Greek-Turkish: The “landing” of Floros – Panagiotopoulos in the USA and Ankara’s reactions

The new round of escalation that Ankara is starting, both with the rhetorical outburst of Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the provocative depiction of Turkish territory by the nationalist partner of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leader of the Gray Wolves, Devlet Bakhceli, coincides with the additional steps in the deepening of Greek-American cooperation in the defense sector taking place in the next twenty-four hours on the other side of the Atlantic.

By George Papakonstantinou

The Turkish “radar” is focused on the developments that are expected to launch the trips of the political and military leadership of the Ministry of National Defense to the USA to further strengthen the Greek arsenal with the DNA of the American defense industry.

The current situation, according to experienced analysts, despite the initial celebrations, makes the position of the Turkish leadership difficult. According to the same analysis, while Ankara is struggling to overcome the scope of the US Congress to ensure the upgrade of the F-16 fleet to the Viper version, the Greek side will strengthen the bases for the inclusion of the F-35 in our Air Force.

During the day, the leader of GETHA, General Konstantinos Floros, is going to the USA. The planning, but especially the bilateral preparation that has preceded it, bring to the focus of General Floros’ contacts, equipment programs from the “showcase” of the US defense industry, but also “intelligent purchases” from the stocks of the US army that “click” with the upgrade plan the deterrent power of our country’s Armed Forces. It is clear that the cycle of meetings that will be held by the GEETHA leader will not be one-dimensional and during them there will be an overview of bilateral relations and an extensive analysis of both the situation in Ukraine and the Eastern Mediterranean.

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General Flores’ curtain of contacts opens this Monday in Washington with the meeting with the head of the US Army, James Charles McConville. The two top officers are expected to discuss, among other things, the armaments, with the Greek side having openly expressed its intentions, in relation to the opportunities it has found to exist in the … “showcases” of the stock of the US Armed Forces .

A central axis in the Greek plan is upgrading the transport capacity of the Armed Forces with aerial means, such as the Black Hawk helicopters, which rank high on the list drawn up by the GEETHA. As reported by authoritative sources, Greek interest is also focused on the Amphibious Armored AAV-7, for which the relevant Parliament’s armaments committee has already given the green light.

Contacts with Lockheed Martin

Inevitably, however, the spotlight is on Dallas and on the meetings General Floros will have next Tuesday with Lockheed Martin executives as well as on his tour of the factory where the F-35 stealth fighters are manufactured.

General Floros will convey to the company executives the decision of Athens to proceed with the commitment of 20+20 5th generation aircraft. It is expected that the head of the Air Force will get a strong dose of information about the capabilities that make the F-35, the choice of air dominance.

At the same time, however, the discussions will also revolve around the other programs that are currently underway for the benefit of Greece’s air power, such as the upgrade of the F-16 Viper and the Block 50, the Navy’s P3s and the C-130s .

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On Wednesday the leader will return to Washington, where he will have meetings with high-ranking American officials at the Pentagon. Among the issues that will be put on the table will be the delinquent behavior of Turkey, the decisive role of Greece in strengthening the eastern wing of NATO, the further utilization of Alexandroupolis and the development of new infrastructures in Souda, Larissa and Volos.

The two sides are also expected to discuss Greece’s interest in acquiring MQ-9 Sea Guardian unmanned aerial vehicles for maritime border surveillance.

The rendezvous of the generals

On Thursday, General Konstantinos Floros will meet with his counterpart, head of the American armed forces, General Mark Miley, with whom they know each other quite well and have regular communication. The two leaders will extensively develop the facts of the military cooperation between Greece and the United States and will reaffirm their intention to strengthen the combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of the two countries through joint exercises and joint training.

According to information, the GEETHA leader will emphasize the contribution of Athens to the North Atlantic Alliance and to the support of Ukraine against the Russian invasion, while he will underline the role of Greece as a close ally of the USA and a pillar of stability in the wider region and even against the revisionist policy of Turkey.

The chief’s schedule will conclude on Friday in Florida with a visit to the Special Operations Command (USSO COM). The Greek general will be given a tour of the military facilities and will discuss with high-ranking officers the protocols and methods applied in the US, but also the opportunities for co-training with the Greek Armed Forces.

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