Greece reached the brink of war with Turkey three times in 2020 due to the crisis with Oruç Reis, Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said in an interview with Proto Thema.
“There were three general mobilizations of the armed forces against Turkey," Panagiotopoulos said, adding “Christ!”
"The navy was at the center of this mobilization because it developed in the eastern Mediterranean and came close to the Turkish Navy in many cases that we know of. But the entire armed forces were ready for any eventuality, from armed aircraft at bases to army units at the border," the minister said.
"Nevertheless, we had a strange certainty that this mobilization would succeed in sending the other side the message of deterrence. That is, the opponents would not reach a point of military engagement because they knew they would face heavy costs. This is the confirmation of deterrence in practice and I can say that it was achieved with the universal mobilization of the armed forces. There were moments of tension but also of escalation," he added.
The minister noted that “as long as there is a threat from the east,” meaning Turkey, “there is no question of demilitarization of the islands.”
"For us, demilitarization cannot exist as long as there is a threat from the east. It is intertwined with maintaining the threat. As long as there is a threat – and we estimate that it existed and manifested this summer – there is no question of demilitarization," Panagiotopoulos said.
"Our supreme sovereign right is to protect our national integrity and on this basis, we choose to have forces of legal and preventive defense on the islands," he added.