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Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Loeb Boathouse restaurant in Central Park for the dinner organized by Greek-American organizations, September 21, 2022. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Dimitris Papamitsos)
NEW YORK – With a clear message sent out in all directions that “Greece will not be bullied by anyone,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis issued a first response to the ludicrous statements made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the UN this week.
During his speech before representatives of Greek-American organizations and professional societies at noon on September 21 in the packed main dining room of the renowned Loeb Boathouse restaurant in Central Park in Manhattan, Mitsotakis did not fail to address the Greek-Turkish issue and told the reportedly more than 300 guests present that while he would not go into detail there, he will spend time on this issue when he speaks at the United Nations General Assembly.
The Prime Minister added emphatically, however, that “I would just like to say a word on this: Greece will not be bullied by our aggressive neighbors, and that challenges to Greece’s sovereignty are completely unacceptable. We will do whatever it takes to strengthen our alliances,” causing the audience to erupt into sustained applause.
Mitsotakis’ declaration was perhaps the most powerful and emotionally charged moment of his speech at the event, which included, among other things, references to the course of the Greek economy, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the looming energy crisis, Greek-American relations, as well as to his recent visit to Washington, DC last May, which included a historic speech to Congress.
“It was a tremendous honor for me to speak before the Joint Session of Congress and address the strong ties that unite our two countries. To refer to the parallel history of the Republic, which was founded here in the United States and drew its inspiration from Classical Greece. Let me also mention the Greek Revolution, which in turn drew inspiration from what happened here, four decades before the Revolution began in Greece,” said Mitsotakis, who then noted that Greece and the United States “are always on the right side of history.”
The Prime Minister noted that his speech to Congress presented the opportunity to emphasize that: “Our alliance with the United States is at an all-time high to convey the message of what is really happening today in the eastern Mediterranean. And to underscore that at a time when the West is waging a war in Ukraine against an aggressive Russia, the last think we need is one more source of geopolitical instability on NATO’s south-eastern flank.”
Regarding the domestic situation in Greece given the repercussions from the war in Ukraine, Mitsotakis reiterated his pledges that “households and businesses will be supported in the face of soaring natural gas prices.”
In addition, the Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction with the foreign investments in Greece in recent years, noting that they are due not only to the reduction of tax burdens by the government, but also to Greece’s talented human capital.
“The main reason why investors come to Greece and start companies is the incredibly talented pool of young, highly educated Greeks who deserve a better future and are looking for these kinds of jobs to be convinced they should not leave the country but rather to stay and build their professional future and start a family in Greece,” he said.
Among the reported 300 people present at the Loeb Boathouse were, among others, Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Alexandra Papadopoulou, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, the newly-appointed Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Konstantinou, Consul Dimitrios Papageorgiou, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulidis, former Consul General in New York of the Republic of Cyprus Koula Sofianou, Greek-American businesspersons George Marcus, Dean Mitropoulos, Atlantic Bank President Nancy Papaioannou, founder of Alma Bank Efstathios Valliotis, Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce President Athas Ioannou and his predecessor Markos Drakotos, PSEKA President Philip Christopher, New York Court of Appeals Judge Madeline Singas, Advisor to the Publishers of the National Herald Antonis H. Diamataris with his wife of Litsa, co-Editor/co-Publisher of the National Herald Eraklis Diamataris, New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, and New York State Assemblyman Michael Tannousis.
The event began with the invocation offered by Archbishop Elpidophoros, who also welcomed the Prime Minister and made a special reference to the latter’s speech before the U.S. Congress. Washington, DC-based Mike Manatos, Executive Director of the Washington ‘Oxi’ Day Foundation, one of the organizers of the event, also referred to Mitsotakis’ speech in his remarks. He also introduced Greek-American businessman and philanthropist George Marcus, who introduced the Mitsotakis with the following words: “The reality is that while Greece has had difficulties with its leadership over the years, he, as well as his father (the late Konstantinos Mitsotakis) and his sister (Dora Bakoyannis) were always prudent, logical and did things the right way.”
Marcus added that Mitsotakis “brought important investments to Greece” and “restored the Greek economy despite the intervention of the pandemic. Greece is a pillar of stability and democracy. You are not a Prime Minister but a Prime Mover. Thank you very much.”
Afterwards, speaking to The National Herald, Marcus declared that he was satisfied with the way in which the prime minister presented his work in Greece, while he spoke positively about Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the Mitsotakis family in general.
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