A leading MP of the SYRIZA-led government over the weekend sought to downplay remarks by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who has strayed from the official line by describing the two Greek soldiers being held in Turkey as “hostages.”
Speaking to Skai, Filis, a former education minister, said that Kammenos, who is leader of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL), was expressing his personal opinion. “[His statement] does not reflect the position of the government,” Filis said.
Last week, alternate Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis clearly differentiated his stance from that of Kammenos, saying that “exaggerated rhetoric as expressed from various sides, about hostages, captivity and all the rest does not contribute toward our goal.”
The government’s handling of the issue was again strongly criticized by Greece’s opposition over the weekend. Speaking to Skai, New Democracy’s shadow defense minister Vassilis Kikilias said that divisions within the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition were seriously compromising the country’s foreign policy.