SYRIZA urges Minister of Defense to stop escalating confrontation

The official opposition called on the current Greek government not to escalate confrontation in the situation with Turkey and stop encouraging “extreme right, pseudo-patriotic and nationalist tendencies.”

In a joint statement by the heads of the shadow cabinet – Foreign Minister Georgios Katrugalos, National Defense Minister Theodoris Dritsas and Deputy Defense Minister Georgios Tsipras of the Progressive Alliance SYRIZA – they speak of an unhealthy political climate and “practices similar to those in the case of Operation Shield “* that refer to the “dark times”. Realize that by what you do and say, you encourage the most extreme, radical, far right, pseudo-patriotic and nationalist tendencies that exist in a minority in society, but have strong presence in your party“.


We wish the Minister of National Defense, Mr. Nikos Panagiotopoulos, a speedy recovery.

But we urge him to stop reinvigorating the radicalization of the political environment. Just today, the Minister of National Defense, instead of improving the situation of the personnel of the armed forces, characterized the headquarters [дырявыми,  как] “Swiss cheese”, and said in an interview about the enactment of the Military Penal Code against military personnel who leak data.

Instead of preventing the government from sending heavy weapons to Ukraine, as we are all informed by foreign officials, instead of stopping the theater of irrationality, “hide” the elements known to all interested parties and coordinate with the rest of Europe of the government and report in detail what exactly they are sent for reasons of international order and security, as well as a democratic obligation to its citizens, the Minister of National Defense is looking for “leaks” in the army and headquarters.

The path the government has taken to get out of its own impasse is extremely dangerous. Is this a method of creating an atmosphere of division and finding redemptive “culprits” in the face of impasses? When the prime minister declares that “the time has come for a nationwide rally against an unpredictable neighbor”, what is he really trying to achieve? Reconciliation or radicalization?

If he were seeking reconciliation, the first step would be to inform the Greek people and the opposition about important foreign and armament policy decisions, instead of playing hide-and-seek and learning from third parties.

The Minister of National Defense must apologize to the Progressive MP of the SYRIZA Alliance of Lesbos Prefecture, Yiannis Burnous, whom he arbitrarily and unfairly slandered, saying that he allegedly revealed secret military secrets, referring solely to the positions or orders of the army. Giannis Burnous and his family have received a flurry of terrorist threats and insults since the day before yesterday from the organized mechanism of far-right Internet trolls over Mr. Panagiotopoulos’ statements.

Once again, we point out that the first culprit of any leaks is the government itself and the minister, and the “cache” they have chosen. List of weapon systems and ammunition that has already been sent or will be sent to Ukraine is not a deliberate leak of information to anyone, but information available from the Greek government itself in many sources, both domestic and international. As SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, we have responsibly decided not to interfere with the publication of such data. We asked the government to make it official. The government irresponsibly, anti-democratically and hypocritically denied this. Now it is aware of the consequences of its choice and instead of thinking, it threatens to activate the Military Penal Code.

Mr. Minister, sincerely and from the bottom of our hearts we wish you iron health, but, by God, not an iron bar. For any suspicion, the door must be closed, similar to the one in the “Shield” case, which refers to the dark times. Realize that by what you do and say you are encouraging the most extreme, intolerant, far right, pseudo-patriotic and nationalist tendencies that exist in a minority in society but have a strong presence in your party.

*Operation Shield. (Η υπόθεση ΑΣΠΙΔΑ – (abbreviation for “Officers save your homeland, ideals, democracy, merit”) – a political and military scandal that erupted in Greece in mid-May 1965 and was one of the reasons that led to the resignation of the government in the same year. After 2 years, this story led to a military putsch and the so-called dictatorship. “Black Colonels”.

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