A SYRIZA MP that questioned Greece's sovereignty over the eastern Aegean Imia islets, the site of a military standoff between Greece and Turkey in 1996, has been dismissed as the leftist party's representative in the Parliament's national commission of human rights.
“The personal views of Nassos Theodoridis are far from those of SYRIZA. By no means do they represent [the party's official line], press spokesman Panos Skourletis tweeted on Wednesday.
Commentators saw the decision as a warning to other SYRIZA officials that have in the past distanced themselves from the official line of the country's main opposition -- a collection of leftist, including some more militant, groupings.
In a message posted on Facebook ahead of the anniversary of the Imia crisis, in which three Greek navy officers died, Theodoridis questioned Greece's sovereignty over the islands, which he referred to with their Turkish name “Kardak.”
Theodoridis said the Greek military should stop chasing away Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean Sea and that Athens should give up claims of extending Greek territorial waters to 12 miles.
Greece claims a right to unilateral expansion to 12 nautical miles, based on the International Law of the Sea - a casus belli for Ankara.
The whole idea of national sovereign rights, Theodoridis said, is an invention of official state propaganda “to extract the consent of the oppressed masses.”
New Democracy, the leader of the country's coalition government, slammed Theodoridis's “anti-Greek delirium” and urged SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to dismiss him from the party.
“Otherwise,” a statement said, “[Tsipras] will merely confirm that these are also his own positions and those of his party.”
In late January 1996 the US intervened to stop Greek and Turkish warships from clashing over the two uninhabited islands, known in Greece as Imia and in Turkey as Kardak, in the eastern Aegean. Three Greek navy officers died when their helicopter crashed during a reconnaissance mission in the area.