Armed Forces Activities

15/02/2018 13:30:44

Defence Minister Panos Kammenos' statement at the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence in Brussels

    Early this morning, I had the chance to meet with the US Secretary of Defence General Mattis with whom we had a long conversation, as well as with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Both were informed on Turkey’s latest provocative conduct in the Aegean Sea and the area around Imia islets, the Greek islands and within the Greek territorial waters.

    I had the opportunity to provide them with evidence which rejects every Turkish claim about it being an alleged accident or Greece expressing grievances.

    Turkey is provocative, it violates the Greek and European territorial waters, it proceeds to activities that violate every provision of the Maritime Law and it is very close to causing an “accident” in the Aegean Sea. They are fully responsible for that. No state within the same alliance, in this case NATO, can question another state’s sovereignty.

    Imia are Greek islets, this is clearly stated in every treaty Turkey itself has signed. Therefore, on one hand,  it cannot go on with this game of blustering, including statements by Recep Tayip Erdogan’s alleged associates or with this provocative conduct in the Aegean Sea, blamed on some ship commanders, and, on the other hand, to provide diplomatic answers by downgrading the importance of the incident and calling it an accident.

    All sides should assume their responsibilities. Greece is a peaceful country, but it will never accept any provocations  of violation against its national sovereignty, even if it is a verbal dispute expressed by official or unofficial advisors on part of Turkey.

    The Alliance, the United States of America and every European Union member-state have been informed and are aware of the evidence. At the meeting in Munich we will continue to inform the European Union member-states, as well as the countries of the wider South-east Mediterranean area about this conduct.

    Turkey should finally realize that it cannot play games with Greece by using such naval maneuvers, on one hand, and diplomatic retreats, on the other hand.  

    We will no longer tolerate this conduct.”


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