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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

INTERVIEW OF THE ALTERNATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE ON THE 1st PROGRAMME OF “ERT” RADIO STATION AND TO THE JOURNALISTS, THANOS SIAFAKAS AND GIORGOS NEROUTSOS

The Alternate Minister of National Defence, Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on Wednesday, 27 March 2019, on the 1st Programme of ERT radio station and to the journalists, Thanos Siafakas and Giorgos Neroutsos, stated amongst others the following:

Regarding the Greek – Turkish problems:

Turkey, for a long time now, is acting in a way – in practice and through its rhetoric - that sometimes goes beyond an attitude that an allied country, being also our neighbouring country, should have. We will not stop acting in the way that we do, no matter how much the opposition party accuses us of “submissiveness”. We will address these practices with determination and a cool approach. We are sending a message of peace and friendship and at the same time, of utmost defence of the International Law and our sovereign rights. That is the answer and that is what we have been doing so far and for that reason – I am not sure whether Turkey understands it – we are a pillar of stability in the wider region; fact that is acknowledged by everyone.

Any rights held by Turkey in the region are acknowledged based on International Law and the Law of the Sea. If Turkey implies anything else, it is clearly not acceptable. Whatever goes beyond the foregoing and whatever may the neighbouring country claim in an outrageous way is addressed in an absolute, calm and decisive way. We are fully and effectively safeguarding our sovereign rights.

Regarding the candidacy of Petros Kokkalis and New Democracy’s accusations on machination:

He has the right, as a Greek citizen, to have an opinion and participate in public affairs. No-one should be excluded. It is not possible to say that some people have the right to participate in politics and some others do not. Besides, he is a person who has his own course the years before. He has already been elected as a Councillor in Piraeus, with silent but at the same time significant contribution to the refugee issue, his social welfare activities and years of contribution to environmental matters and the case of Climate Change. The foregoing is in line with SYRIZA’s political approach. Petros Kokkalis, regardless of his name, is and will be judged on his attitude and on the principles that he is going to defend. It is an excellent choice and an excellent development in the front currently emerging. All those maintaining political offices with rents paid by shipowners; all those having relatives whose companies are financed by joint offshore funds with newspapers; all those being directly and inseparably associated with the country’s tycoons and believing that the society is their property, have no right to speak about machination.