Greece and Cyprus will not accept any violation of their sovereign rights, Greek Minister of Defence tells CNA

Greek Minister of National Defence Evangelos Apostolakis said that Greece and Cyprus are playing a fundamental role in safeguarding stability and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean, but they will not accept any violation of their sovereign rights.

In an interview with CNA, Defence Minister Apostolakis underlined that Greece’s stance towards Turkish illegal actions in the Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Eastern Mediterranean, is firm and cool-headed, while emphasizing on the protection of the sovereign rights arising from the International Law.

At the same time, Greece wishes to keep open the communication channel with Turkey, in order to avoid undue tension. The bilateral meetings focused on the further specification of the confidence building measures between Greece and Turkey fall within this context, Apostolakis explained.

Asked about the possibility of Turkey attempting a drilling in the Greek continental shelf, Apostolakis expressed the view that the recent decisions of the European Council, and more widely USA’s and the international community’s stance, will deter Turkey form attempting to reach the Greek continental shelf.

In any case, Greece will not tolerate any contestation of its continental shelf by Turkey, and if needed, the Greek Armed Forces are highly capable to defend our national rights and interests, Greek Minister of National Defence told CNA.

He also stressed that Greece promotes the peaceful resolution of differences based on the United Nations Charter and the International Law, while implementing a concrete, coherent and long-term strategy for the protection of its national interests and for safeguarding security in the region.

Asked whether Greece will have military support from other countries in the case which Turkey provokes a hot incident in the Aegean, Minister Apostolakis said that such an incident in the Aegean would be an undesirable scenario. However, in such a case, Greece will have to handle the situation, in the first place, alone. And I assure you that the operational capacity of the Greek Armed Forces proves that they can defend our national interests on their own, he said.

Nevertheless, he underlined that Greece’s goal is to avoid such an incident. We have signaled openly to all our allies that they must find ways to stop Turkish provocations, otherwise an extremely difficult situation will be created, and if the red lines are crossed, there will be no other choices, Greek Minister of Defence stressed.

If our allies wish to contribute to avoid such a scenario, they must do so promptly. We are looking forward to this support, while we are relying on the deterrence power of Greece, which arises from its strong international alliances, Apostolakis said.

As regards the tension in US-Turkish relations concerning Turkey’s intention to buy the Russian S-400 missile system, Greek Minister of National Defence said that the USA is firmly insisting that the S-400 missile system and the F-35 fighter jets �which are the best fighter aircrafts worldwide� must not be in the hands of one country.

If the USA maintains this stance, I believe that Turkey will not acquire the F-35 aircrafts, Apostolakis said, while estimating that Turkey on its part is trying to reduce tension in the US-Turkish relations.

As for the consequences of this tension for NATO, Greek Minister of National Defence expressed the view that NATO’s resilience is based on the alliance’s capacity to adopt to constant geopolitical change and on the high level of institutional standardization of its processes.

Source: Cyprus News Agency