New Democracy: PM Alexis Tsipras official visit toTurkey was ‘badly planned’

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ official visit to Turkey was “badly planned and its results raise a series of serious concerns and questions,” New Democracy (ND) said in a statement on Wednesday, following the PM’s two-day visit to Turkey that ends today.

“Everything indicates that Mr. Tsipras’ purpose was to guarantee, at a heavy price for the Greek side, a somewhat vague period of de-escalation (of tension) in Greek-Turkish relations, given the fact Greece has entered an election campaign trajectory,” the main opposition party said in a statement. It added that since local-government elections in Turkey are taking place in March, the Tsipras visit proved beneficial to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by bolstering his image, among other things.

ND expressed its belief in continuing Greek-Turkish talks, but, it added, “this dialogue must be substantive and productive and obviously not detrimental to Greek national interests.” This demands “excellent preparation, and the process of bilateral dialogue in a calm atmosphere, not during tensions produced by Turkey, as has been happening lately.”

It cited for its criticism actions that Turkey took right before Tsipras’s visit, such as “a barrage of 31 violations of national Greek airspace the day before the visit” and statements by the Turkish government spokesman, also the day before the visit, who raised questions related to what he claimed was a “Turkish minority” in Thrace and to the terms of the Lausanne Treaty. These and other statements “allowed Turkey to set her own agenda” for the visit, ND said.