"It is easily forgotten when Greece is criticised that there has been not very subtle pressure from France to buy six frigates," says Thanos Dokos, the director general of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy. [...]
Over much of the last decade, Greece – which has a population of 11 million people – has been one of the top five arms importers in the world. Most of the vastly expensive weapons, including submarines, tanks and combat aircraft, were made in Germany, France and the US.
The arms purchases were beyond Greece's capacity to absorb, even before the financial crisis struck in 2009. Several hundred Leopard battle tanks were bought from Germany, but there was no money to pay for ammunition for their guns. Even in 2010, when the extent of the financial disaster was apparent, Greece bought 223 howitzers and a submarine from Germany at a cost of €403m.[...]
The justification for Greece's large army – 156,000 men compared to 250,000 in the German army – is the perceived threat from Turkey, which requires the Greeks to keep some form of military parity with a nation with seven times as many people.
Mr Dokos says that fear of being labelled unpatriotic has prevented the opposition in parliament from seeking a in defence expenditure. There has never been a debate in parliament about how far a Turkish threat really exists."
~From an article in the Independent
It seems to me the world is suffering from amnesia or gross ignorance. There can't be any other explanation.
To all those who say "it's the buyer to blame, not the vendor" and "Greeks are never accepting responsibility", just remember who was the prime ally of Turkey, a NATO member, very obviously and very flamboyantly till very recently: the USA. And just how far the USA is controlling arms dealings within Europe thanks to the NATO system.
And learn also that airborne "tresspassing" from Turkish aircrafts is a roughly DAILY phenomenon: air fights between Greek and Turkish pilots (who have lots of things in common and an enmity instigated by outside forces) every day in times of peace!!! Who orders those Turkish aircrafts to rise? Why? And how timely? As both nations are members of NATO the hypothesis is supremely interesting. Who's gaining from aircrafts that get destroyed in the process, unless it's the one who sells them to BOTH countries to begin with? Who's the warmonger?
At the height of the Cold War, both countries were encouraged by the US to keep themselves well armed - Piraeus, the port of Athens, was also the base for the American Sixth Fleet. However, when Turkey invaded Cyprus, the rest of the NATO countries kept mum and Greece was humiliated in the aftermath with hundreds of Greek Cypriots killed. Is it any wonder the Greeks spend money in arms?
Remember too that a very prominent Greek politician/former minister, prosecuted for usurping state money, is responsible for personally benefiting from importing German submarines, that still had technical glitches; deals that cannot now be cancelled by the state because of penalty clauses in the contracts! Who approved this on the German side? Why?
How about the telecommunications & transportation deal scandal between German Siemens and the Greek state, riddled with over-charges and kickbacks? Remember how EVERYONE was critizing how Athens might not be the safest place in the world for the summer Olympic Games of 2004 and they absolutely insisted on getting the Greek state to spend millions of euros into the highest possible security? (And in the end absolutely not a bleep on the radar happened....there was never any menace)
How many corrupted German officials were involved in this Siemenscandal? Where are they now? Why don't we hear anything about them? Why isn't money paid in German bribes returned to the Greek state?
Siemens is not beyond a shady past, after all...
And let's not forget: The Greek people have lived responsibly and frugally according to the IMF with household debt figures similar to Germany and much lower than the UK!!!
Who's leeching off the average Greek then?
cartoon from the Greek press: Reichenbach puppeteering Greek statesmen E.Venizelos and G.Papandreou via greekcrisis.net. Merkel & Sarkozy photo from the same source.