ND leader Mitsotakis: Tsipras underestimated incident with Greek soldiers in Turkey

New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, referring to the incident with the two Greek servicemen being held in custody in Turkey, on Tuesday accused the prime minister responding too late and underestimating the significance of the incident.

“Mr. Tsipras responded with a huge delay. I would not have understimated the incident and would have mobilised all international alliances,” he said to the radio station Real FM.

I have never used national issues for domestic consumption, claimed Mitsotakis.

The ND leader said that he would participate in a meeting of the political party leaders if this was convened by the Greek president but explained that “consensus requires two and Mr. Tsipras has displayed no desire for consensus”.

Mitsotakis said that if the prime minister asks to brief him, he will accept.

On the FYROM name issue he criticised the way the prime minister has handled the case, noting that he had not briefed the opposition party leaders while engaging in secret diplomacy. Mitsotakis underlined that changes to FYROM’s constitution are necessary but not in themselves sufficient for reaching an agreement.

On Turkey’s attitude in Cyprus’ EEZ, Mitsotakis said that any intervention in Cyprus’ sovereign rights is unacceptable and should be condemned by the international community as a whole.

The main opposition leader also disputed government claims that Greece was heading for a “clean exit” from the financial assistance programmes. “There is no clean exit, it is Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ new dirty lie,” Mitsotakis said.

“The government has already voted in measures for 2019 and 2020, cuts in pensions and the tax-free allowance. If he really believes what he says about a clean exit, let him come to parliament and annul them,” he added.

ND’s leader called for a strategic investor monitored by a strong supervisory authority to take over the Athens and Thessaloniki water companies, Athens Water and EYDAP, to ensure that water was not commercially exploited through excessive rate increases.

Regarding privatisations, he said that the goverenment was undermining instead of supporting them and was delaying privatisations “because it wants to use [state-controlled firms] as a hiring machine”.