ATHENS – Firing back against critics and political rivals and those he said are trying to undercut his New Democracy government to benefit themselves, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is taking on all comers.
Talking to his party’s political committee meeting he said that Greece’s “drastic modernization seems to have disturbed many, and the country’s collective dynamics have deprived private interests of their power.”
These private interests “were once influencing the country’s trajectory extra-institutionally,” he added, while “these ‘centers’ would very much like to see a pressured Prime Minister and a weighed-down, anchored government,” he said.
He didn’t name anyone but that came as he’s embroiled in an open feud with shipping oligarch and Olympiakos soccer team owner Evangelos Marinakis, with both suggesting it’s the other behind the use of spyware in the country.
New Democracy “and I personally are an obstacle in the plans of a few ‘powerful’ ones, so to speak, but only a few and I hereby state that we will not accept any kind of undermining … no holding back on the changes we have committed ourselves to,” the Premier said, reported the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency.
As the country’s top political party, he said, “we are called to ensure that Greece will stay on the course of progress, as was decided in the 2019 national elections,” when he topped the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of then ruler Alexis Tsipras, facing a rematch in 2023 elections and pre-campaign talk whomping up already.
“(Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan does not try to hide the fact that he would like] Tsipras opposite him. But he has me… because this is what the sovereign Greek people chose and no one else. But I address Mr. Erdogan in all sincerity when I tell him that Greece keeps the door shut to provocations, but the window open to rapprochements,” he said.
That was in reference to Erdogan openly suggesting he would invade Greece in a dispute the countries have over sovereignty of the waters, a hunt for energy in the seas, and Turkey’s demand that Greece take troops off Aegean islands near its coast.
“I am a friend of the Turkish people, I express my disgust for Sunday’s terrorist attack in Istanbul, but we are not – and I am not – being led into a dialogue with the absurd,” he said, after a bomb exploded in Turkey’s capital.
There’s ugliness in domestic politics too, he said, referring to an unraveled alleged scandal involving the Swiss pharmaceutical company in which Tsipras and the Leftists said New Democracy and PASOK politicians took bribes, offering no proof and all charges rejected by authorities
“There is no other route to take in a democracy but the one of the judicial system. We have nothing to fear,” he said, and referring to the recent wiretapping issue he added that, “we were honest from the start, when we said that in the case of the tracking of (PASOK-KINAL leader) Nikos Androulakis an operational failure was indeed identified, as were the relevant responsibilities.”
He had denied that his government is using Predator spyware while acknowledging that 15,745 people are being monitored on their cell phones in the interests of national security and said he’s moved to reform the National Intelligence Service EYP to insure people aren’t being tracked wrongly.
He said that a modernized legal framework for the operation of EYP will be released for public consultation, as will a framework for the security of communications…one that makes Greece the first country to explicitly prohibit the marketing, use and distribution of malicious software.”