Following Holy Epiphany celebrations, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who attended the blessing of the waters on the northeast Greek island of Samothrace, responded to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest public hate comment.
During his election speech in Izmir, Mr Erdogan recited a verse from a Turkish folk song from the era of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, in order to win the favour of the audience.
With municipal elections approaching in March and Izmir being the traditional stronghold of the opposition, the Turkish president used a jingoistic reference in an attempt to awaken the nationalist feeling of the western port constituents.
“The wretched Greek cannot achieve his purposes. They say do not pass, I’ll go to Smyrna, I’ll throw the Greeks into the sea,” the lyrics say.
“I will defend and we’ll defend what we consider to be beneficial for the country,” he added.
The Greek PM replied directly to the Turkish president quoting another famous verse, from Bertolt Brecht.
“Towards the outside, I would like to send a message that, despite our internal differences, Greeks are united and will defend the sovereignty and integrity of our homeland,” Tsipras said.
“I heard my friend, President Erdogan, reading lines from a poem that praises war… I’d like to use a verse by Bertolt Brecht who wrote: ‘General, man is very useful. He can fly and he can kill. But he has one defect: He can think’.”
Meanwhile, main opposition leader and New Democracy party president Kyriakos Mitsotakis, attended the Epiphany liturgy in Rafina, near Mati, the Attica town that was ravaged by the wildfires last year.
“After a particularly difficult period, my wish is for 2019 to be a year filled with light and joy for all Greeks,” he said.
Finally, the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos attended the country’s main Epiphany service held by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymous in the main cathedral on Syros islands, in the Cyclades.