The Greek Minister of National Defense, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, gave an interview to the newspaper Proto Thema, in which he made it clear that there is no question of demilitarization of islands and announced that the amendment of the Greek-American defense cooperation agreement MDCA is in progress. He also stated that in the first half of 2021 the final evaluation on the issue of frigate acquisition will be made.
Regarding the Greek-American agreement, the minister said that “the issue was raised at the table for the extension of the validity of MDCA, which means that they will be able to make greater investments in infrastructure. Such a development offers benefits to us as well.
What we ask of the Americans is e.g. access to larger funds for military assistance to third countries or the release of weapons systems from the surplus of the US Armed Forces.
In addition, our goal is to further intensify inclusive training and exercises with different parts of the US Armed Forces (Special Forces, helicopters, etc.). “
Asked about Germany’s attitude towards Turkey he said: “Germany has her own way, perhaps more discreet, and of course like other countries has its own economic interests in the neighboring country, which in any case must be taken into account.
Interests of German defense companies in Turkey, which no German government can simply cancel overnight. On the other hand, we also seek to deepen relations with the Germans in the field of defense.”
Nikos Panagiotopoulos pointed out that in a recent communication, the German Minister of Defense asked “in advance to know our positions in order to talk to my Turkish counterpart, knowing in advance what our positions are, something that did not happen in past. So they listen to us and take into account what we have to say. “
Speaking about the exploratory contacts with Turkey, the Defense Minister said: “We are coming to discuss specific issues on the agenda and these preliminary discussions are being held on these specific issues to be discussed only and not on any possible claim that Turkey may make, for example, demilitarization of the islands “.
“For us, demilitarization cannot take place as long as there is a threat from the East. It is intertwined with maintaining that threat.
As long as there is a threat – and we believe it exists and manifested this summer – there is no question of demilitarization.
Our supreme sovereign right is to protect our national integrity and on this basis, we choose to have forces of legal and preventive defense on the islands.”
Commenting on the illegal researches of the Turkish seismographic ship Oruc Reis in Greek territorial waters in recent months, he stated that there was a “total mobilization of the Armed Forces”. “We had a strange certainty that this mobilization would succeed in sending the message of deterrence to the other side. That is, the opponents would not reach a point of military engagement because they knew they would face heavy costs.
This is the confirmation of deterrence in practice and I can say that it was achieved with the total mobilization of the Armed Forces. There were moments of tension but also escalation. However, the Armed Forces have always been present. “
Regarding the acquisition of frigates, the Defense Minister of Greece confirmed, as we told you in Nemesis HD, that “the acquisition of French ship was never ruled out and in fact, there was no shift to an American solution” and that the Navy is evaluating each of the proposals one by one submitted by various countries and “the final evaluation will take place in the first half of 2021”.
He pointed out that “we consider necessary the participation of Greek industry, as well as the provision of an” intermediate solution “until the new units of the Navy are built, something that will develop in a total of 7-8 years”.
At the end of the interview, he referred to the issue of F-35 aircraft, estimating that the discussion on F-35 “will follow the completion of these two programs (including the acquisition of RAFALE and the upgrade of F-16). We have expressed our interest in “Americans to join the F-35 program, but of course, that will also be a function of our financial capabilities which are not inexhaustible.”