Air Force.
The most important thing, however, is that six of the F-35s that “will be painted in blue and white” are the ones that were originally for Turkey.
More specifically, according to the newspaper Estia, during the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Greece, the supply of 20 F-35s was discussed and agreed, six of which will be purchased in 2022 and will be delivered together with the first six Rafale fighter jets from France.
According to Estia, the U.S. is selling to Greece the F-35s ordered by Turkey with facilitations and with “Goverment to Goverment” processes.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday that Turkey had tested the S-400s and was continuing to do so. The Pentagon immediately condemned the move. Washington has threatened further economic and political reprisals for Ankara’s purchase of the missiles, which it says could be used by Russia to garner sensitive information on the F-35 and other NATO weapons.
It seems that the purchase and the recent activation of the S-400 from Ankara has turned the tables to favour Greece.
The U.S. reaction is not limited to the delivery of F-35s to Greece but also to the possibility for them to move the NATO nuclear İncirlik base in Turkey to Crete.
Greece’s deal to take delivery of the F-35s comes during a political and military standoff with Turkey over territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean.
Hopes for de-escalation were dimmed earlier this month when the Turkey announced naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean and sent its research ship, the Oruç Reis, back to contested waters to continue a search for hydrocarbons, a move that had sparked the dispute on Aug. 10.