No island that is under threat will be demilitarized, stated Greece’s National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos on Saturday, in reply to a statement by his Turkish counterpart.
Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Wednesday stated that Greece has illegally militarized 16 islands in the Aegean.
Rejecting the statement by Akar, Panagiotopoulos said that “Greece does not provoke, does not violate the sovereign rights of others, but it doesn’t like to see its own rights violated.”
Panagiotopoulos added that, “We will respond, if it is needed, if we believe the line has been crossed. That means we are examining all scenarios, even that of military engagement.”
The defense minister further explained that it is the prime minister the one to decide whether Greece will respond or if there will be military engagement. If the prime minister can not respond, then it is up to the political leadership of the Ministry of Defense to decide. “All this is open but I wish that time would never come”
Panagiotopoulos noted that “Turkey has never shown such provocative behavior in the recent past”, noting that all of these challenges “are methodical and based on a system”.
Referring to Turkey’s possible appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the defense minister pointed to the neighboring country’s contradictions. He said that while it does not recognize the Law of the Sea, it would appeal to the court and seek a hearing on the delimitation of maritime zones.
Responding to a question on the Libyan issue, the defense minister ruled out Greece’s military involvement in the country, stating that “Greece does not want to be involved in the Libyan controversy on the military part, but it has politically supported Haftar, and this comes as a result of his visit to Athens,” he said.
Source: Athens – Macedonian News Agency