The Greece, President Constantine Tsatsos attended an impressive military parade in Thessaloniki on Sunday (28 October) to mark the anniversary of Greece's refusal to submit to Italy's ultimatum in 1940.
The Greece, President Constantine Tsatsos attended an impressive military parade in Thessaloniki on Sunday (28 October) to mark the anniversary of Greece's refusal to submit to Italy's ultimatum in 1940. Italy had threatened that if its fascist forces were not allowed to occupy strategic points of Greek territory, Greece would be suppressed by force. The annual celebrations are now called "Ochi" -- the Greek world for "no".
SYNOPSIS: President Tsatsos arrived to take the salute after attending the traditional Te Deum in Thessaloniki's Cathedral and laying a wreath at the Heroes' Shrine.
Army Chief, General Gratzios, ministers, officials and a big crowd did not appear to be put off by the falling rain as they turned out in force to watch the display of Greek military muscle.
The climax of the parade was without doubt the display of military hardware which -- in addition to a number of Greek-made arms and vehicles -- included French AMX30 heavy tanks.
But the stars of the show were the guided missiles. Defence is one of the major concerns of the Greek government, following the country's withdrawal from the military side of NATO in 1974. Greece said it was annoyed by NATO's "lack of action" over the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Since 1977 -- following an initiative of General Alexander Haig -- Greece has sought to rejoin the military wing, but has been frustrated by the threat of a Turkish veto.
The march past of women soldiers received loud applause. Women were enlisted for the first time in January this year and they have been conscripted into all three branches of the armed forces. Greece spends about twenty percent of its budget on defence. The government says a high defence capability is necessary because of the continuing strained relations with Turkey.