For Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the issue of the election of the President of the Republic is turning into a rather challenging puzzle, as the latest developments in the Greek-Turkish relations seem to confuse him.
In the beginning, people around Mr. Mitsotakis, by conveying or interpreting his will, were disclosing that he was thinking of someone more widely accepted outside the political system, preferably a woman, to leave the mark of his own governance in the highest state position. This is how politicians were left out of the picture. Along the way, the same carriers or interpreters of his thinking argued that party nominations were excluded from his possible choices, mainly as a response regarding the issue of Antonis Samaras. The latest information report that “the chief will make his own decision from the mountain where he will spending his Christmas holidays, as he has said; but he is thinking of a political figure”, and further explained that “the critical situation of the Greek-Turkish relations demands from the state institution that it is someone with experience and international contacts in order to assist in addressing the growing Turkish provocations and its international implications. Since political figures are back in the game, the list will obviously include current President Prokopis Pavlopoulos – who has handled difficult situations during his first term, such as Erdogan’s visit – and both former Prime Ministers from New Democracy, Kostas Karamanlis and Antonis Samaras.
Things got complicated after Simitis’ interview in “Ta Nea” newspaper who, as if he were a candidate, an idea formally expressed by Fofi Gennimata, argued that his own government, with the Helsinki Agreement, had begun the implementation of a solution, bringing up the appeal for the basic Greek-Turkish dispute to the Hague; this solution ended up not being fruitful, because his successor in the Prime Ministry (Kostas Karamanlis) followed a different strategy, though he refrained from naming him in the interview. However, Vaggelis Marinakis’ newspaper, which is clearly serving specific interests, went on to name him with an aggressive headline. The media in support of Mr. Karamanlis reacted harshly to Mr. Simitis. However, it became clear to those who follow the blue Jerusalem that it was a good newspaper that brought up Mr. Karamanlis’ name. They underline that the owner has good relations with both Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Antonis Samaras. Although the leaks from Maximos Mansion indicate that Mr. Samaras is not included in Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ choices for the presidency, he still does not resign. In fact, with the commotion caused and the blast-from-the-past Simitis-Karamanlis confrontation, the chances of both, in favor of the Messinian politician, if not vanished, are reduced. Mr. Samaras is playing a tough game; on one hand he has stated that he will not vote for Prokopis Pavlopoulos if he ends up being Mr. Mitsotakis’ final nomination – who has been gaining ground in recent days -; on the other hand, taking the floor at the 13th Conference, he spilled his criticism against the Prime Minister regarding national affairs and the migration issue. At least, in the event that he does not nominate him for the Presidency, after making it difficult for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, he will be able to say that he had sent out his warnings long ago.
The information that affiliates the election of the President of the Republic to the latest developments in the Greek-Turkish relations is yet another proof of the confusion the Government has found itself in as a result of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policy. In the same context, and equally indicative of this embarrassment, are the celebrations of Kyriakos Mitsotakis after the EU Summit on the blatant disapproval – though not condemnation – of Turkey, which he even wanted to promote as a personal success. That is why in his first-person statements he echoed the influence his calls for condemnations against Turkey had on his counterparts. Both the personal tone and the selective disclosure in pro-government newspapers of the rules of engagement of the Greek Navy in the event of a Turkish move indicate that Mr. Mitsotakis on one hand has no moves to promote initiatives; on the other hand he is focusing on saving his personal popularity. However, this manipulation did not slip the main opposition’s attention, since it went on to address the issue with an official announcement; rather uncommon. In fact, after the migration issue and the Macedonian dispute, Mr. Mitsotakis is in danger of taking a hit in the Greek-Turkish relations as well. All three issues are very close to the core of New Democracy and consequently to the voters of the rightist party. /ibna