Greece receives the first batch of French Rafale fighters

Six new Rafale fighters flew over the Acropolis in central Athens. These are the first planes purchased as part of a defense agreement with France, which has further increased tensions between Greece and Turkey, Reuters reported.

Greece ordered a total of 24 Dassault-made jets at a cost of more than 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) as it seeks to modernize its armed forces amid a long-term dispute with Turkey over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted that they are on their way, uploading a video of Greek Air Force pilots boarding Rafale jets.

Greek television broadcast live the approach of the first six planes as they headed toward Tanagra Air Base near Athens.

In October, the Greek parliament ratified a strategic military and defense pact with France under which the two would come to each other's aid in the event of an outside threat.

The pact also includes an order for three French frigates worth another 3 billion euros.

France says the agreement is not directed against any third country, but Greece, which guards the southeastern flank of the European Union, must be protected.

Relations between Greece and Turkey have long been strained over territorial issues in the eastern Mediterranean, including airspace, energy, the status of some Aegean islands and Cyprus.

Athens and Ankara resumed preliminary contacts last year.