Greek government defends F-16 fighter jet upgrade deal with the US

The Greek government sought on October 19 to defend a deal struck with the US to upgrade Greece’s fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft which has come under fire by parts of the mainstream media and opposition parties.

Speaking at an event at the Brookings Institution, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras explained that the actual price to be paid by Athens for the upgrade will not exceed 1.1 billion euro, and that the agreement is significant for the country’s defence.

To emphasise the importance of the agreement, Tsipras characteristically said that “our neighbours aren’t Luxembourg or Belgium,” hinting at the country’s difficult relations with Turkey.

The size of the defence deal sparked heavy criticism in Greece by the coalition government’s political opposition and raised eyebrows among the country’s international creditors.

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(Photo: Jerry Gunner)