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With tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey rising, Greece has announced plans to purchase a grab bag of new warplanes, frigates, helicopters and weapons systems for defense, Anthee Carassava wrote for GlobalSecurity.org.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the defense upgrade, saying it stemmed from the need to offset what he called Turkey's destabilizing moves in the region.

Along with its longstanding air and sea claims in the Aegean, Ankara is now torpedoing peace in the eastern Mediterranean, Mitsotakis said. Turkey is threatening southeast Europe and is undermining security at a crucial crossroads between East and West, he said. Greece and Turkey are locked in an increasingly tense and dangerous standoff in the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean over hydrocarbon drilling rights and delineation of their maritime boundaries.

In a speech at a trade fair, Mitsotakis said Greece would obtain 18 new warplanes from France to replace its aging fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters. The shopping list will also include four new navy helicopters and an equal number of frigates. Existing battleships will also be refurbished. Greece and the U.S. are already in talks for the procurement of at least 24 fifth-generation F-35 warplanes for $3 billion. The United States suspended Turkey from the F-35 Fighter program after it moved to acquire advanced Russian S-400 air defense missile systems last year.

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