Greek Minister of National Defense, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, spoke in an interview with Nea Savvatokyriako about tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean with Turkey, as well as the new armament program of the Armed Forces.
"We guarded the borders of Greece", said the minister, "which is also the borders of Europe and we showed that we can stand up to circumstances."
"The officers, non-commissioned officers and other personnel of the Armed Forces, the police and the port authorities, have proved that the mechanism was and remains ready to deal with any emergency situation. We confirmed this with our immediate reaction when the recent deteriorating situation with the movement of the [Turkish] research vessel. We will confirm it again, whenever the conditions demand it," said Panagiotopoulos.
Referring to the Greek-Turkish relations, the Minister of National Defense stressed:
"I have repeatedly stated that open channels of communication with our neighboring country is needed. We can coexist peacefully. We have proved that we are good neighbors and we seek mutual understanding and mutual respect."
"Our country," he continued, "will continue to develop initiatives in the wider region to promote security, stability and cooperation. Greece is a force for stability and respect for international law. But if our sovereign rights are challenged or threatened, we are determined to defend them with all our might."
Speaking about the new armament program of the Armed Forces, Panagiotopoulos pointed out: "A few days ago in Thessaloniki, the Prime Minister announced a series of specific measures to strengthen the Armed Forces and consequently the deterrent power of the country."
"The triptych", added the Minister of National Defense, "has to do with specific moves in armaments, strengthening the staff through hiring professionals in specific specialties and upgrading the defense industry by attracting investments and strategic corporate schemes".