Defence minister: Greece closely monitoring Turkish activity and preparing for all contingencies

Greece is closely monitoring Turkey’s illegal actions and highlighting the issue at all international fora – including NATO, the European Union and the United States – where it is understood that Turkey is a conduit that promotes regional tension, Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said on Thursday and added that Greece is preparing itself to reply to all contingencies.

The minister was responding to questions about a Turkish announcement referring to the prospect of drilling for hydrocarbons south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, noting that “there will be admonishment at a higher level than Greece, that will avert such a possibility.”

“We are troubled, but not afraid,” he reiterated.

On confidence-building measures, Panagiotopoulos stressed that these are not a mechanism that will 100-percent restore peace and harmony in relations with Turkey but “an open communication channel that should stay open in case the tension escalates.” At the same time, he added, “depending on Turkey’s behaviour, we will see, from now on, how active this channel of communications will be.”

Panagiotopoulos made the statements at a press conference on the Greek Armed Forces’ social welfare action in the community in the first half of 2019, a year declared as ‘Year of Social Contribution’. He noted, however, that these actions placed a burden on the resources of the military and that the primary mission of the armed forces was to maintain and increase its deterrent capability to the maximum possible level.