Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos discussed Greece’s relations with Turkey in an extensive interview with Cypriot news channel RIK on Thursday in which he criticized Ankara’s “revisionist” policies in the wider region.
“We are cautious but are acting in good faith. This is why we are taking part in these exploratory talks,” he said of the ongoing exploratory talks between the two countries.
Panagiotopoulos also discussed the tensions between the two countries in the summer of 2020 and reiterated the Greek position of solving tensions through diplomatic and political means, stating that “there must be understanding and abidance especially towards international law, which governs the relations between states.”
“The allies are listening and understanding, as they now comprehend the extent of Turkey’s revisionist illegal behavior,” he said when describing the international attitude to the region, adding that Greece’s policy is “paying off.”
“It is the sovereign right of every country to organize the defense of its territories, to take steps to defend its territory when it feels threatened and that threat is deemed to be credible,” he replied when questioned on the issue of the demilitarization of the eastern Aegean islands.
Panagiotopoulos also discussed Greek relations with other states of the Eastern Mediterranean, saying that support to Cyprus is a longstanding and declared Greek policy. He also mentioned an agreement between Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt to increase defense cooperation in the region and improve their military interoperability.
The minister furthermore discussed Greek rearmament, particularly the purchase of 18 French Rafale fighter jets as well as the upgrade of 84 F-16 fighter jets. He also referred to the upcoming purchase of new frigates by the Hellenic Navy.