Opposition leader and former prime minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday accused his successor, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, of naivete following the Greek premier's announcement that the government plans to ask the British Museum to temporarily return the Parthenon sculptures for Greece's 2021 independence anniversary celebrations.
In a post on Facebook, Tsipras said that Mitsotakis' “naive initiative… allows the British Museum to appear as the rightful owner” of the splendid marble sculptures that once graced the ancient Athenian citadel.
“Instead of letters to the museum asking for a loan, [the government] should ask for the permanent return of the Parthenon Marbles, on the occasion of the 200 years since the Greek War of Independence and with the support of all of us,” the leader of leftist SYRIZA, the main opposition, said.
Government sources responded to Tsipras' post by accusing the former premier of having done nothing tangible in four years in power for the sculptures' return to Greece.
“Mr. Tsipras is not a current affairs commentator. He is a former prime minister. Over four years, what initiatives did he adopt, apart from some generalized comments on the issue? None,” they said in a statement.