Armed Forces Activities

25/02/2018 11:52:16

Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas' interview on SKAI TV to journalist Giorgos Aftias

    The Alternate Minister of National Defence  Dimitris Vitsas stated, among other things, the following on an interview on ‘’SKAI’’ TV to the journalist Giorgos Aftias, on Sunday, 25 February 2018:

    On the Turkish provocativeness:

    There is an increase, recently, of the Turkish provocativeness in Cyprus, mainly, and the Aegean.  This shows that Turkey is an internationally petulant as well as revisionist power, not accepting or demanding to change the international treaties.  Today’s Turkey originates indeed from the Ottoman empire, but it seems to forget that it ceased to exist at the beginning of the twentieth century.  

    Everything can be explained.  We monitor the whole situation showing temperance.  We declare that we would like a peaceful and Europe oriented  Turkey, not meaning in any case, and putting in a way a barrier, that, as far as our sovereignty rights are concerned, we not only defend them at an international and local level, but we also do not raise a fly on our sword.

    This means that there are limits, and both Greece and Europe do not stand their violation by anyone. The respond, not only ours, but also the one coming from the Summit Meeting and the European Council, was evident.  There has not been a respective warning over the last thirty years.  This practically means:  make up your mind on what you are going to do and be very careful on what this is going to be.

    These very provocative statements, as well as their actions, which may cause issues, are likely to lead to accidents. These accidents may cause engagements and then it is difficult to turn back. Greece is a country, I repeat it, very powerful from the military point, whereas, it internationally stands up.

    What we do, at this moment, first and foremost, is to follow the diplomatic way and this is what we have to do; on the other hand though, we declare to everyone that we are ready to defend our sovereignty rights.  Let me remind you, apart from the Prime Minister’s statements, the ones of the President of the Republic in Ioannina.       

    We take all the necessary measures examining all the scenarios, even the worst.   On this basis, we armour Europe and our country.  

    Replying to a question about the meeting of the Governmental Council on Foreign Policy and National Defence the day before

    The Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs presented us a briefing on their international meetings and at the same time we decided to proceed to the development of four projects, concerning the upgrading of our equipment, which have passed through  the Parliament.  It is not a matter of big purchases; it is like, for example, the upgrading of our torpedoes, and other similar projects.

    Our naval and aerial fleets are very powerful.  This is well known to our neighbours and to our NATO allies.  Any swaggerer in the Aegean has to think twice or even three times.  There is no need, though, for a warlike situation. The expression with the ‘’kittens’’ is a very familiar popular expression, but it is known that the kittens show their fangs sometimes.

    The common management of the Aegean is an issue set by Turkey, but this issue has already been solved. This is not only an achievement made by the SIRIZA government, but there is also a nationally agreed preexisting policy. We are not afraid of anything. We monitor everything, we do not just watch, we are not observers or spectators. We do our duty. The Minister of National Defence briefed his counterparts and he is going to do it again, the Minister of Foreign Affairs likewise and the Prime Minister did the same. These actions have to do with diplomacy. As far as defence is concerned we have all the plans and all the forces at the same time, whereas, if there is the least gap we are able to cover it. This is exactly the situation enabling the Greek people to create and even quarrel on internal matters undisturbed.

    What the Prime Minister stated is that in times like these, when we try hard to find our way out of the memoranda, to move to another direction, we should not, in any case, decrease our attention, but, on the contrary, we should stress our attention on matters of sovereignty, national dignity and national freedom.

    On the negotiations with FYROM

    The Government has an explicit, crystal clear position and on this basis we proceed to negotiations to find a solution to this problem as far as possible.  Skopje is the part that has to expedite the solution to this problem, this is not our concern. The solution is based on specific data. The solution is limited to the following: complex name to all and removal of all the data that constitute irredentism. This is our national position based on the Bucharest discussions and on this basis we go on.  In our country we would like to ask from all the parties which then were in favour of this position, to state if they agree or not with this position and move to this direction.

    The problem nowadays is that the opposition party renders petty politics matters of internal contradiction to national policy issues. The opposition party states, on the one hand, that it is not updated on the negotiations and, on the other hand, that ‘’you do it like this’’. How do they know? If the one occurs then the other can not occur.  

    On our behalf, we say that to the extent this issue is going to make progress, it will be a package solution. As Alexis Tsipras stated two days before, we would like to achieve a solution to this problem; the country facing a great problem though is Skopje, FYROM, since the access to the EU and NATO is a factor ensuring the existence and the stability of this country. We have prepared a comprehensive proposal that will be the subject of the final negotiations.  All this, of course, is of an international treaty nature that the Greek Parliament has to pass in order for it to become an international treaty.     

    On the time elections are going to take place

    The elections will take place in 2019.  The memoranda period will have ended.  Beginning from August 2018 to summer 2019 we will make an effort, with the huge responsibility burden falling on the governmental management and the political life of the country.  We have twice already turned to the markets successfully. We would like to have liquidity availability and whenever required to turn to the markets, since we are not going to return to the over-loaning period.  This is the one thing.  The other thing is that we have to clear up the image of the country from scandals, as well as from serious corruption cases, such as the Novartis case.  


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