In a period of tensions with Turkey, and turmoil in our broader region, the last think we need is a lack of understanding and opportunistic games in the hybrid (left-wing, right-wing) ruling coalition.
The defence minister, who is known for his irresponsibility, plans one thing, and the prime minister’s office another.
Whom should Greek citizens believe about the recent incident with the Turkish helicopter over the island of Ro? Should one believe the defence minister, who speaks of a dangerous provocation with the firing of warning shots by the Greek guard, or leaks from the prime minister’s office that there was no violation of Greek airspace and that it was a common incident of lesser significance?
There was no official statement on what exactly happened, obviously so as not to reveal the complete difference of opinion and tactics within the ruling alliance.
It is, of course, not the first time that the defence minister marches to his own drummer, playing the role of super-patriot. There was a clear difference of opinion on the issue of the two Greek army officers, and the PM’s office imposed a temporary gag order on the defence minister.
The same occurred with the “Pyrpolitis” military exercise, the scenarios that it dealt with (retaking an occupied islet), and Defence Minister Panos Kammenos’ related rhetorical flourishes.
Even as the government tries to tone down the rhetoric in connection with Turkish provocations, and avoids responding on the same wavelength, the defence minister has chosen the dangerous and problematic tactic of shrill tones and grandiose rhetoric against Ankara.
This lack of harmony in addressing the Turkish provocations of the last months is not only dangerous, but also unacceptable for a democratic country. Greece has no reason to follow Erdogan’s provocations and threats and to maintain a climate of tension and uneasiness.
The prime minister has the responsibility and duty to fashion and protect a unified national strategy that will secure the interests of the country.
The country cannot be held hostage to an unpredictable and irresponsible coalition partner, who is interested only in his own, personal political survival.
We have paid dearly for various super-patriots in the past, and we need not suffer them again.