New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis condemned the near lynching of a 29-year-old Sunday school teacher in Thessaloniki after the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the start of the Pontian genoicide even as he announced that his party has petitioned the UN to recognise, the genocide.
The victim had held a Greek flag at the commemoration but folded it up and placed it in his jacket as he left, possibly knowing he was being followed by the three culprits, who threw him to the ground and maniacally kicked him in the head and groin.
They stopped only when a crowd gathered, and bystanders said they believed the intention was to kill him.
“New Democracy has raised the issue of recognition of the genocide at the United Nations,” Mitsotakis told Parliament.
Mitsotakis spoke of a well-planned and multi-pronged campaign to bring the genocide to the attention of the international community.
He said his party will undertake “well-organised initiatives to promote this national duty at the European level”.
“The effort will begin in the European Parliament,” Mitsotakis’ said, noting that New Democracy’s MEPs will immediately after the 26 May Europarliament election actively pursue recognition of the Pontian genocide, and the same will be done by the party’s representatives in the Council of Europe.
Asia Minor Catastrophe: The disaster of 1922
Speaking of the events of 1922 at the end of the Greek-Turkish war in Asia Minor Mitsotakis said that, “Hellenism never sought ethnic cleansing. It was subjected to persecution. The tragedy, however, did not end in 1922”.
“The Pontians came to Greece after the Asia Minor catastrophe. Undoubtedly they were met with the distrust and sometimes even the hostility of the local populations, resulting in an unjust social marginalisation. It is a matter of national responsibility to remember and honour these people.”
The opposition leader noted that the successful assimilation of the Pontian Greeks in the society of mainland Greece during the inter-war period was “one of the greatest successes of the Modern Greek state in its two centuries of existence”.
“The Pontians as a select part of Hellenism who honoured the fatherland in every way and continue to do so – without ever forgetting their roots and just claims, which New Democracy supports – by proudly participating in every patriotic battle. We stand beside them and we participate in the Day of Remembrance and Honour of Pontian Hellenism and we thus honour the Greek nation,” the opposition leader said.
“The effort will begin in the European Parliament,” Mitsotakis’ said, noting that New Democracy’s MEPs will immediately after the 26 May Europarliament election actively promote recognition of the Pontian genocide, and the same will be done by the party’s representatives in the Council of Europe.