Tension in Eastern Mediterranean drives arms sales in France – Middle East Monitor

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Tensions sustained by France between eastern Mediterranean states and Turkey are boosting French arms sales, Paul Iddon, contributor to Forbes, revealed Thursday.Iddon noted that French President Emmanuel Macron is a staunch critic of Turkey’s foreign policy and presents himself as a supporter of the eastern Mediterranean states, which are opposite sides of the tension with Turkey.

Therefore, the French army has participated this year in a series of military exercises with Turkey’s rivals in the eastern Mediterranean to signal Paris’s support to these countries.

He confirmed that France showed its support for Greece by deploying two Dassault Rafale fighter jets to the Greek island of Crete, as well as a warship in August.

Greece, according to Iddon, turned to France after deciding to expand its army to purchase 18 Rafales, including six brand new and 12 used that previously served in the French air force, noting that Greece is the first European. countries to buy Rafale jets.

READ: France urges Turkey to reopen ‘responsible dialogue’

Iddon also revealed that Athens had already reached a € 260 million ($ 305 million) deal with France to modernize its existing fleet of Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets in December 2019. The deal would prevent the Turkey to establish air superiority over the Aegean Sea, or parts of the Eastern Mediterranean.

At the same time, the Republic of Cyprus has entered into a $ 262 million arms deal with France for Mistral short-range air defense systems and Exocet anti-ship missiles.

These agreements are not comparable to those concluded between France and Egypt, which has been a major rival to Turkey since current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power through his military coup in July 2013 .

“Under Sissi,” Iddon wrote in Forbes, “Egypt quickly became a major customer of French armaments of several billion euros. His country was the first to purchase Rafale aircraft, as well as four Gowind corvettes, a FREEM multi-purpose frigate and two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.

Iddon concluded: “Until these territorial disputes and tensions between these countries and Turkey are resolved, France is unlikely to have a shortage of arms customers in the Eastern Mediterranean anytime soon.”



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