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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Participation of the Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in the Webinar of the American Hellenic Institute on Defence Policy

Participation of the Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in the Webinar of the American Hellenic Institute on Defence Policy
Participation of the Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in the Webinar of the American Hellenic Institute on Defence Policy
 Participation of the Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in the Webinar of the American Hellenic Institute on Defence Policy
Participation of the Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in the Webinar of the American Hellenic Institute on Defence Policy
Participation of the Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in the Webinar of the American Hellenic Institute on Defence Policy
Participation of the Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in the Webinar of the American Hellenic Institute on Defence Policy

The Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos accepted the invitation of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and participated yesterday, Wednesday 18 November 2020, in the webinar titled “Briefing Regarding the Greek Defence Policy”, coordinated by the President of ΑΗΙ Mr Nick Larigakis.

During the webinar, which lasted an hour and fifteen minutes, the Minister of National Defence presented the basic strategic directions of the Government and the Prime Minister regarding the enhancement of the Armed Forces and analysed the situation shaped in the Eastern Mediterranean because of the Turkish stance of violations. Furthermore, he expressed the satisfaction of Athens for the positions expressed by the State Department and put forward the estimation that the EU must decisively respond with regards to the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey because of its destabilising stance.

Below you can read the main points of observations made by Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos during the ΑΗΙ webinar:

  • The American Hellenic Institute is an organisation which contributes to the strengthening of the bonds between the USA and Greece”.

  • In the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence we are working on an ambitious but organised and thoroughly calculated (especially pertaining to the financial aspect) plan for the revitalisation of our Armed Forces capabilities”.

  • This effort is made because we are living in a very complex and uncertain geopolitical environment in the Eastern Mediterranean. An environment made even more complex and perhaps more sensitive as time passes”.

  • We estimate that the security environment in the Eastern Mediterranean is characterised by three basic and interconnected driving forces: a) the recent hydrocarbons discovery in the sea zone between Israel, Cyprus and Egypt, b) the geopolitical antagonisms and the power imbalances, c) the increased interest for the region demonstrated by foreign powers and major actors in the international scene”.

  • Turkey’s overall stance constitutes an increasing and exacerbating problem, which makes it a factor of destabilisation in the region, not just for Greece and Cyprus but also in Nagorno - Karabakh with the participation of Syrian mercenaries, probably ISIS fighters”.

  • In the last two years, Turkey has adopted the doctrine of expansionist policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, initiating many unilateral actions, which is also apparent by the illegal agreement it signed with Libya”.

  • It intervenes in areas out of its jurisdiction, it sends illegal immigrants through the Aegean, violating the Greek - and European - borders, in order to force the EU to pay a monetary assistance for the refugee crisis”.

  • Regarding Greece, the recent provocations made by Ankara in our region, constitute a series of ten successive Navtexs for research since past July, which we consider illegal, within the Greek continental shelf. In combination with the intense mobility of the Turkish Navy, which constitutes a severe escalation with destabilising consequences for regional peace”.

  • Despite our neighbouring country’s effort to develop a stage of war in the region, the Hellenic Navy remains firm as a rock against any evil designs. Greece cannot be forced and it will support its rights and its boundaries, which are also the boundaries of the EU”.

  • We are conducting joint exercises with Israel, Cyprus and Egypt and bilateral meetings in order to safeguard stability and prosperity in the region”.

  • We are further expanding our allied relation with the USA, as demonstrated by our Strategic Dialogue and the bilateral Strategic Cooperation Agreement, which governs the American presence at the Souda Bay Naval Base, the military installations in Larissa and Volos, as well as the Alexandroupoli harbour.

  • Greece and the USA are connected by common values and principles for Freedom, Democracy, Human Rights and the respect to International Law. Greece is a proper ally and indisputable pillar of stability”.

  • Overall we are satisfied with the stance and support demonstrated by Mr Pompeo, proving that the USA are aware of the problem caused by Turkey’s stance and acknowledge Greece as a reliable partner”.

  • Relations with the State Department are good and we hope that things will become even better with the new elected government”.

  • NATO and any other allied force must intercept the Turkish provocative stance. NATO must process a de-escalation mechanism so that no more conflicts arise”.

  • We wish to have an open channel of communication with Turkey. I remain positive to communication and even so when the conditions allow it, because dialogue is necessary, but not under tensions and threats. As long as the “Oruc Reis” is conducting research, then no dialogue can be conducted”.

  • We are protecting our rights and we are making that clear to all directions”.

  • The show at Varosha in Cyprus was provocative and it violates the International Law. This is not solely a problem for Cyprus but also for the EU”.

  • As December draws near, Europe is evaluating Turkey’s stance and the general feeling is that it hasn’t done much to prove that it is trying to bring tensions down”.

  • It is time for Europe to respond resolutely, pertaining to the condemnation of this development and decide to impose sanctions on Turkey. Not solely due to its overall stance but also due to its recent provocative show-off and violation of International Law”.