In a surprise move, the defence minister proposed on Tuesday evening the complete replacement of the country’s top brass.As a consequence there's much speculation that it is being done to prevent a military coup. However there's no indication yet that a military coup is on the cards, though given the financial turmoil in Greece and that its Government is close to collapse this evening, nothing can be ruled out. Also EUobserver reported this morning:At an extraordinary meeting of the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence (Kysea), which comprises the prime minister and other key cabinet members, Defence Minister Panos Beglitis proposed the following changes to the army, navy and air force and the general staff:
It is understood that the personnel changes took many members of the government and of the armed forces by surprise.
- General Ioannis Giagkos, chief of the Greek National Defence General Staff, to be replaced by Lieutenant General Michalis Kostarakos
- Lieutenant General Fragkos Fragkoulis, chief of the Greek Army General Staff, to be replaced by lieutenant general Konstantinos Zazias
- Lieutenant General Vasilios Klokozas, chief of the Greek Air Force, to be replaced by air marshal Antonis Tsantirakis
- Vice-Admiral Dimitrios Elefsiniotis, chief of the Greek Navy General Staff, to be replaced by Rear-Admiral Kosmas Christidis
One interesting question, posed before on this blog, if Greece does become a military dictatorship (again) will the EU throw it out because it fails its democratic criteria? And what of its membership of the Euro?
There are other signs the government is losing control.
In recent weeks, members of the Greek police forces have also protested against the troika outside EU offices and French and German embassies, while retired army officers stormed the Greek defence ministry.
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 defense.
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."