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Greece's Defense Chief Says Armenia Faces Common Threats

Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sarkisian (left) and Greek counterpart Panos Kammenos meet in Yerevan on March 29.

Armenia and Greece are facing common security challenges and threats, Greece’s visiting minister for national defense, Panos Kammenos, has said.

"Greece and Armenia were, are, and will be always together. We have common values, common history, common victims of the two big genocides of the Armenian people, of the Greek [Pontic] people, and we'll continue to have problems with the same friends and allies," Kammenos said at a joint press conference with Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sarkisian in Yerevan on March 29.

"Armenia and Greece are facing common security challenges and threats that require both a comprehensive approach and understanding as well as a solid political determination in order to cope with them effectively," he said.

When asked about recent developments in Turkey, which like Greece is a member of the NATO military alliance and which aspires to join the European Union, Kammenos said: "Our wish always is for Turkey to be a European country with the respect of international law, with the respect of human rights. Our wish is to see Turkey approach the European values."

But he said recent statements and decisions by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan show he still "dreams of the big Ottoman Empire" and have the potential to "guide Turkey away from Europe, away from international law, away from the international community."

"We will continue to do our best to explain to Turkey that we want peace," Kammenos said. "But we have to remind Turkey that in many moments of its history, and especially in the moments of its history when they had in their mind the big Ottoman empire, they lost, like in 1821 in Greece.”

An 1821 rebellion in Greece, which was part of the Ottoman Empire then, resulted in Hellenic independence from the Ottoman rule.