Greece gears up its armed forces amid uncertainty over post-Erdogan Turkey

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Greece must prepare its armed forces for possible “instability” after the end of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest term, the defense minister said on Sunday.

“What will happen to Turkey when Erdogan is gone? We don’t know. Turkey is not a static country,” Nikos Dendias told Kathimerini daily in an interview.

“There is always instability during the succession of a powerful, long-running leader... That means that we must be ready for any eventuality before 2030,” he said.

“In general, our region does not allow for complacency. We have many sources of instability around us that require us to have modern armed forces,” Dendias said.

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After years of tension over immigration, energy rights and maritime borders in the Aegean Sea, Greece and Turkey restarted high-level talks last month, when Erdogan paid his first to Athens since 2017.

Greece has the highest defence budget as a share of GDP of all the NATO allies. It has placed multi-billion-euro orders of US-made F-35 fighter jets and French Rafale jets and Belharra frigates.

But Dendias said there was “decades-long dysfunction” in Greece’s aerospace industry and the airforce lacked transport planes.

Athens would henceforth commit part of its defence budget “exclusively” to Greek-made weapons for the armed forces, he said.

The minister also bemoaned the fact there were military “units at 25- to 30-percent capacity scattered all over the country.”

“The effectiveness of our armed forces can no longer be something we confirm at parades,” he said.

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