1 Nov 2011

Greece challenges its military establishment

The Greek cabinet meeting is not yet over as far as I know. At least one minister walked in saying he was against a referendum and would talk with two others before the meeting to see what they wanted to do.

Others said they were undecided. Rumours were rampant that this might be the end of the PM. While we wait for that outcome, something else extraordinary. Earlier the EU Observer website reported –

“Defence minister Panagiotis Beglitis in October warned that the Greek military establishment is a “state within the state.” On Tuesday, he convened an unscheduled meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence, the supreme decision-making body on national defence. According to sources within the ministry quoted by Greek daily Eleftherotypia, Beglitis is planning to replace the leadership of the military with “his own people”. Unnamed officials described his actions as “politically mad” and “militarily dangerous.”

I now hear the defence minister of Greece has gone ahead and sacked the military chiefs of staff. Athens News says he’s “proposed” sacking them but also lists their replacements. You have to wonder what he thought they were up to. This is of course the land that gave us democracy, as we were all reminded by last night’s announcement. But it is also the land where the Colonels ruled from 1967 – 1973. It was followed by Greece’s last referendum, in 1974, abandoning the monarchy in favour of a republic.

I hear this story ran relatively low on the main TV news bulletins in Greece tonight. One source said military chiefs are changed every year in Greece, but normally in March or April. There is a suggestion that these particular chiefs had let it be known they were opposed to the Euro bail-out deal.



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