A profound and pragmatic knowledge of the reality of our relations with Turkey dictates a ratio of 3:5 in military equipment in order to secure balance. This approach had been the official external affairs policy of the Greek state regarding Turkey for many years now. At one point, before the recent Greek economic crisis, when rumours about armament bribes were made public, politicians stopped telling us whether this ratio was in fact still maintained. This was a time of peak political antagonisms and large amounts of money diverted towards political campaigns, so that the electorate would change their political allegiance. Thus, the expenses for the army became a non-priority, bribes and private provision were increased, and the budget for the armed services, and mainly for purchase of military equipment, was reduced! Our arms industry, which had always been of limited capacity, was used for cheap political and opportunistic point scoring. The result was that our war industries fell into financial dire straits and were about to be shut down!
Our neighbour did exactly the opposite. In spite of the many unstable military dictatorships that they previously had, they managed to stabilize their political system, to put their economy in order in spite of the high inflation the plagued their finances for decades, and to industrialise their country by building upon their strong rural economy and training the large manpower of the countryside. They also secured many contacts in terms of external affairs as equal partners with other countries, even with those which are much more powerful and populous. Certainly, it was mainly through economic development, which was achieved through the stability of the political system, that the morale of the Turkish citizens was raised. Their politicians combined religion and politics, and within this framework they attracted large societal groups, which greatly benefitted from the 2-digit economic development increases, and household finances improved in the long-term.Turkey developed high-efficiency war industry projects, co-financed by high-tech European and American companies, and our neighbour is now able to deliver very costly military materials, such as airplanes, submarines and tanks.
We insist that in circumstances like the present one, boosting the morale of the Greek population is of the utmost importance. If we examine our past, we will observe that all our sucesses were triggered by high morale: the 1821 Ιndependence War, our victories of the 1912-13 Balkan wars, the epic of 1940. We need to develop the appropriate conditions for the “leap forward”. We need to get through the present low point to which we were led by long-term financial breakdown and political antagonism. We have proved that during adverse circumstances in the past, we were capable of such a “leap forward”: the 1821 revolution happened after the suppression of previous uprisings and the killing of many guerrilla warriors by the occupiers. Our 1912-13 victories happened just a short time after the disastrous war of 1897. The epic of 1940 was achieved after deep divisions, numerous military coups d’état, and the Metaxas dictatorship of the previous decade.
It is up to our politicians on all levels to implement policies that will gradually help form a common point of view, a common ground and a consensus as to how threats against Greek sovereignty should be dealt with. If consensus is formed, then the necessary steps on the diplomatic level and the funding for the necessary military equipment will have the public support needed, while implementation and success in these fronts will be easier to achieve. If we can all agree now on a common ground, it will be much easier to agree again in future, when the need to find a point of common reference will rise again.
This is the kind of news that the average Greek citizen expects to hear, so that he/she feels somewhat safe, when he/she hears again renewed threats from our neighbour on the east. Citizens will be able to budget more efficiently, will use their resources in the best possible way and will support our national defence goals to their best ability. This applies to all Greek citizens, but particularly to us Maniots, because in the past we have responded extremely well to such messages for unity and cooperation, using all the resources available at all levels. In the past, we have proved that we can put aside our personal differences, join forces, harness talent, and ultimately find common ground in order to deliver solutions for external threats and containing their effects.
Citizens and politicians, now is the time to reflect on the lessons our ancestors have taught us. Now is the time to take action according to their example.