Greece wants good neighbourhood relations with all regional countries, but Turkey must lower its rhetoric, outgoing National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said on Monday in a press conference reviewing the ministry’s work from 2015 to 2018.
Kammenos, leader of the junior ruling coalition party Independent Greeks (ANEL), resigned his post on Sunday over the name issue Prespes Agreement signed between Greece and FYROM.
“Greece wants good neighbourly relations with all countries of the region, but is determined to fully defend its territorial integrity and its sovereign rights,” Kammenos reiterated. But Turkey must lower its rhetoric, in order to allow the development of underwater resources without threat, under the guarantee of international law, he added.
The presence of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2), which helped with the refugee problem in the Aegean Sea, “made the allies see themselves that Turkey is violating (Greek) territorial waters and national airspace, while Greece defends its sovereign rights,” he said.
Commenting on his decision to fly to the Imia islet, where three Hellenic Navy officers died, to throw wreaths at sea in their honour, Kammenos said this last act as minister was a long-standing promise to himself, as no minister had done so.
Among other things, the outgoing minister called on the EU and NATO to supply more armaments to Greece, as “the last defence front against fundamentalism,” praised the stance of the United States during the economic crisis “as a true ally, not a creditor,” and said his successor, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, the current chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, is the most secure choice for the Greek people, especially as he has no political affiliations.