Greece vows to protect borders as military exercise starts

“Greece will strongly support its borders and those of Europe,” Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said during a visit to the Salamina naval base, repeating that “there are no gray zones” in the Aegean. Defending “international legitimacy... is not simply our right, it is also our duty to the international community,” said Pavlopoulos according to Greek paper Kathimerini amid tense relations between Athena and Ankara. 

Greek president has been calling on Turkey to respect international laws and treaties for months.

Pavlopoulos, according to the same paper, said he observed the “readiness of the country’s navy to defend our national sovereignty and borders, and consequently the borders of the European Union.” 

Kammenos had ordered the one-day exercise, code-named Pyrpolitis (Fire-raiser), to be carried out in the Aegean, northwest of Rhodes, following a long meeting with military officials on Tuesday night, during which the recent activity of Turkish armed forces in the region was discussed. 

The exercise involved a Hellenic Navy frigate, assault and transport helicopters and a Zubr military hovercraft carrying members of the special forces, and also saw the participation of Hellenic Air Force planes.  

The aim of the exercise was to test the readiness of Greek armed forces in a crisis scenario, such as the need to recapture an islet. It was completed successfully at the end of the day without any signs of Turkish transgressions of Greek air space or territorial waters.

Turkey’s top national security body, National Security Council convened on Wednesday and issued a stern message, said, "general evaluation has been made with regards to situations in Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, it is made clear that the Greece's behavior is not like a good neighbor, what is more Turkey will never make compromises from its interests."