PM Tsipras Urgently Convenes Greece’s Highest Body on Defense


Premier Alexis Tsipras suspended on Sunday his election campaign and announced he is convening the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA), the supreme decision-making body on issues of foreign policy and national defense of Greece.

Sources close to the PM’s office say that the unexpected decision by Tsipras is related to the escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean following Turkey’s admission that it started drilling off Cyprus.

Nicosia has information that Turkey has moved materials and equipment related to drilling activity to the area west of Paphos where it has stationed its drillship Fatih but the government can’t confirm the information, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Sunday.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromos, told the news agency said: “We have been following statements of Turkish officials for several days and often with conflicting information. There is information on the transport of drilling equipment and equipment. However, we are not in a position to confirm this information.”

Tsipras cancelled his scheduled visit to the islands of Kos and Nisyros and returned to Athens to chair the meeting due to take place late on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense has denied it moved any troops to the Eastern Aegean Islands close to Turkey in an emergency.

“Recent webpage postings according to which Greek troops have been moved to Eastern Aegean islands in an emergency do not correspond to reality,” the ministry said in a statement Sunday.

“The operational deployment of the Greek Armed Forces is the usual one. Any movements were made as part of (an exercise) that was completed on Friday, June 14,” the ministry said.

Critics claim that the PM’s decision to call for an extraordinary meeting of KYSEA may further escalate tensions with Turkey and undermine the Greek economy in the middle of the tourist season.

They also point out that the PM has not informed the President of the Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, or the heads of opposition parties of any developments that may warrant an extraordinary meeting of KYSEA.

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