Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to clarify his stance on a visit to three Aegean border islands by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, which was attended by far-right Golden Dawn officials, said on Monday. in Parliament the deputies of the socialist PASOK and the centrist Potami.
Kammenos – who is also the leader of the right-wing government coalition partner, the Independent Greeks – visited military installations on the southeastern Aegean islands of Kastelorizo, Rho and Strongyli on Monday accompanied by senior defense officials and from members of parliament’s defense committee, in a move widely seen as expressing support following comments by Turkish officials questioning Greece’s borders.
The visit, however, has raised concerns among opposition parties, who see the defense minister’s tactics as ostentation that could lead to an escalation of tensions with Ankara.
PASOK House representative Thanasis Theoharopoulos described the visit to Kastelorizo as a “nationalist-populist rally”, taking issue with the presence of Golden Dawn lawmaker Ilias Kasidiaris and other neo-Nazi party officials.
“The defense minister’s stance on national issues is leading the country down a dangerous path, with the complicity of Alexis Tsipras,” Theoharopoulos said, referring to the leftist prime minister. “From the outset, we emphasized that public relations stunts on national issues are extremely dangerous, a stance that was vindicated by the disgraceful – to the country – images of government officials arm in arm with Golden Dawn.”
“Minister Kammenos is no longer just a prankster, he is also becoming dangerous,” said Potami chief Stavros Theodorakis. “Patriotic politics doesn’t need politicians in fatigues and Golden Dawners in civilian clothes.”