Armed Forces Activities

20/12/2017 15:50:54

Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas' interview on ERT Radio to journalists Thanos Siafakas and Giorgos Neroutsos

     The Alternate Minister of National Defence Dimitris Vitsas, in an interview that he gave on Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, on ERT Radio to journalists Thanos Siafakas and Giorgos Neroutsos stated among other things:

    Regarding Turkey’s actions after T. Erdogan’s visit:

    The Ministry of National Defence and the government did not expect that things would suddenly calm down. There may be this tension you refer to from the side of Turkey, but we are stable. We are devoted to the duty of the Armed Forces. We are decisive and, of course, we are always prepared for any potential threat.

    Our position, which is also the national position, is that there are no “grey zones” in the Aegean Sea. Everything is determined in accordance with the International Law and the sovereignty rights of our country – which are broadened, in the sense that they no longer regard only the sovereignty of Greece, but of the entire European Union as well – must be fully respected.

    This is also the permanent and stable reference in our public statements and international forums. It is very positive that our positions have not just been made clear, but well understood as well. They are also supported by all the great forces and big organizations.

    As far as Turkey is concerned, we want it to follow a European course. The point is whether Turkey itself, as well as its political leadership, wants it too. This is to the benefit of Turkey itself and of our relations with this country and its relations with the world.

    We do not just say that the Hellenic Armed Forces are powerful, but they are powerful and it would be a mistake for everyone to challenge their capability as well as the decisiveness of the Greek people.

    What does Mr. Kotzias announcement on the extension of the territorial waters mean:

    It is a matter of foreign policy. It is an open issue, how we will apply the International Law without causing any further friction, but only in order to exercise our sovereignty rights. The manner in which we will exercise them is another issue related to government’s decisions. This is the case for both, the issue of territorial waters as well as for the issue of EEZ.  

    We hope and we are working, within a specific deadline, to declare the EEZ of Greece. It is a matter related to the delimitation and the operation of energy routes and the utilization of underwater resources.

    The interesting matter is related to geostrategic issues, on one hand, and financial interests which are raised by geopolitical issues, on the other hand. That means that it is not only states that are involved. There are also big financial interests. Of course, regarding our country, this issue really matters for our effort to reconstruct a new productive model.

    Regarding the relations with FYROM and the name issue:

    From a military, social etc. point of view, this state does not constitute a danger for Greece. The main problem is irredentism which is expressed by a part of FYROM leadership and which is also expressed in the name issue, in the Constitution and in various other manners.
    We are saying that, if these issues are not solved, even without our strong position in the European Union and NATO, FYROM cannot progress in other issues too, despite the orientation that FYROM people may have adopted.

    Regarding the use of the name Macedonia:

    Let’s remember what the competent Minister of Foreign Affairs said. Of course, there is some discussion and there will be some sort of compromise, but this will be conducted with a limit which is not easy to surpass.

    There is also a final decision of the council of political leaders and the procedure has been institutionalized in some manner. From there on, there are still many things to be done.

    If, for example, the name changes and a name is adopted for every use, but the issues related to irredentism persist, then the problem is not solved.

    If, on the contrary, these issues are solved, but the name issue is not, will the problem be solved? The answer is still no.

    So, a manner must be found out which will help Skopje too in their difficulties to join the European family.



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