Home05-01-2006: Interview of the Minister of Public Order to ΑΝΤ1 radio and the journalists G. Antoniou and Th. Siafakas

05-01-2006: Interview of the Minister of Public Order to ΑΝΤ1 radio and the journalists G. Antoniou and Th. Siafakas

Athens, 05/01/06
JOURNALIST: We have the Minister of Public Order, Mr. George Voulgarakis, on the phone right now. Welcome to Ant1 radio Mr. Minister and happy New Year.
GVOULGARAKIS: Thank you very much, happy new year to you too.
JOURNALIST: My colleague, Thanos Siafakas, who is here with me in the studio, also sends you his greetings.
GVOULGARAKIS: I would also like to greet you Mr. Siafakas as well as your listeners.
JOURNALIST: To start with, Mr. Voulgarakis, how does a successful Minister feel right now? I mean, a Minister who was successful in all stages of the Olympic Games, this great challenge for our country, with huge international impact. How does the same Public Order Minister feel after the recent events? Does he feel attacked? Does he feel that he is not treated fairly? Does he feel insulted? Does he feel that not enough attention is paid to him and maybe underestimated? Does he maybe feel that along with the Minister, a lot of people are not fairly treated too, although they work for security and in order to improve things in this field?
GVOULGARAKIS: Mr. Antoniou, when one chooses the road of politics, he must face both the good and the bad moments. There are certainly successful moments as well as failures. There are things that happen and we see them everyday and other things that do not happen, although we would have liked them to. This is politics and let me say that it is more than politics, this is life itself.
Therefore, I believe that when one makes a final evaluation, what counts is whether he has moved to a positive or to a negative direction. Indeed, publicity these past days has given rise to a sensation which is not the best for the field of public order. Nevertheless, I do believe that this sensation prevailing these days does not do justice to the huge work that has been carried out in the Ministry the past years, a work that was obvious, measurable and real.
Would you like me to accept that mistakes have been made? Of course, this is the case. Would you like me to agree that omissions have taken place? This can also be true and we can further discuss the cases, one by one. However, it is a huge overreaction for the media to say that from one day to the other the police has become useless, that it does not work and that nothing has been done all these years.
We have achieved a lot, we have proceeded to a lot of restructuring, and we have founded new departments. Many things have been accomplished and the results are measurable.
JOURNALIST: Mr. Minister, let me ask you to develop this further, in other words, if you feel that either the police or the departments or you personally are under attack.
GVOULGARAKIS: Let me conclude with what I want to say Mr. Siafakas. To make a long story short, I want to tell you that a great job has been done in the past two years, which was founded on another similar job 2, 3 or 4 years ago by my predecessors at the Ministry, who were working towards the same direction.
Certainly, Mr. Siafakas and Mr. Antoniou, the situation in such a huge and multi-faceted organization cannot change from one day to the other. It needs time, work, perseverance, plan and constant efforts. At this point, I would like to thank the staff and all those who work at the Police Force, because they are developing a huge effort in spite of adverse conditions and particularities. I would also like to reassure these people that I shall stand by them and that we, the leadership shall stand by them to the greatest possible extent.
Apart from that, Mr. Siafakas, let me also tell you that I was never a partisan of this theory that you are talking about. Never have I believed in conspiracy theories, nor have I ever believed in the theory of personal blows. These days I have been watching the Media either writing or stating very different things. This is why I want to tell you that personally speaking, I have no conflict whatsoever with any of my colleagues in the government.
I do not feel that there is anyone either undermining or menacing or creating problems for me. I have never said such thing. A plethora of opinions has been written or stated, although I have never said anything of the sort. It is very common for me to see that they place words in my mouth that I have never pronounced.
JOURNALIST: Would you qualify your relationship with Mr. Papaligouras good? Do you communicate? Do you cooperate with Mr. Papaligouras?
GVOULGARAKIS: Of course we communicate; we both attend the Council of Ministers` meetings abroad and we have joint competences that we handle together. Listen Mr. Siafakas: I think that there is a whole lot of exaggeration in this field and it is more than true that the news lately have been extremely revealing, moving around imaginary scenarios, extreme exaggeration, complete irrelevance and also hatred in some cases.
To take the example of the two assassinated police agents, some people have even come to the point of saying that the so-called Russian Mafia arrested and executed the Russian fugitive to cover other traces of its own. Other people have also been claiming that the police officers themselves executed the Russian fugitive and transferred him to the spot where he was found, just to show that he committed suicide.
The news has also been filled with “fake” forensic doctors. I think that the public cannot but laugh at the Media and the 8 o`clock news in this country. In other words, we have a laboratory-produced reality between 8 and 9 o`clock at night and the reality of life itself. I certainly cannot follow them in this derision Mr. Antoniou and Mr. Siafakas and let me also give you another explanation, because I have also heard people saying “Where is the Minister? Why does he remain silent?”
JOURNALIST: Precisely, Mr. Minister, I was going to ask you just that, why was the Minister of Public Order absent from the incident with the explosive device in Syntagma square and why was he absent during the story with the Pakistani detainees?
GVOULGARAKIS: No, this is not true.
JOURNALIST: The Minister was absent from the case with the Russian criminal. You only appeared today in public Mr. Minister. Why is that?
GVOULGARAKIS: Hold on a second and let me explain. There are two different things. It is different to be absent from what is happening and it is different not to constantly speak to the Press and the TV Channels every single day, every single hour, every single minute. The latter is a quite different posture.
A judicial investigation is in progress on the assassination of the two police agents belonging to the Detainees` Transport Department. A judicial investigation is in progress on the transports case. When I make a public intervention, it is colored in some way through a specific process.
I am saying that because the first intervention I made when I was called upon to comment the so-called Pakistani incident was a short and Doric statement in my office after analyzing and presenting the procedure in an informal briefing to your colleagues, in other words the journalists. Right after that, the newspapers broke out with headlines such as “Voulgarakis intervenes with the work of Justice”.
Now, we must make a decision now. Does the Minister talk and thus intervene in the work of Justice, influencing it in any way? Does he not talk and thus is hiding because he is afraid? Make up your minds. Anything I had to say regarding all these issues, I have said it in a crystal clear way, which has been completely understood by everyone.
JOURNALIST: However, some answers needed to be given Mr. Mister, isn`t that so? What you say is definitely important, nevertheless, issues related to national security, very important issues for the entire country have risen here, in this case. Shouldn`t the Minister have talked in public?
GVOULGARAKIS: But Mr. Siafakas, is this something we can talk about as invited guests at the 8 o`clock news?
JOURNALIST: No, I agree with you on that, but why not holding a press conference? Do you identify the public opinion with the 8 o`clock news? Don`t you think that informing the public is something more than the TV 8 o`clock news ratings` competition, in which you are of course not interested?
GVOULGARAKIS: Let me ask you the following question: I made a statement, an official statement on behalf of the Ministry of Public Order on these issues. It was my duty to make this statement and this has been misinterpreted as an intervention in the work of Justice. Taking this into account, where would an open press conference lead us, with a case-by-case commenting on issues rightly investigated by Justice today?
And since I have this opportunity, let me tell you something else I want to say. Justice is independent and they are right to investigate on anything they have to. I have never said that I am in conflict with the Justice Department, although some people have said that. I therefore repeat that I was never in conflict with the Justice Department nor will I ever be. I completely trust our Justice, which is justified in doing the work it has to do. This is what the judicial system does. This work is different from ours.
But while all this is in process, I have no right to interfere in any way, nor can I create confusion that might allow malicious people to say that Voulgarakis is turning things to the direction he desires or that he has other things in mind or that he might think of staff that might take things on a different path and all this and that.
Right from the beginning I made a very clear statement and I said “Gentlemen, our services are not involved in this incident”. The British, who are allegedly involved, also stated that they are not involved. The Minister of Pakistan also stated that as far as they are concerned, this incident has not occurred since no denouncement was made at their Embassy.
The Pakistani community has different and controversial opinions and other people speak of black and other of white. Theoretically 28 people have allegedly been involved in this procedure but only 8 have been presented so far, and from what I hear there are also controversial testimonies.
In other words, Mr. Siafakas and Mr. Antoniou, my role is not to comment the headlines or to act as a political analyst. I am a Minister and I am judged according to my work and my work is to focus on my tasks and accomplish them in the best possible way. And let me honestly tell you that this is what I am trying to do. Whether I am successful or not, this is for the citizens to judge.
JOURNALIST: We have been listening to you with great interest Mr. Minister, however, there are several highly acute political remarks that I would like to share with you. The opposition constantly claims that there is a political responsibility to be assumed in all these cases. The same position was adopted today by Mr. Alavanos, the Head of the Left Party after meeting Mr. Karamanlis, the Prime Minister. The Secretary of the Communist Party, Mrs. Papariga also made the same statement. It seems that this issue is still open.
JOURNALIST: And it is not just that. Let me add to what George has just said the problem of inside blows to you from your party. For instance, a few days ago we had invited Mr. Kammenos, a prominent member of the New Democracy Party, here in this studio. He said that after the Olympic Games the Police adopted a more relaxed position and that the Olympic “acquis” is not fully explored. You must see that you have become a target inside your own party as well.
GVOULGARAKIS: Let me start by saying, Mr. Antoniou and Mr. Siafakas, that up to this moment I have listened from all opposition parties, either major or minor, to some very serious and carefully made – let me underline that – observations. All members of parliament who have made in some way public their opinions on this issue, have done so in a very considerate way, sincerely trying to seriously approach the matter. This is also true in the case of those politicians who adopt different political and ideological opinions to mine.
This brings me to the following declaration: I thoroughly believe that on January 11th, when the Parliament shall delve into this issue, a very good basis for discussion shall be created; you must know that Parliamentary Commissions seldom do explore matters in depth. I want to point out as of today that I am more than willing to get into the crux of the matter to the extent that I am allowed to speak in public. You must realize that I handle issues for which it is not always plain sailing talking about them or making them public.
Let me also add that the PASOK party, with the exception of the Athanassakis statement which was corrected the day after – I am particularly referring to the conversation with Jack Straw that the Party?s Chairman Mr. G. Papandreou has had – so, with the exception of this sort of backlash, PASOK has adopted a very responsible attitude. Personally, I appreciate this a great deal, because this is a very important issue and one cannot just sell this matter of paramount importance just to win a few more ratings in terms of televised publicity.
So, let me ask the following question. Can we really publicize the names of people who work at the National Intelligence Service without any accountability whatsoever? Shouldn`t the Journalists? Association or the Personal Data Protection Authority address this matter? Shouldn`t we use the Constitution to deal with these issues? Have we come to the point where it is now possible to anyone to deconstruct the system in such a way and with such ease? Listen, Mr. Antoniou and Mr. Siafakas, here in Greece we only have our agencies. We are practically alone out there. Of course our organization must be legitimate from the point of view of democracy; nevertheless, it is we who must take care of all these institutions, with all due respect to the Constitution and the Greek laws. Let me reassure you that to the extent that I am in charge from the political point of view, all this is taken care of.
If we do not protect our own Services, we can only start to imagine what shall happen next. If someone realizes the great ease with which names are published by any newspaper, as has been the case, here, then we can only imagine that tomorrow some foreign power shall consider that in Greece another 50, 60 or 70 names can be published; in this way 10, 20 or 30 networks shall immediately paralyze.
JOURNALIST: Do you know how the journalists were able to locate the names?
GVOULGARAKIS: This is another issue under investigation. But let us return to our point Mr. Siafakas.
JOURNALIST: I am asking you, meaning that maybe Greece has an easily permeable system.
JOURNALIST: Are there several departments that might be undermining each other or to say the least, neutralizing each other`s work?
GVOULGARAKIS: I have a very concrete opinion on nationally delicate issues and I like to believe that to a very big extent all Greek citizens share this opinion of mine. All things said, I am confident that the most serious part of this society does not want to just sacrifice the people from whom our country expects so much. This is my personal assessment. You have every right to think that I am just being romantic, call me what you want, however, as far as I am concerned, I have this deep belief that just like what the Brits, the French, the German, the Italian or the Portuguese are doing, the same should be done by some Greeks too for their country.
JOURNALIST: Having said that Mr. Minister, the contrary opinion expressed was that you cannot claim secrecy for our agents, when these are the same people who have occasionally demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Public Order for trade union issues. I am saying this to make the discussion go further.
GVOULGARAKIS: This is over-simplifying, Mr. Antoniou.
JOURNALIST: It was said though.
GVOULGARAKIS: Is this the only thing that has been said? The people I am talking about do not go to dances or to public feasts. It is okay to be simple, but it is not the same to be simplistic, because it gives certain attributes to one`s character. Things are not like that. Those who claim that things are like that know that this is not the case. When we talk about networks, when we talk about intelligence procedures close to the confidential level, things change.
JOURNALIST: So there are people visible in our Agencies and people not visible.
GVOULGARAKIS: In any case, I am only allowed to enter that much in this discussion, Mr. Antoniou and Mr. Siafakas. You must realize that a Minister of Public Order may only take things to the extent he may do so.
JOURNALIST: Yes, we can respect that.
JOURNALIST: I agree with your resent on the publishing of our agents` names and we can then discuss eventual responsibilities not assumed by journalists. However, somebody leaked those names. Somebody gave them in. And I wonder why.
GVOULGARAKIS: I think this is an issue of professional ethics. Let me strait out something, since you allow me to do so. Mr. Antoniou and Mr. Siafakas, I do not work based on personal bitterness or hatred. I am saying that because you have said that some of my colleagues have adopted certain positions. People respond to situations in the way the think it best and they are right to do so.
The Minister is subject to public criticism from day one in his duties. If a Minister is not willing to be subject to criticism, then s/he should not accept this job. I have never rejected criticism nor have I ever refused to be approached in any way or to be warned on things that I may have done wrong.
I can accept that in the course of time, I have made some mistakes that may be more or less considered serious by some people. I am open to all comments and I believe that all of us should always adopt an open attitude. One cannot say “I want to opt out from this procedure because I do not accept it”. This is not it. I have never said that.
What I am mostly interested in is the implementation of our policy, which I think is best for the interests of our country. This policy should in my view help both the Greek citizens and our country and it should be in conformity with our own judicial and legal culture.
JOURNALIST: There is no objection to that.
GVOULGARAKIS: And as far as I am concerned, do not have any doubts that this is exactly what I am doing.
JOURNALIST: No objection Mr. Minister. Still, can you tell us to the extent that you can and according to the facts that you are allowed to reveal, what has exactly happened in the case of the Pakistani nationals` So many things have been said. What is your feeling in this case, as a Minister of Public Order? We have not heard your opinion.
G. VOULGARAKIS: This is not a question of feelings, Mr. Siafakas. A Minister adopts a certain position based on what he perceives and what he knows.
JOURNALIST: So what do you know about this case?
GVOULGARAKIS: I have made a crystal clear statement right from the beginning, which still stands. If I am asked by my colleagues in the Parliament, I might be able to explain with more details eventually.
JOURNALIST: May I ask this question then and if the Minister wishes to do so, he may respond. Were there any operations with the British? Were there any instructions and enquiries? Was there any kidnapping?
GVOULGARAKIS: Why do you keep insisting on things that I have made straight as of day one?
JOURNALIST: You can tell us that.
GVOULGARAKIS: I have already told you, Mr. Siafakas and Mr. Antoniou, that the Greek Services have not been involved in violent arrests, questioning or any kind of actions as described in the newspapers. Horrible things have been written by journalists. I have been saying that all along. I have also said very clearly that to the extent that we can be aware, there are no other Services either cooperating or involved with us in any way, which have also been involved in this case.
JOURNALIST: So who created all this? Things then are even worse.
GVOULGARAKIS: This requires a different kind of assessment, Mr. Siafakas, and this is neither the time nor the channel to talk about this in a radio broadcast.
JOURNALIST: I can sincerely believe that this has not happened. In this case though I cannot help but think that someone wishes bad things for our country.
JOURNALIST: Not only bad things for our country but also its deconstruction and the creation of a certain ambiance. A lot of assumptions can be made.
GVOULGARAKIS: What I do know is that our National Intelligence Service has suffered a lot from this story. In addition to that, this occurs in a period during which a modernization process is taking place at the National Intelligence Service; we are modernizing and updating the legal operational framework in order to include for the first time the possibility for Parliamentary control. This is something that would scarcely have happened a few years ago. What we are aiming at today is to create a considerable substance for our National Intelligence Service, in order for it to play a leading role in the greater region. This is very important because in this way the NIS can then assist the Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministries and thus, the policies promoted by our country. This is an effort that we are determined to continue and let me reassure you that as far as I am concerned, no one shall ever achieve to halt this process.
JOURNALIST: I think that nobody shall oppose to what the Minister is saying now. The Minister is replying now and we can all make our own conclusions as to what is hiding behind all this fuss, if we accept – and we have no reason not to do so – his affirmative stance, three times stated already in this discussion, that no Greek Services were involved in this, nor was there any involvement of the British Services, at least this is what the British keep saying.
GVOULGARAKIS: To conclude with this issue, Mr. Antoniou and Mr. Siafakas, I wanted to tell you this much: we have embarked on a silent but also systematic work in this Ministry and the fruits of this work can already be counted. I mean that we have practical and measurable results in many ways. For instance, Greece has been trying for the past 20 years to set up a Highway Police and now we have one and as a result, lethal road accidents have been decreased by 70%. This is measurable work; this is being very concrete and specific. And I could go on for long referring to very many things that have been accomplished by the Ministry and that have been accounted for. I do not want the concept of the Police Force to be deconstructed nor do I want to see the effort of our staff wrongly trivialized.
JOURNALIST: Who is doing such a thing Mr. Minister? If there are any actors, we should know about them.
GVOULGARAKIS: Lately we have witnessed a sort of hatred and bitterness against our police staff. Sometimes even police officers who appeared at the 8 o`clock news adopted precisely this attitude. I was personally surprised. The Police Officer in our Police Force is exactly that person who participated in the operation to locate the two fugitives, who went out into the cold, who spent the New Year`s Eve in the mountain, away from their children, mother and father. This is the Police Officer with whom I am cooperating and this is the Police Officer who participates in any operation. Do you want me to say that our challenge to find both fugitives alive was not won 100%? Ok, let us say so. However, we should also say that thanks to this police operation, there were no other victims, no hostages were taken and no more blood was shed. We should also praise all these people who spent the New Year`s Eve in the mountain, in the cold and away from their families.
JOURNALIST: And this is not just that, Mr. Minister. The state should also grant them a bonus for work under extreme conditions.
GVOULGARAKIS: Do you want to listen to the truth? I believe that fiduciary matters are not what the average officer is mostly concerned about. The average police officer has a very high sense of duty and they do not do that for 15 or 20 euros. Our boys were not up there for 15 or 20 euros. People who say that do not do justice to this profession let me tell you. I really honor the Greek police officer, because they are working under very adverse conditions. The State should stand by them and to the extent I can help, I try to stand by them in the best possible way. I think I have shown that. Nevertheless, there is a very big distance between this support and translating everything in the language of 20, 30 or 40 euros. I am sorry, but I, as a Greek citizen, have a different opinion on this issue.
JOURNALIST: Let us not do that, but let us discuss this case of detainees` transport. It has been shown in a quite tragic way that detainees` transport may be problematic and the Minister, Mr. G. Voulgarakis may want to think that things come along smoothly, although underneath this mechanism there are some hidden problems.
GVOULGARAKIS: First and foremost, I have never denied that problems exist. Secondly, I have never said that problems have suddenly been solved just because I became a Minister. Thirdly, I have also added that we still need to cover a big distance up to catch up. In spite of all the above, a very big effort is currently in progress in order to achieve the results we desire, based on our vision.
And to be more precise, steps have been taken in the field of detainees` transport too. We set up a Division – which did not exist before – and we have manned these departments with more people. And we have received criticism for having done so. Questions have been placed in the Parliament accusing us that we have transferred for political reasons serious and important Police Officers to underestimated and down-graded Police Services, such as the Detainees` Transport Service. In other words, we made an effort to assign serious Officers in order to upgrade this Service and this has been considered as an action with narrow minded party motives.
I can accept that there are obviously serious responsibilities that must be assumed in this case; certain responsibilities have already been assigned to the people liable and eventually some other responsibilities might derive if new evidence is found. Let me reassure you that no one escapes from the liability investigation process. Still, one cannot deny the totality of the Police work judging from this sole incident. I think this is unfair and it certainly does not reflect the real picture.
JOURNALIST: I am trying to figure out who stands against you Mr. Minister. Is it the Media, is it some trade unionists who try to create impressions, or is it other people wishing to deconstruct our Services? Or is it just some weaknesses that appear under specific circumstances just as in the Russian`s case?
GVOULGARAKIS: Look, not all facts are the same. Therefore, one should not place everything in the same stewpot and then ask “who will eat this food now?” Things are different. Our mistakes, our weaknesses and our omissions may be responsible for some things. For other things though, the exaggeration of the Media is responsible, since they keep competing for TV ratings. For some other things, may be the responsibility is of a completely different nature. I hear people saying these days “Voulgarakis has enemies inside his party” or “he is being attacked by Dora” and so on. Dora Bakoyanni is my friend, we talk on the phone regularly and we discuss a lot. With Papaligouras too we were on the phone yesterday.
JOURNALIST: Ok, I can accept that they are all your friends. Still, Mr. Meimarakis, the Secretary of the Party made some public statements and if we read between the lines, he asked “people to show solidarity, otherwise you will all lose”.
GVOULGARAKIS: Yes, Vaggelis explained his statements and I must tell you that in all these cases Vaggelis acts as the voice of conscience inside the party. I must recognize this in public. Vaggelis Meimarakis has grown up in the same mechanisms as myself and everybody else who has ever served the New Democracy party. We all have a perception of party solidarity which is difficult for other people to conceive, other people who have a different mentality. Therefore, Vaggelis always talks according to this mentality and this civil culture of his. This does not mean that he is attacking anybody; he is not saying that “I am saying so because it is somebody else`s fault”.
JOURNALIST: Mr. Minister, I know you do not like this question but I must however put it; some people do believe and I know you know it that Voulgarakis is a wanna-be party leader, that his stake has risen a lot after the Olympic Games, that he has a lot of leading tendencies, that he keeps meeting with members of parliament, that he has a certain entourage and that with all the past actions, some people have tried to restrict Voulgarakis in a way. That, for instance, “Voulgarakis has been slick and cool so far and let us hurt his image a little bit now” or that “he was very high at the penthouse up till now and maybe he should move to a lower floor from now on”. What is your answer Mr. Minister?
GVOULGARAKIS: What I am trying to tell you is that Voulgarakis is a soldier in this party, he is trying to do the job assigned to him by Karamanlis in the best possible way. I have the impression that if one assesses the past two years I have been here, the account shall probably be positive and I believe that each and every one of us is judged not according to estimates or different stories but according to his or her work.
Therefore, I do not declare myself to be a leader in waiting nor anything of such sort. I am interested in doing my work and in being able to rise up to what I am asked to do in the best possible way and I like to believe that I am pulling though. Not always exactly like what I would have wanted, but that`s life and that`s politics. I have been a politician for the past 17 years, this year is my 17th year as a member of parliament and I have seen a lot, some of it positive and some negative, some of it has happened as I wanted and some not, but this is how things are.
JOURNALIST: And obviously, Mr. Minister, you are not tight to the ministerial chair, right?
GVOULGARAKIS: I have never claimed to be an expert in any field. I believe that a Minister`s role is to manage, to take decisions and to provide results. A Minister cannot say “this is my Ministry”, it is crazy to talk like that. I have never considered this situation as part and parcel of my life nor am I dependent on that.
JOURNALIST: I would like to ask you something that the Prime Minister said to A. Alavanos today. The Prime Minister said: “Information from competent Agencies and information from the competent Minister whom I trust”, you that is, “is that there is no involvement or participation of Greek Services in such an issue”. Do you think that this fully covers a Minister of Public Order?
GVOULGARAKIS: 500%. Do you need further explanations? Wasn`t I saying exactly that?
JOURNALIST: I am just putting this question.
GVOULGARAKIS: Weren`t we talking about that just before?
JOURNALIST: During this period which was indeed tough for the Ministry, were you in contact with the Prime Minister, was he saying to you “George, I am with you, don`t worry, move on, do not listen to them?”
GVOULGARAKIS: It is naοve to believe that the Prime Minister is not in contact with his Ministers. The Prime Minister is in contact and in control and this goes for the entire Ministerial Council. I have repeatedly said that the Prime Minister personally controls everything that has been scheduled. I think all this goes without saying and all remarks on the so-called lack of trust that have recently been expressed, are highly exaggerated. This is not true.
JOURNALIST: Is there an issue with the Chief of the Police? A lot has been said.
GVOULGARAKIS: No. I never believed and I still not believe in the theory according to which everybody is expendable. Mr. Aggelakos is a great Officer, he has repeatedly proven that in the course of his carrier, he has made the right steps and this is exactly why he was selected. He has the operational skills allowing the Police Force to come up with concrete results.
Let me also add that together with Mr. Aggelakos there are a lot of important, great Officers, who have honored their uniform in very critical times for Greece. When I use the word “critical”, I mean the times during which our country`s status could have been destroyed just like that. I am referring to facts that are difficult to state in public and to events that everybody knows of, for instance, during the Olympic Games or in the aftermath of very crucial events.
Let me also remind you that the past two yearly demonstrations to celebrate the revolt against the dictatorship in the Polytechnic School of Athens took place, with not a single Molotov bomb exploding; this is a first for Greece, not to mention a whole lot of other things and I will stop here, because I am not fond of self-indulgence nor of too much talking.
JOURNALIST: Well, we have had some Molotov bombs exploding but it is true that it was not like before.
GVOULGARAKIS: You are wrong.
JOURNALIST: Well, occasionally a couple of Molotov bombs did explode.
GVOULGARAKIS: What are you talking about? Have you forgotten the past, when banks and stores were set on fire? Try to remember more.
JOURNALIST: Yes, I told you that. It was not like before. I just told you that occasionally a couple of bombs did explode. I am only saying that so that people will not say “What is Voulgarakis saying to Ant1 radio right now, that no bomb did explode?”
GVOULGARAKIS: We are trying to do our work silently, systematically, methodically, with careful planning and in the best possible way, at least as we see it. I like to believe that if we seat around a table and assess what has been achieved at the institutional, operational and staff dispute solving level these past 18 – 19 months that I have the honor to preside at the Ministry, the evaluation will probably be positive. Certainly, I am not the final judge; I have my own opinion of how things are. But I do think that there are some more neutral observers, who can speak their minds on these issues.
JOURNALIST: You have already implied that you were not at all bothered with the intervention by Mr. Linos. However, I would like to ask you to be more specific. What did you think of the intervention of Mr. Linos? He commented twice, once on the Pakistanis` issue and once on the Russian fugitive issue. Do you think this implies a lack of trust to the police authorities? Could it imply something else? Is it normal for him to react like that? Do you welcome such interventions? What do you think?
GVOULGARAKIS: Mr. Linos is just doing his job and he is right to do so.
JOURNALIST: Does it not imply a lack of trust to the police authorities?
GVOULGARAKIS: Mr. Linos is accredited to his post and he is doing his job, just like anybody else. He is the highest prosecutor at the Supreme Court and he acts according to his job description and the requirements he must face. Besides, the Police Force is also doing what it has to do, everybody is very responsible and I honestly do not see a point of conflict. I agree with what has been said; in other words, that in this way something we all know that exists becomes more transparent and clear. There is no problem whatsoever; we are all doing what we have to do.
JOURNALIST: I would like to end this discussion with the story first mentioned by Mr. Karatzaferis about Souda, that some people, around 20 people from the Middle East region are being questioned there, because they are considered to be terrorist suspects. Do you know anything about this?
GVOULGARAKIS: No. I refer you to the Moliviatis statement. Do you know something? Incredible things have been written in the press lately. You have a very well-known scrip writer in your Ant1 TV channel, Mr. Foskolos, and I think that if he sits down and takes notes on what has been said, he will definitely have enough material to cover Ant1 TV series for about 500 years. Maybe he has already started work on that!
JOURNALIST: Let us close this session with a more personal question: how did you feel with all these attacks against you, all this criticism, all the different scenarios appearing in the Press. What was the impact on you personally, the Minister of Public Order, Mr. Successful Olympic Games Minister? Did you feel any political loneliness?
GVOULGARAKIS: No, not loneliness, but as our Greek ancestors used to say “one only learns more, by growing old”.
JOURNALIST: You said it all. Thank you very much, enjoy your afternoon and happy New Year once again.
GVOULGARAKIS: Thank you too.

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