Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos who is ironically of Turkish ethnicity continued his war of words with opposition conservative New Democracy politicians over Macedonia.
Kammenos picked up on the political crisis in Macedonia to warn against the spread of Islam in the Balkans and called for the creation of a Christian crescent across the region that will fight against Islamism. To this, New Democracy officials Giorgos Koumoutsakos and Adonis Georgiadis sternly warned the Defense Minister that he is spouting nonsense.
Kammenos responded to the two New Democracy officials that late New Democracy party leader Konstantinos Karamanlis would have approved of his comments. “There are money pouring in from unusual sources, from Turkey, to build universities and mosques in Albania, in Skopje and in Kosovo. Islamic fundamentalism needs to be stopped by a Christian crescent, otherwise it will lead to more terror attacks in the future”, Kammenos said, referring to Macedonia as Skopje, as Greek nationalists commonly do. His comments were prompted by the attempts to form a new coalition in Macedonia, which Kammenos said will be led by the ethnic Albanian parties.
The Greek Defense Minister also reiterated his position that he is against a solution to the name issue with Macedonia that would include this word in any future name. Georgiadis and Koumoutsakos reminded him that the position of the Government in which he sits is that Macedonia can be part of a future name, to which Kammenos said that it may be the position of the far left SYRIZA party, which is the senior coalition partner, but is not the position of his nationalist Independent Greeks party. Greece has blocked Macedonia from joining NATO and opening European Union accession talks over the name issue, and former Greek Prime Minister have openly called for the partition of Macedonia along ethnic lines.