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Theodoros Pangalos : biography

17 August 1938 -

Theodoros Pangalos ( born 17 August 1938) is a Greek politician, and leading member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece, responsible for the coordination of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) and the new Economic & Social Policy Committee from 2009 to 2012

In popular culture

A Greek experimental pop band named Plastic Flowers sampled his famous speech 'Mazi ta fagame' in their song 'Sinking ship-vanished crew'.

Early life

Pangalos was born in Eleusina, Greece. He is the grandson of General and 1926 dictator Theodoros Pangalos. He is of Arvanite origin.Πάγκαλος, Θεόδωρος (1950). Τα απομνημονευματά μου, 1897-1947: η ταραχώδης περιόδος της τελευταίας πεντηκονταετίας.

Pangalos was member of the left-wing Lambrakis Youth and, in 1964, a candidate for the Hellenic Parliament with the United Democratic Left (EDA). Pangalos opposed the 1967 military dictatorship, and was deprived by the junta of his Greek citizenship in 1968.

Political career and controversy

He became a member of the Communist Party of Greece, rising to its Central Committee, before eventually joining the PASOK socialist party during the Metapolitefsi. He was elected for the first time as a MP in the 1981 general election with PASOK and has been continuously re-elected since.


In 1989, he threatened "to turn the [Greek] parliament into Beijing, a reference to the recentTiananmen Square massacre in the face of a political understanding between the Right and the Left for the formation of government. Ten years later, he described the Greek parliament as being composed of "Kenyan delegates" in reaction to the outcry brought about by his mismanagement of the Öcalan affair.


In 1996 he was appointed as a Minister for Foreign Affairs and held the post until his resignation in 1999, in the aftermath of the scandal involving the Kurdish nationalist leader, Abdullah Öcalan: helped by individual members of the Greek intelligence agencies Öcalan entered Greece illegally and was then deported to Kenya, where he was captured by Turkish agents after leaving the Greek embassy at Nairobi.

Theodoros Pangalos is famous for his colourful language and his cursory and insolent comments about his political opponents and foreign dignitaries.

In 1997, he described the Turkish establishment as "murderers, rapists and thieves" in the midst of disagreements over the Turkish candidacy for entry into the European Union. Six months earlier, Theodoros Pangalos had, in sharp contrast to his later statements, declared that "Turkey certainly belongs in Europe, as it is a part of European history".

He is also known to regularly express opinions which contradict the official stance of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement while he has used strong language against numerous politicians including Georgios Alogoskoufis, the former Minister for Economy and Finance with the New Democracy party.


He was briefly made Minister for Culture in 2000, an appointment which was widely criticized, in view of his previous statement that artists who had protested his handling of the Öcalan affair were 'kouradomanges' (turd tough guys). According to the Panhellenic Socialist Movement-leaning daily newspaper To Vima, Theodoros Pangalos resolved an administrative dispute with a Greek diplomatic official by "punching him to the ground" when the employee in question offered a handshake.

During the financial crisis of 2007–2010 when the nation of Greece entered a massive financial crisis he demanded reparations from Germany for the war crimes committed during World War II instead of the austerity program demanded by EU banks.

In 2010, he angered the Greeks when, with reference to the misappropriation of the Greek state funds as the reason why the country was led to the verge of bankruptcy, he accused disgracefully all of the citizens with the words "Mazi ta fagame" ("We fooled away the money together [government and citizens])".

Pangalos has stated on numerous occasions that he fights Greece's corner at every opportunity.

His year then further deteroriated when he was caught stating that Greeks are lazy and Turks are hard workers while on an official visit to Turkey where he was supposed to be promoting Greek banks investing in Turkey. Once again he denied he had made these comments or given an interview to Hurriyet and finally accused his accusers of lying. ND spokesman Yiannis Michelakis labeled Panagalos as being “out of control” and called for some action. Pangalos also said he would sue the Eleftheros Typos newspaper over its report, which labeled him a “liar.” Things than got even worse for Pangalos as the Turkish journalist had actually recorded him making the remarks in question and thus ending the debate.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine