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08 January, 1997
National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday accused Turkey of following a policy of "controlled crises" in the Aegean, which aim at creating faits accomplis.
In an interview with the Athens daily "Ta Nea", Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also revealed that the Turkish armed forces since 1995 "have established as a national interest the change of borders in the Aegean, and have been preparing militarily in this direction" .
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed that if Greek sovereignty was disputed, "there will be an immediate response, which will be far more effective than Ankara can imagine." In the present phase, he added, Greece has the right and obligation "to condemn Turkey's behavior as a destabilizing force in the region..."
He also called on Greece's allies in the European Union and NATO to intensify their efforts in the direction of Turkey, "if they want stability to be safeguarded in the region".
On the issue of armaments, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed his preference for qualitative supremacy as opposed to quantitative competition with Turkey.
When asked if Greece considered purchasing Russian-made weaponry, he said nothing could be ruled out with respect to any market in terms of defense procurements.
He also confirmed that the first major procurements in Greece's recently upgraded defense program would take place in 1997.
Asked to comment on the interview, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the government shared the defence minister's views.
"Turkey's moves are aggressive, challenge our sovereign rights or undermine our national interests," the spokesman said.
Source: Athens News Agency