ATHENS – While denouncing Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine as being without reason, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it vindicated his New Democracy government’s strategy of bolstering the defense arsenal.
That was a thinly-veiled shot at Turkey’s repeated provocations and violations of Greek air space and waters with fighter jets and warships, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan coveting Greek islands near Turkey’s coast.
Mitsotakis, speaking to his Cabinet, referred to Russia’s attempt to rewrite history to Erdogan doing the same in rejecting the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that set borders with Greece.
“Let’s not forget that revisionism continues to hurt Cyprus, while it also lurks in our neighborhood,” he said, without directly naming Turkey and its challenge to Greek sovereignty, said Kathimerini.
“Freedom and democracy cannot become hostages of authoritarianism and the clock of the 21st Century should not point backward, but forward,” he said, adding that this is a message “which I believe is shared by all Greek women and all Greek men.”
Greece is acquiring French-made Rafale fighter jets and warships, and American ships and planning to upgrade its F-16 fighter jet force and signed a mutual defense pact with France while reaching out for other allies against Turkey.
Erdogan denounced what he said was an arm’s race but Turkey moved to get German-made submarine components to take away Greek German-made submarine stealth advantage.
As to whether Greece should stay out of what’s been called Putin’s War – referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin – Mitsotakis said it was necessary to speak out against the invasion or legitimatize a crime against humanity.
“The easy ‘No to War’ is a wish, but it is not political,” he said, again defending his decision to have Greece align itself with Ukraine despite close ties with Russia.
“The key message is that Greece stands on the right side of history,” Mitsotakis said, repeating what he told Parliament earlier, Greece supports “its Diaspora population and by a country under attack,” with 10 ethnic Greeks killed in the invasion.