ATHENS - Greece will not tolerate any Turkish provocation without responding, Prime Minister and New Democracy (ND) party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday at closing remarks of the party's 13th congress, adding that he will ask NATO to condemn Turkey at the leaders' meeting on December 3 and 4 in London.
Noting the support to Greece by the European People's Party, Mitsotakis said of NATO that "an alliance cannot stand by indifferently when one of its members blatantly violates international law and turns agains another of its members." He said that "the strategy of keeping an equidistance [between Greece and Turkey] blatantly wrongs Greece, which never sought to create tension in the region. But Greece knows how to defend its rights with self-confidence, cool-headedness and effectiveness."
On economic issues, the ND leader announced that nearly 200,000 families belonging to a financially weaker segment of society will receive an emergency bonus before Christmas. Beneficiaries will include those worst off from long-term unemployment, families with many children, and families with dependents with disabilities, a category he said he was particularly concerned about.
Commenting on rallies in Athens, such as Saturday's, he said that within a few weeks the government will table a draft bill regulating the announcement, organizing and distribution of protests. "Regularity - a word deriving from 'regulation' - will be implemented at street level as well," he said, "with full respect of the right to gather." He noted however the disturbance that "the protest of a few dozens brings to the lives of millions" in Athens. This, he said, "is what it means to support the many, not the few."
The leader of the ruling party expressed his satisfaction over the results of the ND congress, which he said was "modern, innovative and creative." In particular, he said, there was substantial dialog. "This is the great wealth of our party: It looks History in the eye and also looks at new issues. It renews, boldly and radically, its ideological tools and does not hesitate to incorporate in its thinking other ideas beyond its own party lines. Thus it manages to coordinate itself with wider majorities," he noted, "adopting the messages of society, which often moves faster than political forces." He cited as examples the vote for Greeks living abroad and public demand for safe university campuses and neighborhoods.
"Greeks are welcoming measures whose time came a long time ago, such as our policy against smoking," Mitsotakis said. "Greece is ready to welcome the obvious. It has experienced the irrational and has realized this quickly becomes irresponsible, becoming a status quo, and mutating into something arbitrary and unjust."