SYRIZA launched an attack against Kyriakos Mitsotakis regarding the Greek-Turkish relations culminating to an article by former Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Meanwhile, the main opposition is facing the first obstacles in its path towards the party’s enlargement and transformation.
In an article in the newspaper “Ta Nea”, former Prime Minister Costas Simitis, speaking about the course of the Greek-Turkish relations in the last 20 years, left various insinuations against his successor Kostas Karamanlis and the New Democracy government.
With his intervention, Kostas Simitis focused on the period of the “Helsinki Agreement” in 1999 onwards. Referring to the 2004 Helsinki Summit, he emphasized that Turkey’s accession course had begun without resolving differences with Greece over the EEZ and the Continental Shelf, accusing Kostas Karamanlis of failing to raise any objections.
“What happened in 2004 is reflected in today’s Turkish threats and extortions”, he noted. He also supported the appeal to the International Court in the Hague, noting that it constitutes “a way to reach a peaceful settlement in the Greek-Turkish disputes”.
This intervention by Simitis has caused, as expected, a variety of reactions. Simitis’ positions were welcomed by KINAL President Fofi Gennimatas and George Papandreou. Deputy Foreign Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos described the Former Prime Minister’s article as “atrocities and voices of divisive pettiness”.
However, Costas Simitis himself appeared to be upset as well with the headline “Ta Nea” newspaper chose for his article: “Karamanlis is to blame for everything”. “Personal attacks against politicians, like the one on the front page of the newspaper, have always been strange to me”, he said in a statement, noting that the article was titled: “A Success That Did Not Finish”.
SYRIZA: Mitsotakis is solving his intra-party problems through the Greek-Turkish relations
Sources from SYRIZA’s corner believe that the choice of the newspaper -“owned by a prominent supporter of Mr. Mitsotakis” – to change the title of Costas Simitis’s article was made to “eliminate” another former Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis, from the race for the Presidency of the Republic. “It is proof of the ongoing intra-party clearing that is currently taking place in New Democracy”, the same sources point out, accusing Kyriakos Mitsotakis of choosing to exploit the Greek-Turkish relations to solve his intra-party problems.
At the same time, the main opposition calls for a “disclosure in the rules of the Ministry of Defense’s involvement” in the “pro-government” Sunday newspapers. “The government is addressing even the major national issues in terms of communication rather than substance”, they stress.
Simitis causes a commotion within SYRIZA
SYRIZA’s Former Minister of Health Pavlos Polakis launched a scathing attack against Costas Simitis. With a Facebook post he went after the former Prime Minister, portraying him as the one responsible for “graying Imia” and “delivering Ocalan to the Turks”. This prompted the reaction of three Progressive Alliance and former-PASOK executives which have been supporters of Costas Simitis, who penned a statement accusing Pavlos Polakis for “anachronistic and nationalistic approaches” when it comes to addressing national issues.
“SYRIZA should better stop coming up with intra-New Democracy feuds by nationalizing issues and instead focus on their own existing problems”, the director of the New Democracy press office commented.
This public controversy reveals that SYRIZA’s path towards the spring conference that will signal its transformation as the protagonist of the progressive faction in Greece will not be paved with rose petals. The participation of hundreds of former PASOK executives has brought over to SYRIZA a… vintage 15-year-old confrontation within PASOK between the “Papandreou” and the “Simitis” side. Meanwhile, responses arise from SYRIZA executives as well, especially from the leftist trend from the 53+ age group and the youth of the party. /ibna