Whatever “clouds” emerged over the recent period between leftist SYRIZA and its junior coalition partner, the right-wing Independent Greeks (AN.EL), appear to have immediately cleared up on Tuesday following a meeting by the parties' leaders, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, respectively.
“Cooperation between SYRIZA and AN.EL, despite the persistence of those writing scenarios about the opposite, will continue until the end, and with respect to the ‘red lines’,” the outspoken Kammenos told reporters afterwards, without however, delimitating the “red lines”.
The head of the small party that props up the “strange bedfellows” Greek coalition government again referred to an “honorable political cooperation” between two different political ideologies, while pointing to “different views as indicative of democracy.”
Both radical SYRIZA and rightist-populist AN.EL rode to power in 2015 on a wave of anti-bailout, anti-austerity and anti-Europe rhetoric. Six months of shambolic negotiations with institutional creditors followed, resulting in the calling of a controversial and divisive referendum on an expired offer extended by the latter, capital controls and finally, the signing of a third memorandum in August 2015.
Back in the present, Kammenos again referred to two Greek servicemen held in Turkey as “hostages”. He said the matter remained bilateral, but one that is also acquiring international dimensions in venues such as the EU and NATO.
He also denied reports that the pair is being used as a “bargaining chip” by Ankara.