The former Greek Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos proposed Greece should grant the concession of the naval base of Leros to the French navy, in the context of Athens’ defense cooperation with Paris.
Speaking on SKAI TV’s “TODAY” show on Monday morning, and commenting on Turkey’s increasing provocations, the former Minister was in favour of closer defence cooperation between Greece and France, even with the permanent presence of French naval forces in Leros, which has the largest natural harbor in the Eastern Mediterranean.
He revealed that in the period 2012-2013, as Minister of National Defence under the Samaras government, relevant discussions had begun, but without revealing more details.
During the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese (1912-1943), the largest Italian airbase in the Aegean Sea was built in Leros, and in the Gulf of Lakki. Today, a small part of that infrastructure is used for the needs of the Navy, while the rest of the department houses the services of the Leros Psychiatric Hospital and a refugee camp.