ATHENS – Without mentioning Turkish provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean and growing tensions with a NATO partner, Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis said relations with allies are “at an excellent level.”
He didn’t talk like than when he was head of the Greek Armed Forces as the country’s top naval officer and in December, 2018 said if Turkish forces land on Greek islet they will be squashed.
“If they land on an islet, we will flatten it. And this is a red line that is adopted by the government as well,” he told journalists during a briefing in Athens.
He said that if Greece ever had to defend itself, it would fight alone. “Our effort focuses on not having to reach that point. With the US and the European Union we want to ensure that the Turks will not go that far,” he added.
NATO said it wants no part of the tension between the countries and has said nothing as Turkey keeps sending fighter jets to violate Greek air space, with the number of sorties picking up, and also having warships go past Greek islands
During a visit to a Greek air base in Larissa in central Greece, where the United States wants to position more weapons, he said that,“We are trying to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to us in order to increase our operational capabilities, in cooperation with the armed forces of other countries.”
Asked whether the Larissa facility may be used by the US Air Force as a base for it Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft, Apostolakis said that “various propositions are being examined,” but did not provide details, said Kathimerini.
His comments came after reports that Greece was looking at American interests in expanding its military presence in the country with Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras backing away from his former anti-American, anti-NATO stance.