Mitsotakis declines briefing by DM; 'those who sowed fake patriotism are now reaping national retreats'

Thursday, 15 February 2018 11:32

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) president Kyriakos Mitsotakis has declined an offer by Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos for a briefing over recent - and worrying - incidents related to increased Turkish aggressiveness in the eastern Aegean and off Cyprus.

"Some people who sowed fake patriotism and are now reaping national retreats," Mitsotakis later said on Thursday, indirectly pointing to Kammenos.

"... Citizens have both knowledge and an opinion regarding the political leadership of the two ministries (defense and foreign affairs, which are dealing with national issues.." he said.

Kammenos, the leader of a small rightist-populist party that serves as the junior partner in the current coalition government dominated by radical leftist SYRIZA, offered to brief Mitsotakis on the sidelines of a security summit in Munich.

The outspoken and controversial defense minister was a former long-time ND cadre, deputy and Cabinet minister before being expelled from the party due to his opposition, at the time, to bailout programs mandated by the country's institutional creditors. Elected to Parliament on a virulently anti-austerity, anti-bailout and nationalist platform, he subsequently ratified the third memorandum (August 2015) signed and delivered by the Tsipras government.

According to reports, Mitsotakis has made it clear that he will not meet with Kammenos.

Earlier this week, Kammenos called on Athens' partners and allies in NATO and the EU to take a "clear stance" over recent behavior by official Ankara, especially the ramming of a Greek coast guard patrol boat by a Turkish vessel on Sunday in the Imia sea region in the eastern Aegean.

He also said he briefed his NATO counterparts over Turkish military activity in the Aegean, during a two-day NATO defense ministers' summit in Brussels.