The Minister of National Defense Panos Kammenos triggered major reactions from the opposition parties after commenting on the role of the Armed Forces in ensuring the country’s security, both at home and abroad.
“The country’s Armed Forces ensure the stability at home, defending the country’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability in relation to the country’s alliances. Regardless of the economic crisis the Armed Forces […] are a pillar of stability for the state. The democratic Army and democratic Armed Forces continue to preserve their mission the country’s image at home and abroad” he stated.
Mr. Kammenos made the controversial statement during a press conference at the Ministry of National Defense following an official visit by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. According to the Constitution, security within Greece is provided by the Hellenic Police and not the Armed Forces.
The statement prompted major reactions from the opposition parties, with PASOK’s Evangelos Venizelos noting that the Prime Minister’s “election campaign visit at the Ministry of National Defense two days before the referendum is unthinkable” and that a “dangerous far-right belief regarding the institutions and armed forces are prevailing”.
New Democracy’s Kostas Tasoulas reacted to Mr. Kammenos statements regarding the role of the Armed Forces, which he argued were provocative. Similarly, the River commented that domestic security is handled by the Ministry of Public Order and accused the government of polarizing society with the referendum and irresponsible comments.
The Independent Greeks responded to the criticism by clarifying that the Armed Forces secure national sovereignty and the country’s borders and as such, provide security at home.