(Author: Damian Mac Con Uladh, 19/09/2014)
Takis Baltakos, former cabinet secretary and right-hand man of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, maintained direct lines of communication with Golden Dawn, even to the point of instructing the neonazi party on how to vote in parliament and congratulating its MPs for their rowdy behaviour, a daily newspaper has revealed.
Baltakos was forced to resign in April after a video surfaced showing him engaged in what appeared to be a friendly conversation, in his parliamentary office, with leading Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris.
While Baltakos admitted to having “coincidental meetings” with Golden Dawn figures, a series of reports published in the Efimerida ton Syntakton (Efsyn) daily on Thursday and Friday show this interaction was “not limited to social contact and gossip”, according to Efsyn journalist Dimitris Psarras, who has authored a number of books on Golden Dawn.
He said Baltakos sent messages, via a conduit, to Kasidiaris advising him on how Golden Dawn MPs should vote on issues which were dividing the then three-way coalition between New Democracy, Pasok and Democratic Left.
Baltakos relayed his messages via Theodoros Zoubos, a research assistant in Kasidiaris’ parliamentary office. One message, sent by Zoubos to Kasidiaris on 5 February 2013, read: “Takis Michalolias and Takis Baltakos have just been to the office.”
Takis Michalolias, a well-known criminal lawyer, is a brother of Golden Dawn’s leader Nikos Michaloliakos who changed his surname in the 1980s. Efsyn suggests that the two men had come to Golden Dawn’s offices to meet Michaloliakos.
Later that month, on 25 February, Zoubos sent another message to Kasidiaris in which Baltakos gave instructions on how Golden Dawn was to vote in parliament:
“Baltakos told me that tomorrow noon we must attend the committee on drugs for articles 62 and 83 of [Democratic Left justice minister Antonis] Roupakiotis. Voting will be by a show of hands. He also told me about Thursday, amendment 85 on race in military schools. I told him we’re aware of that!”
Articles 62 and 83 concerned riders to a bill that would have given the Supreme Court and Council of State the right to reopen civil cases, following a decision of the European Court of Human Rights. It is understood that this would have allowed the courts to re-examine the ban on associations of Turkish-speaking Greek citizens from using the term “Turkish” in their title, such as the Turkish Union of Xanthi.
Roupakiotis’ amendment was subsequently defeated with the votes of conservative New Democracy, nationalist Independent Greeks and neonazi Golden Dawn.
Amendment 85 referred to an attempt by 85 New Democracy MPs to ban admission to the country’s armed forces and police of anyone who was not of “Greek race“. The amendment was subsequently withdrawn for “technical reasons” after junior coalition partners Pasok and Democratic Left condemned it as racist.
In a third message, sent on 17 May 2013, Baltakos appears to applaud the actions of a Golden Dawn MP, Panayiotis Iliopoulos, who was expelled from parliament for calling other MPs “goats” and “jokers”. As his fellow Golden Dawn MPs left the chamber, the slogan “Heil Hitler” could be heard three times.
The text read: “Baltakos stopped by and told us to pass on congratulations to Iliopoulos.”
On Friday, Efsyn reported that Baltakos said the texts were sent in the “national interest”. It also said that Baltakos continued to send messages to Golden Dawn after the murder, by a Golden Dawn functionary, of Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013.