Crisis pacifies otherwise divided House

Crisis pacifies otherwise divided House

Despite the existing differences in what is normally a intensely polarized Greek Parliament, which convened Tuesday to discuss the unfolding developments concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a more consensual approach to foreign policy emerged – something not seen in a long time.

The differences between the government and SYRIZA, such as the issue of sending defense equipment to Ukraine and how to deal with the energy crisis, were expressed or clarified in moderate tones.

“It is very important to focus more on the positive messages that Parliament can send and to reduce to a minimum any of our disagreements,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said after having heard the first statements of the other political leaders.

He also lauded the stance of main opposition parties SYRIZA and KINAL for clearly condemning “without any asterisks and footnotes Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”

Echoing the same conciliatory tone, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said that “when the moments are critical it is necessary to have a high level of political dialogue.”

The moderate stance of the two leaders was also on display during the part of the debate on Greek-Turkish relations. 

“Despite the tension and despite the provocative rhetoric of Turkey, the framework of bilateral contacts at the level of both political negotiations and confidence building measures, as well as exploratory contacts, is open,” Mitsotakis said. 

“Personally, I have never closed the door to dialogue with Turkey. I am personally ready to meet with [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan at any time, and indeed the current circumstances may justify such a meeting.”

“I think everyone today has realized that revisionism in practice can come at a huge cost,” he said.

For his part, Tsipras welcomed “the fact that you have declared openness in the dialogue with Turkey.”

“I think it is a good strategy for the country. The position and the attitude are correct,” he added.

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