Greek FM: NATO has not responded to ‘significant threat’ of Turkey

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas, February 16, 2012

From the Athens News:  Greece’s participation in Nato has not managed to respond to the significant threat represented by Turkey, the foreign minister, Stavros Dimas, told a special event held to mark the 60th anniversary of the country’s membership of the military bloc.

"Since the mid-1970s, Greece has been facing a standing threat by one of its [Nato] allies, Turkey. Nato’s silence since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus has been deafening. The systematic dispute of Greece’s sovereign rights by Turkey is, and is being treated by the Greek people as, a real and direct threat. In that light, Greece’s participation has not managed to respond to this significant threat," the foreign minister said.

Also addressing the event, organised by Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (Eliamep), was Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is visiting Athens for the anniversary. . . .

Earlier, President Karolos Papoulias told Rasmussen of his annoyance over continuing Turkish violations of Greek national airspace, explaining that Greece continues to have problems with Turkey.

He warned that Ankara’s stance does not help in consolidating the neighbourly climate that Greece seeks.

"I was disturbed by the fact that yesterday, when I went to the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Turkish warplanes were making overflights over a Greek island," Papoulias said.

The president also told Rasmussen that Greece wants to see Turkey join the EU and is contributing to achieving that target. . . .

In his meeting with the Nato chief, Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos underlined that the country’s financial woes have not affected the country’s defence system.  (photo: Reuters)

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