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Politics

Defense Minister Says Greece Gearing Up for Combat, Deterrence

ATHENS – Locked in a tense dance with Turkey over rights to the seas, Greece will continue to build an arsenal as a deterrent against any potential for conflict and be ready to fight if needed, Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said.

That was in his 2020 year-end report on the capabilities of Greece’s Armed Forces, with some units earlier that year dispatched to the northern land border along the Evros River to keep out 10,000 refugees and migrants Turkey tried to get across.

He said that 2020 – during which the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and is still ongoing – “was a year of heightened geopolitical volatility and multifaceted challenges and security threats in our region,” pledging steps to strengthen “the combat capability and deterrent power” of the military, said Kathimerini.

He said the forces’ objective in the new year would be to “promote security and stability in the wider Eastern Mediterranean and Balkan region,” after has repeatedly sent an energy research vessel and warships off  the island of Kastellorizo and planned to do the same off Crete too.

“Defending the country’s territorial integrity and sovereign rights are non-negotiable elements of our policy,” he said, with tension still high with Turkey after the European Union refused to issue sanctions for provocations against Greece.

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