Defence Minister and junior coalition partner Panos Kammenos reiterated that the government will not table a FYROM settlement deal in parliament unless there is a revision of the constitution by Skopje.
Kammenos said his Independent Greeks party will not accept any use of the name Macedonia by Skopje, so any discussions of markers such as Ilinden Macedonia or Upper Macedonia are academic.
Kammenos said that SYRIZA also agrees that there can be no solution without a revision of FYROM’s constitution, though SYRIZA supports a settlement using the name Macedonian, with a geographic or temporal marker attached.
He added, however, that this will not happen because the residents of FYROM have convinced themselves of the veracity of a foundation myth surrounding the name Macedonia.
Speaking of Greek-Turkish relations, Kammenos said Turkey’s behaviour provokes international public opinion. He said that violations of Greek territorial waters and airspace, the two Greek army officers being held hostage, and the captivity and conviction of Pastor Branson, all violate international law and common sense.
He said that the proposed transfer of the army officers to Greece’s diplomatic mission as employees refutes the Turkish judiciary’s argument that they are not being released pending trial because they do not have a permanent residence in Turkey.
Arms procurement, agreement with US
Regarding defence spending, Kammenos said that the Hellenic Navy is in need of frigates, and that these will be funded by the return to Athens of profits on Greek bonds accrued by EU countries that hold them.
Kammenos said that arms procurement complies strictly with the state budget, and that the military agreement with the US has been very fruitful, as there will be programmes that will benefit the Hellenic Defence Systems S.A. company, and the Perama dockyard.