Greek PM admits phone tapping was wrong

Kyriakos Mitsotakis
Kyriakos Mitsotakis Copyright ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP or licensors
By Sudesh Baniya
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He admitted there was no sufficient explanation for the surveillance of an opposition leader, with national elections nearing.

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis admitted there were no significant national security reasons for phone-taping political opponents during a debate on Wednesday. 

Mitsotakis had previously claimed to be unaware of the surveillance activity, despite taking the country's intelligence department under his control after his election. 

"The explanations given for this surveillance were not sufficient," he said at the debate, which came before national elections on May 21. 

The Greek Prime Minister has been under fire after it was revealed that secret services were bugging the phones of opposing politicians, businessmen, and journalists for months. 

Nikos Androulakis, leader of the Greek Socialist Party, alleged there was an attempt to bug his phone with spyware, following a check by the EU Parliament services. 

However, the Greek PM said yesterday he possesses "absolutely no risk to the country's national security and should never have been under surveillance." 

The ruling New Democracy Party admitted to the opposition leader's allegation but denied its involvement in the attempt. 

The scandal, now widely known as the 'Greek Watergate' has caused a stir amongst EU members and their journalists' associations. 

This development is considered to have an impact on the upcoming elections, with Mitsotakis becoming more vocal about the issue in recent weeks. 

Speaking on OPEN TV about the Turkish elections, Mitsotakis criticised Turkey's 'blue homeland' strategy - the idea that Turkey should reclaim maritime power in the Mediterranean. 

"The ‘blue homeland’ has been a building block of Turkish expansionism in recent years, posing a potential threat to our homeland," he said. 

Despite the improvement in relations after Greece pledged its support to earthquake relief efforts, the Prime Minister did not acknowledge plans of further cooperation, regardless of who gets elected. 

"Turkish policy is not going to change overnight,” he said. "I welcome the relative improvement in the climate following the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, but I have no illusions."

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