Interview of Giorgos Koumoutsakos in NEWPOST: “I do not rule out Turkey causing an episode” – “No to a technocrat prime minister”

Interview of Giorgos Koumoutsakos in NEWPOST: “I do not rule out Turkey causing an episode” – “No to a technocrat prime minister”
Interview of Giorgos Koumoutsakos in NEWPOST: “I do not rule out Turkey causing an episode” – “No to a technocrat prime minister”

By Member of Parliament of the Northern Sector of Athens and Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection, Asylum & Immigration, George Koumoutsakoschat it up NEWPOST. With the follow upthe continuous ones challenges of Ankara in the Aegean and War in Ukraine to monopolize interest and threaten to change the geopolitical map, Mr. Koumoutsakos answers all burning questions.

About the wiretappinghighlights, among other things, the following: When this very serious question of democracy arose, the Prime Minister’s reflexes were immediate and substantial. Resignations were requested. The institutional counterweights and the institutional guarantees of the state came into operation. The Hellenic Parliament assumed the responsibility, the role and the mission assigned to it”.

As for his much-discussed intervention Costas Karamanlis from Anogeia, the minister states that there is no one who disagrees with the essence of what he said. Nor does he imagine, with his right to interfere in important matters such as in a serious matter of democratic order.

About everything – everything up to date – Greek-Turkish, Mr. Koumoutsakos emphasizes that the appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague was and is for Greece and its foreign policy a solid choice of law and peace. But the Erdogan regime has closed every door of communication to Athens: “Here, however, Turkey not only does not want, it has also expelled the orchestra. “The music’s over” as the Doors used to say».

He even sends one voice message in Ankara, at the time he considers possible the hot episode: “We do not assign anything Greek. Not a wave in the Aegean, not a pebble on a Greek island, not a stone in Evros».

Finally, regarding the next election contestswas vertical: “I do not believe in the “transfers” of technocrats to the central front of politics. The electoral popular mandate is the only solid legitimation. If you don’t have it, you never step firmly. And the times call for leaders with solid, heavy walks.”

The full interview of George Koumoutsakos with Nikos Panagiotopoulos follows

Mr. Kumucako, Ankara’s provocation tactics and Erdogan’s personally incendiary rhetoric are aimed at some kind of heated episode, and what could that be? What is the reason for the tension?

It is not, and should not be, a surprise that Turkey is escalating the tension in Greek-Turkish relations. Since the 70s, it has had the same revisionist strategy of overturning the status quo in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. Now, there are at least two reasons that aggravate the situation and lead to the continuous escalation of Turkish challenges: the discovery and potential exploitation of serious natural gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean in the EEZs of Cyprus, Egypt and Israel, and the upcoming presidential elections in Turkey. Soaring the geopolitical value of these energy sources for Europe due to the very serious energy consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine combined with the elections in Turkey make the revisionist Erdogan even more adventurous. In this context, I do not rule out Turkey causing an episode. Europe and the West in general must prevent such a development which, among other things, will seriously injure the cohesion of the South Eastern wing of NATO. It is both their geopolitical and moral obligation. There are no two standards: “Churchill” with revisionist Russia and “Chamberlain” with revisionist Turkey.

Our country has a “red line” and what is it?

Of course it has. He proved it in March 2020 in Evros and in the summer of the same year in the Aegean. It proves it – almost daily – by responding to every violation of the national airspace by the Turkish Air Force. It proves this with the extensive program of strengthening and modernization of the Greek armed forces.
This is underlined by our tireless diplomatic action based on clear positions and arguments, firmly grounded in international law with the support of our deterrent power. Greece is a country of stability and dialogue.
First and foremost, however, it is a country with morals and national dignity.

It assigns nothing Greek. Not a wave in the Aegean, not a pebble on a Greek island, not a stone in Evros.
Countries and nations without or with “volatile” “red lines” become pawns of their adversaries’ pursuits and are ultimately defeated, diplomatically and operationally. Our solid diplomatic and legal “red line” is the national interest, deeply rooted in international law, international treaties, conventions and agreements, the fundamental principles and rules of peaceful coexistence, good neighborly relations and mutual respect.

Our operational red lines in the field fully and effectively serve national diplomatic and legal red lines. How, when and where it is determined and decided by the prime minister, in cooperation with the political and military leadership of the Ministry of Defense and the KYSEA.

Do you think that the appeal to The Hague is in our country’s interest, is there a risk that Turkey’s claims will be raised that it has wanted to raise all these years?

Appealing to the International Court of Justice in The Hague was and is for Greece and its foreign policy a solid choice of law and peace. Obviously, you do not go to the Court for issues of territorial sovereignty – that is, for the so-called “gray zones” of Turkish fantasies -, nor for issues of national security and defense such as the right to legitimate defense and equipment of our islands.

After all, Greece has officially excluded these issues from the jurisdiction of the Court. So the only issue for judicial regulation is the delimitation of the maritime zones of the Ice Shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). But in order to go to court, the “referral” to the Court, the so-called co-promissory note, needs to be agreed upon with Turkey.
At the moment, however, there is not even a dialogue under Turkey’s responsibility. When Erdogan says he doesn’t even want to talk to the Greek Prime Minister, all channels are closed.

It is said, Mr. Panagiotopoulos, that “it takes two to tango”. Correctly. Here, however, Turkey not only does not want, it has also expelled the orchestra. “The music’s over” as the Doors used to say.

Conclusion. By today’s standards, The Hague is very far away, lost somewhere on the northern European horizon.
The discussion about it is interesting but theoretical, for scientific conferences and TV panels.

The opposition accuses you of appeasement in the management of foreign policy and of being “given”. What do you answer?

Where did they see the appeasement?
In Evros? In the Aegean;
In the budget for defense spending? To strengthen the armed forces?
In refugee/immigration? In the historic speech of Prime Minister K. Mitsotakis to Congress?
In the positions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs N. Dendias? In our defense deals with France and the US? In regional cooperation schemes and in defense? If anyone is the “appeaser” towards Turkey, it is the one who was against everything that strengthens and strengthens Greece. “Appeasers” are the populists who voted against all relevant decisions in Parliament, even the defense budget. Those who do not consider “the defense of the country to be an end in itself”. So SYRIZA should look at himself in the mirror when he talks about appeasement.

As far as the wiretapping scandal is concerned, the resignation of Mr. Dimitriadis and the dismissal of the former commander of the EYP is enough, shouldn’t the Greek people know what exactly happened?

When this very serious question of democracy arose, the Prime Minister’s reflexes were immediate and substantial. Resignations were requested. The institutional counterweights and the institutional guarantees of the state came into operation. The Hellenic Parliament assumed the responsibility, role and mission assigned to it. Justice also moved after an appeal by Mr. Androulakis. Now the bet is the full and speedy clarification of the case. No shadows, no backlogs, no obscurations. All in the light. Smooth democratic functioning requires it. The immediate next step should be, as the government said, its armoring with operational and institutional modernization of the secret services and indeed with cross-party convergence.

How could such a thing be done? Because it sounds difficult.

For example, cross-party agreement could be made on the criteria and conditions that should be met in order to initiate telephone surveillance procedures.

No one is exempt from tracking? You agree with this.

In bourgeois liberal democracy the protection of the inviolability of the private sphere is at the core of individual rights, at the heart of the Democracy. In our Republic, therefore, it is fundamental to admit that in principle no one is monitored unless there are strictly defined conditions and reasons, criminal or national security reasons, in order to make someone the subject of monitoring. No one is exempt from this exception, according to the Constitution. The criteria, as I told you, can be determined cross-party. It would be a win for both democracy and national security.

Do you agree with the recent intervention of Kostas Karamanlis?

Does anyone disagree with the gist of what he said? Nor do I imagine, with his right to interfere in such important matters as in a serious matter of democratic order. After all, what the former Prime Minister said is in line with what the Government is already doing, complementing and reinforcing them.

Can the political cost deprive the ND of its electoral goals?

The political cost when it is temporary and superficial, does not affect the strategic electoral goals. Even more so when there are nine whole months of intense government action ahead until the next election.
But when it leaves scars and wounds, then yes, it affects it negatively. For this very reason, the absolute clarification of this dark case that caused a serious issue of efficiency in the institutional democratic function is urgent. There must be answers to close and heal the institutional and political trauma caused by apparently unfortunate handling.
This issue should not be left gray and opaque. Not to give weapons to our opponents, SYRIZA and PASOK. Let’s not let it poison the water table of our political life, because we will find it constantly in front of us. Full institutional reform and citizens’ unshakable confidence in democratic functioning are essential. The investigative committee, the institutions and transparency committee of the Parliament and the Greek judiciary have, each separately and all together, a serious mission to carry out.

Will the wiretapping be an obstacle to the possibility of post-election cooperation with Mr. Androulakis’s PASOK?

I just answered you. We will do the right thing. After all, the Prime Minister, Mr. Mitsotakis, emphasized that there will be a complete liquidation of this sick situation. But the bridges are also cut by the obsession with micro-political and old-party manipulations and “deeply PASOK” attitudes, as we experienced it in the true memory of the 80s.
These policies, constant insults and partisan bigoted cries reminiscent of old times are creating trenches and dividing lines.

In the event that the election result does not allow for the formation of a single-party government, and in order for there to be co-government, could a person outside of the party leadership, even a technocrat, become Prime Minister?

In a democracy, developments are determined by the popular vote. The first election of 2023 will be the mother of battles because it will largely determine the course of things. Our task is to win the greatest possible support of the Greeks. Let’s win this battle as well, however difficult it may be. No one can overtake the mighty winner. And we will be the winners.
I don’t believe in the “transfers” of technocrats to the central front of politics. The electoral popular mandate is the only solid legitimation. If you don’t have it, you never step firmly. And the times call for leaders with solid, heavy walks.

*Giorgos Koumoutsakos is Member of Parliament for the Northern Sector of Athens and former Senior Minister of Citizen Protection, Asylum & Immigration.


The article is in Greek

Tags: Interview Giorgos Koumoutsakos NEWPOST rule Turkey causing episode technocrat prime minister

NEXT At least 19 dead in the protests over the death of the 22-year-old