EnetEnglish.gr, 21:59 Friday 21 March 2014
Cabinet secretary admits being an 'anticommunist' since the cradle
Left has 'plagued' Greece since 1942, says close Samaras aide Takis Baltakos
Cabinet secretary Takis Baltakos says he's been an anticommunist 'since I was a little baby. That's how I was born, that's how I grew up and that's how I will die'
The most powerful government official and one of the prime minister's closest aides has said that he has been an "anticommunist" all his life and that the Greek left has "plagued" the country since 1942, the year it took up arms against the occupying Nazis.
"Of course I am an anti-communist. That's not in question. Since I was a little baby. That's how I was born, that's how I grew up and that's how I will die," cabinet secretary Takis Baltakos told Vima FM, adding his view that the Greek left has "plagued" the country since the 1940s.
"I believe that the Greek left, from 1942 onwards - before it didn't do much wrong - but from the murder of Psarros onwards, it has plagued the country. That's what I believe and I'm not alone. I don't want to talk about (whether it has done something positive), but I have not seen anything positive," added Baltakos, who was personally appointed by Samaras to the key political position of government general secretary in June 2012.
In 1942, the Greek left were the main force in establishing the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS) which, with Allied help, waged a guerrilla campaign against the Nazi German occupiers.
Dimitrios Psarros was a Greek army officer and leader of third most significant resistance organisation during the second world war. He was executed in April 1944 when his organisation was attacked by the main resistance group, the communist-backed ELAS.
In his radio interview, Baltakos said that a contentious provision to automatically deport any migrant found to have made false racism or abuse allegations against the police is likely to be tabled in parliament for a third time, despite the objections of junior coalition partner Pasok. He said migrants were making false claims about being psychically or racially attacked by police in order to be granted a temporary stay in the country while investigations into the claims took place.
"There are complaints from police unions across the country about false, groundless and unfair complaints against them," he said. "These affect the lives of humble people on €700 per month."
When asked about Baltakos' remarks, Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said they showed that the aide was an "old problem".
Baltakos has been identified with the most rightwing section of New Democracy, and is said to have "led opposition" to proposals crackdown on neonazi Golden Dawn.
In December 2012, he told the head of the National Commission for Human Rights, Kostis Papaioannou, that "he doesn't care, in his capacity as a representative of the government and New Democracy, about the committee's work and human rights, nor about the country's international obligations". Papaioannou was presenting his annual report to the government. He said Baltakos opened it at a chapter on racist violence and threw it on the table, saying, "We are not interested in the human rights of foreigners."
In 2013, he is alleged to have said that cooperation between New Democracy and Golden Dawn in future elections was "undesirable but not an unlikely possibility".
In May 2013, it was reported that he was one of the key officials involved in holding up an antiracism bill on the grounds that it could "potentially cause problems". The bill would have outlawed incitement against people because of their race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and impose jail sentences of up to six years on offenders".
Baltakos was a leading voice against moving against Golden Dawn, up to September 2013, when the government was pushed into taken action after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas. According to the Wall Street Journal, Baltakos said that a crackdown "would backfire, winning the party sympathy from voters disgusted with the establishment and alienating conservative constituencies such as the army and church."