Greek Defense Minister calls Turkey a constantly provoking enemy, deploys 7,000 troops to borders
Tsipras in contrast, calls for "calm and moderation," while talking heads want Kammenos out for being "irresponsible"
Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten: Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos has moved 7,000 troops to the border with Turkey. In contrast, Premier Alexis Tsipras calls for “calm and moderation.” Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos described Turkey on Wednesday as an “enemy constantly provoking us” and said he has ordered the deployment of more military personnel to the islands in the eastern Aegean.
He said 7,000 soldiers were deployed to the islands and the border area in northeastern Greece.
“If they have the courage, just let them challenge one inch of our territory. The Greeks – united – will destroy them,” said Kammenos during a reserve exercise on the island of Ikaria.
Greece and Turkey are battling for the air and sea borders in the Aegean Sea and oil and gas wells off the coast of Cyprus. In the past, Turkish President Recep Erdogan has not only been questioning the borders but has also threatened a military strike against Greece.
The arrest of two Greek soldiers who alledgedly were in Turkish territory during a border patrol has further tightened relations between the two countries. The soldiers remain imprisoned in a Turkish prison.
Kammenos literally: “What is needed is the vigilance of the entire Greek people towards a foe, an enemy that continues to provoke us … We are not afraid, nor will be brought to our knees by provocations, threats, and insults. Instead they make us stronger.”
Kammenos, the leader of the small-right party Independent Greeks, is a junior partner in the government of left-leaning PM Alexis Tsipras, who takes a conciliatory stance towards Turkey.
In a televised speech Tuesday Tsipras called for “calm and moderation” in dealings with Turkey.
The Greek media were more blunt than the Prime Minister. Babis Papadimitriou, a prominent Greek economist, called for Kammenos’ resignation in a Kathimerini newspaper column:
“There will be no war with Turkey. There is no objective reason for this (…) During Erdogan’s visit, Kammenos turned into a human bomb ready to explode in the Prime Minister’s hands. Given the resulting developments, it is a matter of national responsibility that Tsipras remove this irresponsible partner from his government.”