Greece Defense Minister Panos Kammenos is hoping to persuade citizens of his country to help pay for their new battleship fleet because they are still too poor to cover the costs.
Kammenos will open a bank account on Jan. 1 where any Greek citizen can pitch a donation “for new frigates and a flagship.” He is calling on the wealthy and the ordinary to pay the balance of whatever funds are necessary, The Associated Press reported.
Greece’s defense minister is appealing to his countryfolk for a crowdfunding effort to raise money for new warships, promising to donate part of his own salary. https://t.co/Hm79WGiyz2
— NBC News World (@NBCNewsWorld) December 7, 2018
He also said he will match all donations out of his own pocket, according to RT.
“I will be the first to deposit my salary in this effort,” Kammenos said on Thursday while speaking to navy employees during the feast day for St. Nicholas, patron saint of Greek seamen and the navy.
Considering Greece’s tensions with Turkey, the Defense Ministry wants to upgrade its fleet next year but the money to do so is not available.
Friction between Greece and Turkey has mounted over a number of issues, according to RFI. First, both countries are laying claim to a small rocky area in the Aegean, which has been unresolved. There is also the issue of Cyprus, the northern part of this island that is occupied by the Turkish military.
The military who fled to Greece to ask for political asylum after the coup has also posed a problem.
“The dilemma for the Greek authorities was that if these people were sent back to Turkey a fair trial is not guaranteed,” says Thanos Dokos, the director of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy in Athens.
“There is also a specific dispute between Greece and Turkey regarding the use of airspace in the Aegean,” says Dokos.
Kammenos hoped to get the U.S. to expand its military presence in Greece when he visited in October after signing a “$1.5 billion agreement to upgrade its F-16 fighter jet fleet.”
Greece took out a total of $330 billion in loans from three International Monetary Fund programs, which was all paid back as of August. However, the payback requirements of those loans were crippling to Greece.
The severity of the terms of those loans is still evident to the average Greek family.
After the loans were paid back, Greece Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, announced that the government would now concentrate on “social spending.”
The IMF has a close eye on Greece and has a low tolerance for any alterations that might sway from their traditional neoliberal customs.