The Times arbitrarily handled statements by Ilves

Ajalehes The Times avaldatud õiendus.

PHOTO: Kuvatõmmis

According to Office of the President, in his interview to British newspaper The Times Toomas Hendrik Ilves never used insulting expressions ascribed to him regarding any country. 

During the interview, The Estonian head of state expressed his concerns about extreme political powers in Europe, spurred by personal economic interests and not our shared values, said press representative of the Office. 

As assured by The Times’ journalist Roger Boyes, though Mr Ilves did use the notion of «useful idiots» during the interview, he never singled out any specific country.

According to Mr Boyes, the list of the countries mentioned in the article was his own interpretation and he apologises for his writing having created the impression that Estonia’s president listed definite EU member states, wrote Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) online news portal.

According to Mr Boyes, hindsight wisdom suggests that Mr Ilves might have meant extreme right organisations or lobbyists under the «useful idiots», such as have reached separate agreements with President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

«The President did not separately specify Greece or Cyprus,» added Mr Boyes, according to whom Mr Ilves was cautious and statesmanlike. «He said: «I cannot actually speak about countries of names, but you may draw your own conclusions.»,» added the journalist.

Mr Boyes admitted that his goal was covering the broader debate in the European Union, not the President’s specific words. By the Office of the President, relevant information was forwarded to ambassadors of the countries mentioned in the interview.

As announced by Greek foreign ministry on Wednesday, they summonsed Estonian ambassador Margus Rava to whom was presented a protest note regarding interview by Mr Ilves to The Times where the President said that Greece, Italy, Hungary and Cyprus, desiring easing of anti-Russia sanctions,  were «idiots useful to Putin» who, in his opinion, also served to split unity in the block.