Panagiotopoulos: The military power between Greece and Turkey is changing in our favour

Nikos Panagiotopoulos

The Minister of National Defence, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, emphasised in his speech on the 2023 state budget that any hostile action has a greater cost than benefit when speaking indirectly about Turkey.

From the floor of the Parliament, he noted that for the first time in a long time, the correlations of military power between Greece and Turkey are beginning to change in favour of the Greek side.

"In the aviation part, I can claim that this is a given," said Panagiotopoulos.

He even underlined that the strengthening of the country's deterrent power protects it from any scheming. "This condition," Panagiotopoulos added, "is also a condition for uninterrupted economic development."

The minister even pointed out that deterrence is not defence.

"(Deterrence) presupposes defence. If the deterrence fails, then the defence kicks in. Deterrence is discouraging any hostile action, by creating in every adviser, in every potential adversary, the strong belief that any hostile action involves more costs than benefits," he said.

Panagiotopoulos also spoke about the intensifying geopolitical importance and criticality of our region, "with the now common and clear pursuit of our NATO allies, for stability, thus reducing tensions between allies."

"Another problem is obvious: the 'elephant in the room'," he continued.

"That is, the revisionist policy of Turkey and the hostile, openly provocative attitude of its neighbour towards our country, especially at the level of rhetoric, which, now can be characterised by some, pre-election, but, for me, it shows that it has elements of a stable revisionist policy pursuits in our region as well."

As he pointed out, the government, realising the geopolitical developments and the criticality, but also the already manifested instability in our region, increased the budget of the Ministry of Defence, from 3.35 billion euros in 2020, to 5.44 billion for 2021, to 6.39 billion in 2022 (mainly due to the front-loading to the payment of the contracts of the three Belhara frigates and also of the 24 Rafale aircraft), while shaping up to 5.65 billion in total for defense in 2023.

Specifically about the 24 Rafales, he said that in a few days two more will come, by the end of the year - beginning of next year, to add to the existing 9, reaching 11.

"So the Rafales are coming, and they are being installed at the base of Tanagra, which has again become a space joy in just two years, where once it was a place of depression from the stuck Mirage 2000-5 due to the lack of support [...].

"As the Minister of National Defence added, the effort does not stop here: It is also the upgrade of the 83 F-16 to the Viper version. The first ones have already been delivered, and the pace will intensify next year, with the delivery of several (aircraft) every month."

"It is also the delivery of the first three anti-submarine helicopters of the Romeo type at the end of 2023, which will upgrade the anti-submarine capability of the Navy," said Panagiotopoulos who praised the strength, quality, professionalism and high level of training of the Armed Forces.

Finally, he called on the body to vote in favour of the budget "for an even stronger Armed Forces, for a Greece that has grown stronger, is growing stronger, and will grow even stronger".

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