The government is attempting to “sanitize” a party that is on trial for criminal activities, the Group of 53, a faction within the ruling leftist SYRIZA party, said in a scathing statement on Tuesday.
The announcement by the SYRIZA radicals was referring to a visit on Monday by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos – also leader of junior right-wing coalition partner Independent Greeks – to three islands in the southeastern Aegean that was attended by members of Parliament’s defense committee, including three SYRIZA MPs and officials from far-right Golden Dawn.
“The government’s visit together with the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn to the border islands serves to sanitize a party that is on trial for criminal activities,” the statement said, adding that “consorting in such an ingenuous display of flag-waving is part of the policy production process that dominates the far-right agenda.”
“At this crucial junction, with [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan shaping the terms and conditions of a nation in a state of emergency and exposing the broader region to destabilization, such actions are also dangerous,” the Group of 53 said.
It was referring to recent comments by Kammenos challenging rhetoric from Ankara questioning Greece’s borders, as well as the defense minister’s statements that Monday’s visit was an expression of support for the armed forces at border islands.
“Supporting this agenda is not just none of our business, but also embarrassing,” the Group of 53 said.