Greek Defense Minister Nikos Dendias, who up until last spring was the foreign minister, on Friday pointed to “revisionism” as a direct threat to security and national societies, a thinly veiled reference to Turkish intransigence and provocations of previous years.
The comments, made on the sidelines of a military exercise in northeast Greece, come less than two weeks before a high-profile official visit to Athens by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Before his recent re-election and a thaw in frigid bilateral relations, the now entrenched Turkish leader’s government disputed maritime zones in the eastern Mediterranean, the sovereignty of various Greek isles in the Aegean, facilitated a failed breach of Greece’s land border along the Evros frontier by thousands of third country migrants, and repeatedly threatened to use military force.
“Revisionism is not only a threat to states’ security, it also threatens the very prosperity of citizens and societies, and for this reason we must be ready and strong to face it together through various actions, partnerships and cooperation aimed at promoting the banners, the countries and the societies that share the same principles and values for International Law and order in the world,” he said.
Dendias spoke after observing the regularly scheduled “Olympic Cooperation 23” military exercise, held at the Petrochori firing range in the prefecture of Xanthi. The port of Alexandroupolis was also utilized in the exercise.
With French ambassador to Greece, Laurence Auer, by his side, the Greek minister also expressed his particular satisfaction with the significant presence of French forces at the exercise, emphasizing that it marked the “biggest contingent of French land forces in Greece and the region after WWI.”
Army units from the United States, France, Bulgaria, Georgia and Cyprus participated, while military observers from Albania, Armenia, Egypt, India, Jordan, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were also present.
Dendias later travelled from northeast Greece to the remote islet of Othonoi, north of the Ionian Island of Corfu.
Taking to X (formerly Twitter), he posted photographs and referred to the geopolitical significance of the Diapontian island chain, where the Ionian Sea merges with the Adriatic Sea, while citing the signing of a Greece-Italy agreement in June 2020 for the extension of Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone off the country’s western seaboard.