Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday accused main opposition New Democracy President Kyriakos Mitsotakis of “great hypocrisy” concerning the Prespes Agreement with North Macedonia, in a press conference for regional television channels to be broadcast on Monday night.
According to Tsipras, Mitsotakis must have been aware of the contents of a letter written by former premier Costas Karamanlis to US President George W. Bush on this issue and “now owes an apology to the Greek people”. The contents of the letter, in which Karamanlis seems open to a deal where Greece’s northern neighbour would be called ‘Macedonia-Skopje’ at the UN but ‘Macedonia’ in its interior, were published by a Greek newspaper at the weekend.
“Today, on our northern border we do not have a wound, we have a friendly country whose security is guaranteed by the Greek army, whose air space is patrolled by Greek fighter aircraft and not Turkish aircraft,” the prime minister pointed out.
“If I had written such a letter as that of Mr. Karamanlis, which said to them ‘keep your constitutional name, don’t change it, call yourselves Macedonia and let the countries that have recognised you as such call you Macedonia…you can imagine what they would say and do. We are talking about great hypocrisy,” Tsipras said, accusing ND of not hesitating to divide the country in order to erode support for the government and Tsipras.
In other parts of the conference, Tsipras said SYRIZA’s aim was to win the elections, “if only by one vote”, repeating that voters will decide based on who they believe will take the country forward and continue the effort to improve their lives.
He also accused ND of “arrogance” and of “blackmailing” the Greek people with the prospect of repeat elections unless the party was given a “carte blanche” on July 7. Tsipras insisted that Mitsotakis was avoiding dialogue and a direct confrontation with him because his party’s programme was “identical to that of the International Monetary Fund” and would not stand up to very close scrutiny, especially with regard to the pension system.