Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back soon

Antipodes will be back towards the end of September after an extended holiday break.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The architecture of Neo-Ottomanism part 3

Continuing from the last post titled, “The architecture of Neo-Ottomanism part 2” which can be accessed here (which is based on an article by Basil Markezinis which can be found here), Markezinis continues to Davutoglu's theory in four steps (read on conjuction with last two posts):

3) The above are used to justify and promote the role of Turkey as a peace-loving mediator in the region, but also to present it as a country with a “multidimensional, complementary foreign policy”. In this way it can be active in Russia, in the Caucusus, the Middle East and Africa, all without “negating the traditional Western friendly [sic] feature of Turkey (United States - NATO - EE), but to supplement it”.

4) Thus, Turkey should take an active part in all international forums and international organizations choosing as representatives its most charismatic citizens. The overiding aim of these measures is to promote Turkey's image abroad and to promote its economic interests.


To be continued........

Source: To Ethnos on Sunday (Basil Markezinis), Antipodes

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The architecture of Neo-Ottomanism part 2

Continuing from the last post titled, “The architecture of Neo-Ottomanism part 1” which can be accessed here (which is based on an article by Basil Markezinis which can be found here), Markezinis outlines the theoretical framework of Davutoglu's thought:

The theory of Davutoglou is centred on the idea that the strength and future of a country depends, first from its “geopolitical depth” - geographic position secured within the Muslim world in general via the control of the major straits (Bosphoros, Suez, Hormouz, Malacca, and also partially Gibraltar) which separate the warm seas of the world, and on the other hand, it also risks an “internal systemic competition” – from its historical depth. The combination of these two he named “strategic depth”.

Then Markezinis then outlines the theory in four steps (only two translated today):
1. Davutoglu's argument starts from the area of religious doctrine - Christian and Islamic - in which he makes his first claim, that there is no incompatibility between Islam and Western democracy. This claim is developed along two axes. Firstly, Davutoglu highlights the resurgence of all the major religions in modern political dialogue - especially in America - thus preventing, very intelligently, any objection to religion as a factor that "infects" political thought. Secondly, he correctly points out that the Koran simply proposes a set of fundamental values without imposing a specific political mechanism for their implementation. In order to show that these values are not foreign to our own - because, despite his emphasis on Islam, he believes that Turkey has a critical role to play in Europe, and in which he considers a European country - he lists examples such as “the justice, humanity, equality and freedom”.
2. Then when he focuses on the full integration of Turkey in the EU, his argument is conducted in a different way, beyond the religious or philosophical. Davoutoglou relies on these two ways: he uses Turkish history; and furthermore, he also argues that this integration will be beneficial for Europe, because only this way can it hope to become a “global player”. Once again, after having made a theoretical proposal, he does not support it by concrete evidence. The basis of the argument is conducted in a very skillful way, using arbitrary spatial shifts, which make the conclusions of the author at least debatable. The history used for his argument is based on a broad understanding of the geographical size of the country in the past. It suffices to present a few excerpts from his text in order to clarify our analysis.

"Turkey is an Asian country, a European country, a neighbor of the African continent directly connected to the Eastern Mediterranean, a Balkan country, a Middle Eastern country, Caucasian country, a Central Asian country, a country of the Caspian Sea and, indirectly, a Gulf country (because of its association with the Gulf via Iraq)"

To be continued.....

Source: To Ethnos on Sunday (Basil Markezinis), Antipodes

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The architecture of Neo-Ottomanism part 1

Basil Markezinis regularly writes articles in Greek newspapers on foreign policy. Often his ideas are controversial but they are hardly ever irrelevant. He has also been a legal adviser to the Queen Elizabeth II of England is a member of seven foreign Academies. By the way he has also been knighted by the Queen Elizabeth II; however, since Greeks do not recognize titles this is irrelevant.

Markezinis has just written another insightful article published in the Greek newspaper, The Ethnos on Sunday (which can be accessed here) on Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, his ideas and Turkish foreign policy. Some believe Davutoglu is the theoretical architect of Turkey’s re-discovered Ottoman outlook often called "Neo-Ottomanism". Antipodes has written about Neo-Ottomanism and Davutoglu several times before which can be accessed here and here and even Greek Neo-Ottomanism which can be found here.

Recently, there is no doubt that Turkey has been demonstrating an ability to adapt to the new geo-strategic environment (following the collapse of the Soviet Union); specifically, developing multi-dimensional foreign policy initiatives and interventions from the Middle East to Caucasus and even as far as China. However, what are the ideas which underpin these manoeuvres?

Markezinis begins by providing valuable and often unknown information on Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister:

The first indication that Davutoglu’s way of thinking would prove decisive in the transformation of Turkish political culture came with the publication of his doctoral thesis, “Alternative Models: The impact of Islamic and Western world perspectives on political theory” (available in English from 1994). His work is characterised by containing aspects of most good theses: he appears widely read, he has abstract tendencies, uses excerpts from several languages and includes a dose of personal ideology. The author's focus is the importance of Islam; which, according to Davutoglu had been “exploited” by the West. One further indication of his robust academic background and the stability of his views is that Davutoglou repeatedly questions the American and Kemalist doctrines.

Markezinis alludes to something very important here which has, and is likely to continue, to re-orientate Turkish foreign policy going forward. Rather than eschewing the Islamic world view in favour of European Enlightenment-inspired but the essentially Asiatic despotism of Kemalism (which has driven Turkish foreign policy over the last 90 years or so), Davutoglu believes the Islamic world view should underpin Turkish foreign policy. Markezinis continues:

Over the next few years he further developed his ideas, starting with an article written in 1988, entitled “A Conflict of Interest: An explanation of World Ataxias”. The article questioned the ideas of the major thinkers of the period e.g. the "globalization of political values and institutions of Western civilization” of Fukuyama, the (inevitability) of the “clash of civilizations” of Huntington (who overlooked the fact that the most destructive wars were not between different cultures but “wars within civilizations between systemic forces of Euro-western culture”), and the individual theory of Huntington of a permanent “Islamic threat” - which helped to shape Davutoglu's next theoretical step.

Davutoglu then went on to argue that Turkey (and by implication Islam) could help to promote co-existence, and not, as pursued by the Americans, the homogenization of cultures. These views found fullest expression, three years later, in his book “Strategic Depth: The international position of Turkey”, published in 2001 in Turkish.

In March 2003, with the advent to power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Erdogan, the ideas of Davutoglou were progressively incorporated into Turkish foreign policy.

We should recall that the Ottoman Empire was governed by a "millet system" where the subjects of the Sultan were grouped amongst their various religions and governed by a religious leader with the Sultan as the supreme leader. Is this the sort of system that Davutoglu is referring to when he writes that Islam can help to promote co-existence?

To be continued......

Source: The Ethnos on Sunday (Basil Markezinis), Antipodes

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cyprus mediator, Alexander Downer is a spy

In light of the recent discussions, speculations and threats (by Turkey) about the potentially large hydrocarbon deposits south of Cyprus it is probably worth referring to an article titled, “The Mediator who is a Spy” written by Angelos Athanasopoulos that was published in the Greek newspaper, To Vima late last year. The article can be accessed here.

As most people will know, the former Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer was appointed as the Special Envoy of
the UN Secretary General for Cyprus in 2007. Essentially, he has been working as a mediator between the two negotiating parties that are trying to figure out a solution following the Turkish invasion of the island a little more than 35 years ago.

Interestingly, Alexander Downer has since May 2008 been working for the British company, Hakluyt & Co. This company was founded in the 1990s by former MI6 agents to provide strategic intelligence/information to multinational corporations that want to invest in areas where the political and economic environment is unstable; of course, with a view to profit.

Despite being founded by former British former secret service agents Hakluyt is increasingly comprised of former politicians, diplomats and people in general with access to political, economic and business centers of power. As the former foreign minister of Australia, Alexander Downer would have supervised the intelligence services of Australia and had direct access to “hot” information. Obviously, he still has friends both inside and outside Australia.

To Vima contacted Hakluyt last year and a company executive, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed that Alexander Downer was working on behalf of them; and in particular, as a member of the Advisory Council. He also stated that members of the Advisory Council, "are either not paid or receive a token amount". He also stated that members do "not make their living from this job". In Cyprus, Alexander Downer was asked directly about his role and the membership of Hakluyt, and he answered:
I do not know where all the members working for the company come from, nor am I responsible for these members. I am a member of the Advisory Council, I meet with members of the Council once a year and provide perspectives on the situation of different regions such as Asia.
Athanasopoulos then raises some important questions, which have recently become even more relevant, as speculation over the hydrocarbon deposits has increased:

However, questions arise from the activities of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus. Because of his role, Mr Downer has access to confidential information which would be useful to many. Does he only inform the United Nations and the parties in Cyprus or does he inform others? And who are they? Moreover, how will the actual negotiations on the Cyprus issue be influenced by the dual activities of Downer?

If Hakluyt provides information to businesses so they can reduce investment risk, the presence of Downer could affect, for example, the activity of oil companies interested in undertaking investigations into suspected continental shelf deposits off the coast of Cyprus? Moreover, the relationship of Hakluyt with giants such as BP and Shell could easily lead to such suspicions.

Athanasopoulos then goes on to provide information on the the identity of Hakluyt. General information can be found
here (the company's website does not really contain any information). He also states that the people who have worked for Hakluyt are long and illustrious. Alarmingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, in 1997, just two years after the company's establishment, the current foreign minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt also became a member. Hellenic Antidote recently provided some interesting information on the odious Bildt and his rabidly pro-Turkish positions which can be accessed here. Also, Athanasopoulos points out, and certainly not surprisingly, the former U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger and his firm Kissinger Associates have also worked with Hakluyt. Every Greek should know about Kissinger's evil and his role in the dismemberment of the island.

Source: To Vima (Angelos Athanasopoulos), Antipodes

Monday, July 27, 2009

Israel’s role in the invasion and occupation of Cyprus part 2

The previous post titled, “Israel’s role in the invasion and occupation of Cyprus part 1” (which can be accessed here) provided some background on the diplomatic maneuverings between Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Turkey before the Turkish invasion in 1974.

An article recently posted on Infognomon (which can be accessed
here) written by M.Michail provides some information on the role of Israel around the days immediately preceding and following the invasion of Cyprus.
The German magazine, Der Spiegel in 19 August 1974, revealed that “... hiding behind this issue (i.e. the Turkish invasion of Cyprus) was Israel” and that “... the telephone line between Nicosia - Tel Aviv had been connected two days before the coup and only the embassy of Israel or Israeli journalists could use it” (from the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, 20/4/1975). This probably means that Israel and its embassy in Nicosia were aware of the coup to oust Makarios [this is interesting but probably many secret services knew about the invasion of Cyprus]

The Jews were, with a series of “errors” and “coincidences” during the Turkish invasion, continuously on the side of ATTILA [the code name used for the Turkish military operation]. The Athenian newspaper Ta Nea (27/2/1975) published that Israeli planes, at the beginning of July 1975, “accidentally” violated the Greek airspace of Cyprus and twice during the Turkish invasion of July 1974. However, amazingly the following event was also made to appear as “coincidental”: an Israeli navy boat coincided (!) to be within the Turkish invasion armada. And, indeed, collected the castaways of the Turkish destroyer, which was accidentally bombed by Turkish airplanes (from the newspaper Greek Tharros, 15/12/1979). The 42 survivors of the sinking of the Turkish destroyer "Kotzatepe",which previously belonged to the U.S. Navy, was transferred to the Israeli vessel in Haifa! [this is particularly strange as one would expect that Turkish ports would have been closer and more convenient]

At the end of 1972, the secret services of Israel sold to EOKA B "Kalasnikovs" "under the direction of the CIA". The Cypriot journalist Spyros Papageorgiou wrote in his book “The Attila impacts Cyprus”, p. 27: “In connection with the acquisition
of Kalashnikovs, despite being sold by the Israeli secret service, they were acting under the direction of the CIA. However, it can be said with certainty, regarding the negotiated purchase of weapons in Beirut, the leader of the operation of EOKA B, Kikis Constantinou was under the impression that he was dealing with illegal arms traffickers". Of course, the readers can draw their own conclusions. The attitude of Israel during the Turkish invasion of 1974 cannot be described as positive. The same “coincidental” attitude was there during in the invasion of Turkey in 1963-64. [unfortunately the article does not provide details of this assertion]

Without further evidence some of the inferences made above appear tenuous. However, we can state with reasonable certainty that Israel's role during the invasion of Cyprus was not constructive.

Of course, any country is free to pursue a foreign policy which best serves its own interests but Israel could have played a more neutral role if it genuinely believed in developing better relations with Greece. Perhaps, as some people have suggested, there was a longer term motive of gaining control of parts of Cyprus which was one of the options in the early Zionist project before the creation of Israel.

Israel's enmity towards Greece and the Cypriots throughout the 1950’s to the 1980’s, should not preclude Greece and Israel forging closer diplomatic and even military ties going forward - international relations should be based on interests rather than historical grudges, loyalty or sentiment. However, history should not be forgotten and Greece must choose its "friends" wisely.

Source: Infognomon (M.Michail), Antipodes

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Israel's role in the invasion and occupation of Cyprus part 1

There are some Greeks; particularly Greek Americans, continuously bombarded with Israeli apologetics, who find it difficult to understand why other Greeks are ambivalent about the state of Israel. Certainly, there are some traditional northern European inspired Right-wing Greek anti-Semites but they are few and far between. There are also traditional Left-wing anti-Israeli Greeks, which are larger in number, who automatically sympathise with the just Palestinian cause because of their underdog status. However, a significant number of sensible largely non-aligned Greeks are ambivalent about Israel due to its role before, and during, the invasion and occupation of Cyprus.

Over the last few weeks Greeks and the Greeks of Cyprus have been commemorating the terrible nightmare of July 1974, the brutal invasion of Cyprus by Turkey and its continuing occupation 35 years later. Hellenic Antidote has provided a blistering series of posts describing the causes and the outcomes of these tragic events which can be found here. The culprits are clear enough: the United Kingdom, the United States, the craven Greek political class and small number of Cypriots with poor judgement. However, Israel was also involved in this catastrophe. Antipodes will provide a two part of series of their involvement - first being a historical recap.

The website of Greek television program, Anixneusis recently uploaded an old article from Greek Cypriot newspaper Politis which can be accessed here in turn summarizing an article written by Israeli academic Zach Levef titled, "The entrance of Israel in Cyprus, 1959-1963" originally published in the academic journal, Middle East Review of International Affairs. The study relies on declassified documents and sources of the period. The article from Politis begins:

From 1948 to 1960, Israel was able to conclude strategic relations with Iran and Turkey and consolidated diplomatic relations with all the major countries (embassies in America, Canada, England, Argentina, France, Italy, Soviet Union). Greece and Cyprus remained inaccessible to them. However, since 1954 when Greece brought Cyprus into the UN, Israel; although it avoided openly supporting either Turkey or Greece, behind the scenes it pressured the British and the UN to support the Turkish position on the division of the island, precisely because they did not want to see Greece dictate policy to Cyprus and act as a regional power with claims in the Eastern Mediterranean. Simultaneously, Israel believed the only way for cooperation with Greece went through Nicosia, which is why immediately after the independence of Cyprus in 1960, they sought to gain diplomatic relations with the Makarios government.

Until then, the regional strategy of Israel was to cultivate strong, but not obvious ties, with Turkey and Iran, two Muslim but not Arab countries. It should also be noted that this strategy perfectly suited the United States and NATO, which considered Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan as a single zone of defense/containment against the Soviet threat. For example, on 29 August 1958 the prime ministers of Turkey and Israel, Menderes and Ben Gurion respectively, secretly met in Ankara with the purpose being to find a means to limit the influence of Egyptian President, Nasser.

Cyprus and Greece were left of the regional strategic alliances of Israel; however, Cyprus was an exceptional case because it lay only 220 miles west of the Israeli coast. So, Israel decided to play a double game. On the one hand, it worked underground for excellent relations with the Turkish Cypriots in order to maintain its strategic relationship with Ankara, and the other it tried to establish diplomatic relations with the official Cypriot state of Makarios. But Makarios presented a major obstacle to Israel. In essence, the strong pro-Arab policy of Makarios threw Israel more into the arms of Turkey and its separatist policies in Cyprus.

In order for Israel to address the problem of Makarios, it was forced to approach the Greek lobby in America to put pressure on Athens and Nicosia. Although this practice had borne some fruit, the Israelis were not slow to discover that the benefits and support they received from Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots in no way offset the gains they were slowly getting from the Greeks [as one poster stated this seems to contradict other parts of the article]

The Israeli leaders decided to more firmly support the Turks, from the time Makarios could not make any decisions on external policy (e.g. to allow Israel to open an embassy in Nicosia) without the consent the Turkish Cypriot Vice President, Koutsouk. At some point, in 1960, the leadership of Israel even discussed providing military assistance to the Turkish Cypriots, something that did not happen, because the consequences would have been negative for the development of official relations between Nicosia and Tel Aviv. Makarios, who was well informed about what was happening, intelligently tried to convince the Mufti of Cyprus to show sympathy to the just cause of his Arab Muslim brothers, to unite with the Christians and cease relations with Israel. But Israel worked quietly to stop this manoeuvre - and it succeeded. The visit of Nasser in Athens in June 1960 did not help things. The Greek government supported the Egyptian leader and secured the prosperity of the Greek minority in Cairo and Alexandria - leading Israel to turn more towards Turkey. Therefore, on 13 January 1961 Koutsouk, Denktash and the Turkish Cypriot defense minister, Osman Orek decided to visit Makarios demanding an ultimatum - to accept the Israeli diplomatic service and the official opening of the Israeli embassy without delay. On 2 February of that year, Israel opened its embassy in Nicosia and warmly thanked Ankara.

But Israel was soon convinced that its interests with Cyprus under the leadership of Makarios was not at all compatible. Makarios voted in favor of the Arabs at the UN on the issue of refugees and a number of other issues, and even started to build excellent relations with Nasser. Also, Makarios persistently refused to send diplomatic corps to Israel; and in reality, the Israel only opened fully operational embassy in Nicosia in 1994, shortly after the recognition of Israel as an independent state, by Greece.

To be continued......

Source: Infognomon, Politis, Antipodes

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nabucco gets the go ahead, Turkey's hand strengthens

Antipodes has previously written about the Nabucco and South Stream gas pipelines and their geopolitical and economic importance here and here.

Further to these developments, the inter-governmental agreement for the construction of the 3,300 kilometre Nabucco pipeline, which will connect Europe to gas-rich Central Asia via the Balkans, Turkey and the Caucasus, was signed in Ankara on July 13. The Nabucco website can be found here. Nabucco is expected to carry around 30 billion cubic metres of gas a year (this is only 20% of what Russia exports to Europe) with an estimated cost of around 8 billion euros. The construction will begin in 2010 and is expected to be completed by 2015. The pipeline will be built by a consortium of multinational companies.


The agreement was signed by the prime ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Turkey and the President of the European Commission. The signing ceremony was also attended by heads of state and government of more than 10 countries with the notable absence of representatives from Russia and Turkmenistan - interpreted as disapproval of the pipeline by Moscow. Apparently, the realization of Nabucco is of strategic importance for Europe, as Brussels is seeking to reduce their dependence on hydrocarbons from Moscow. As part of their efforts, the Europeans are succoring the political support of Washington, which never fails to miss an opportunity to pinprick Russia. As expected, there was an assortment of flowery speeches by Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso on how Nabucco will help to build bridges between Europe and Asia.

Unfortunately, for the supporters of Nabucco, the sources of that gas remain unclear. Azerbaijan has only enough for Nabucco's early stages and they remain non-committal and Iran is excluded on political grounds. However, Kurdistan (northern Iraq) is potentially another supplier. And so is Turkmenistan but they are stuck between satisfying Russia or the European Union.

However, the construction of the pipeline has potentially important consequences for Greece and Cyprus. A recent article which can be accessed here published in Greek weekly, The Paron by K.Vosporitis believes the signing of the agreement; despite the uncertainty of supply, strengthens the position of Turkey as a “key” transit country in the international energy map. Vosporitis comments:

The signing of the inter-governmental agreement regarding the Nabucco gas pipeline is of particular importance for Turkey, as Ankara plans raise its position as a strategic partner of the EU, in the crucial energy sector. This development will become more visible, when the construction of the pipeline is completed, and it will ultimately enable Ankara to have a significant say in European affairs. The pipeline, which will cross the territories of Turkey, will probably be ideal leverage against Western centers of power, which maintain reservations about Turkish membership in the EU.

In the case where Ankara makes future use of her privilege, to control the flow of gas to Europe as it pleases - a possibility which should not be dismissed - in order to achieve political, financial etc. objectives, then one wonders who benefits from this arrangement? Moreover, France was the first country to taste the bitter experience of exclusion from the project, following the stubborn refusal of Ankara, possibly as a sign of dissatisfaction for the negative attitude of the French President towards Turkey’s EU membership aspirations. Furthermore, the widely circulated perception; particularly in the European press that Ankara, despite the frustrations of the Turkish side, claimed that 15% of the gas passing through the pipeline will be for domestic consumption, and will be subject to specially discounted prices, was obviously not viewed very favorably by the Europeans.



Vosporitis then raises an important question about the financing sources of this exorbitantly costly project. How in the middle of the global financial crisis will at least 5 billion euros be invested in Turkey for the construction of the Turkish section of the pipeline? Not surprisingly, the doyens of the Anglo-American financial and business elite and their propagandists, The Economist magazine (and surely its benefactors) strongly support Nabucco. A recent article, characteristically depicting Turkey as the "saviour" of Western civilisation and Russia as the evil one, can be found here.

Finally, Vosporitis then points out how the Nabucco pipeline is intimately intertwined with Greek foreign relations and how Turkey's increased leverage is likely to be used to extract concessions from Greece:

Modern political history shows us that Ankara knows how to exploit its geographic location - typical was the inconclusive stance it took during the Second World War, and the refusal in 2003 to allow the passage of U.S. military forces from its territories during the invasion in Iraq - to gain political and economic benefits. With the completion of the Nabucco pipeline, there is a risk, the negotiating position of Ankara will be massively strengthened against the Europeans. This would have serious consequences for Greek national issues, starting with Cyprus, where a new “Annan Plan” has already been launched, even though Nicosia is desperately pushing for the implementation of the Ankara Protocol.

Note: The Ankara Protocol is the extension of the EU customs union to the recent new member countries including Cyprus. Turkey had refused to sign the Protocol due to Cyprus.

Source: To Paron (K.Vosporitis), Antipodes

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Neo-Ottomans stumble (again) over Pan-Turkism

Judging by their efforts in the 1990’s, it was only a matter of time before the Neo-Ottomans stumbled. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, got himself into hot water a couple of weeks ago by suggesting that the recent violence in the capital of the Chinese province of Xinjiang, Urumqi involved “genocide”. Refuting this claim, China’s official media says the latest death toll is 192 with at least 46 of them Uighurs.

The Economist magazine recently published an article, titled “Troubles across Turkestan” providing an outline of events which can be found
here. Note: it is interesting The Economist magazine has bought into the language of the Pan-Turkic movement i.e. the usage of Turkestan and not naming Xinjiang as a Chinese province. Antipodes has previously highlighted here, The Economist magazine’s robust support for the Turks at the expense of everyone else including the Greeks. The Rothschilds, the owners of The Economist magazine, probably have a lot to lose if Turkey is isolated from the West.

As if Erdogan’s words were not enough, the Turks went even further when Turkey’s trade minister hinted strongly that Turkish consumers should boycott Chinese goods. Erdogan also proposed a discussion of the rioting in the UN Security Council. However, this is very unlikely to happen considering China holds veto power.

Obviously, Turkey’s increasingly Neo-Ottoman self perception, where they believe they can engage with a variety of geopolitical actors on a number of levels shaped by the recent ministerial appointment Ahmet Davutoglu, has motivated it to support the hapless Uighurs. Turkey believes it has cultural, religious and ethnic links with the people of Xinjiang; consequently, Turkey has long been a haven for its disaffected people.


However, Turkey has definitely gone too far this time. Perhaps it overestimated Pan-Turkic solidarity. Pan-Turkism is a political movement started more than 100 years ago aiming to unite the various
Turkic peoples into a modern political state. More recently, Pan-Turkic ideas and "re-unification" movements have been popular since the collapse of the Soviet Union in Central Asian and other Turkic countries. In particular, Turkey went clumsily gallivanting around Central Asia trying to build a Pan-Turkic movement. The results were less than encouraging. Alarmingly, the idea of Pan-Turkism also stretches beyond Central Asia and into Europe. Recently, when Erdogan was in Germany, he told cheering Turkish workers and Germans of Turkish ancestry that “assimilation is a crime against humanity”. But, recent Pan-Turkic sympathy for their supposed ethnic brethren in China, has been muted.

However, what is more worrying is Turkey’s relationship with certain geopolitical actors in the West; particularly, their rabid supporters, the United States, the United Kingdom and a few other pathetic small European states like Sweden. It is not out of the realms of possibility that the Americans and the English will use Turkey to irritate China without doing the work themselves, and invariably further promoting Turkey as a global power.
As a result, keep a close watch on all the supposed well-researched studies that will be published from American "think-tanks" and English periodicals over the next few months alluding to Turkey's historical relationship with the Uighurs.

Source: The Economist, Antipodes

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Turkish state and its American pimps

Over the last 30 years, Turkey's activities in the United States trying influence policy and opinion makers have been exceptional. The acquiescence of some Americans; supposedly the purveyors of freedom, democracy, human rights, rule of law and truth, has been utterly disgraceful.

Mario Evryviadis has recently written a good article about the activities of the Turkish state within American circles which can be found here. He begins by pointing out the pervasive influence of Turkey in the United States:

If we only limited ourselves, to the so-called think tanks and related institutions/foundations of America, whose goals are to influence American foreign policy, we notice that not one lacks a Turkish presence. This influence takes the form of either donations, for supposedly funding research programs, or the presence of Turkish researchers (or the presence of Americans) whose partisan positions and sometimes absolute slavishness toTurkish propaganda, is supported by very crude research.

The best results of Turkey’s activities in Washington (originally dating from 1975 after the Cyprus invasion) was recently seen with the presidency of Barack Obama which has literally taken to the last iota the positions and views of a think-tank of the Democratic Party, the Center for American Progress (www.americanprogress. org) which have been recorded in a study by Spencer P. Boyer and Brian Katulis, "The Neglected Alliance: Restoring US-Turkish Relations to Meet 21st Century Challenge", December 2008.

The study that Evryvidis cites can be found here. Evryvidis draws our attention to the date of the abovementioned paper (December 2008) which was right in the middle of the transitional period of the presidential election during which the Transition Team formulates the program and activities of the new U.S. administration. Obviously, the study was written with a view to influencing the incoming Obama administration.

Consequently, Clinton-Obama's first visit to Turkey in early 2009, closely follows the study's policy suggestions. Evryvidis then points out that if you look at the end of the study where they attribute thanks and acknowledgements, there are listed all the Turkish "lechers" of Washington. In addition, the sources of funding are from Germany and Turkey. Therefore, Turkish money is helping to formulate U.S. foreign policy facilitated by an assortment of American pimps. Evryvidis then highlights the main characteristics behind Turkey's lobbying:

First, the Turks know what persons, situations, think-tanks, etc. have the upper hand in both political parties at any time. Secondly, they know that to conduct their work there has to an adequate flow of cash. In the case of Turkey, there are some interesting exceptions on how they operate. The Turks are not stingy and they allocate the most capable diplomats to follow the recipients of Turkish finance and donations, ordering them and literally draining the juices from them. They do not allow the tail of the dog to guide them. They guide the dog, leaving him periodically starved.

Regarding their conquest of America power centres (and educational institutions), the Turks had excellent guidance from the Jewish-American lobby. Jewish-Americans took them by the hand in 1975 and taught them how to short-circuit the decision-making system in the U.S; and specifically, how to operate in Washington and how to direct financing to various institutes/foundations, which number in their hundreds in the U.S.

Today, one is not exaggerating if they claim that the Turks have done a better job than their teachers in this field. And our only consolation is that the Turks have become increasingly autonomous from the Jewish-American lobby, truly believing that their country is more important than Israel to the U.S. Therefore, they find it increasingly more difficult to curb their inherent anti-Semitism, as is proved daily by the government of Erdogan.

Evryviadis then lists the think-tanks and institutes/foundations which have been financed directly or indirectly by the Turkish state, they include:

Council of Foreign Relations, RAND, Brookings, Carnegie Endowment, CSIS, Hudson Institute, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Jamestown Foundation, Eurasia Foundation, German Marshal Fund of the U.S., U.S. Peace Institute, Center for American Progress, Middle East Progress, Center for New American Security, New America Foundation, Century Foundation, Stanley Foundation.

Additionally, Evryviadis writes that other groups dealing with energy and terrorism, whose financing remains obscure, always have a good word about the Turks and how important they are to the safety of the United States and the West. Evryvidis continues on the results of Turkey's systematic lobbying efforts:

Finally, if somebody reads closely the policy-orientated books that are about Turkey in the U.S., which all point out the “strategic” or “central” role of Turkey for the West and the innumerable villains that will confront the world if Turkey “is lost” by the West, they will realise a few interesting things.

The donations and financing, if they do not emanate from Ankara, emanate from hyper-conservative and reactive American institutes, as the John M. Olin Foundation, the Scaife Family Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation etc. the last one, as an example, financed Henri Barkey (background from the Constantiniople) and Philip Gordon with USD$100,000 for a series of anti-Cypriot studies that promoted the Turkish position that Turkey will make war if Cyprus is included in the European Union. Also, Philip Gordon has replaced Daniel Friend as the new U.S. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, with responsibilities that include the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations.

Source: Infognomon (Mario Evryvidis), Antipodes

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Greece and Cyprus are caught in a trap

Dimitris Konstantakopoulos’s articles have been highlighted before on Antipodes. One of those posts can be found here and Konstantakoppoulos’s website can be found here.

Konstantakopoulos has recently written another insightful article on the complex geostrategic issues facing Greece and Cyprus. There have been rumours the Turkish government is planning to re-open of the Halki seminary as a concession to Greece, separate from their obligations to Greece and Cyprus regarding their accession to European Union. It should also be noted that a significant amount of pressure for the Halki re-opening comes from the United States government and various American organizations. However, Greece and Cyprus find themselves in a trap. Konstantakopoulos expands:

These “concessions”, if, and when they occur - because Ankara usually makes promises it does not keep - are combined and do not contradict the intense pressures which are simultaneously implemented (e.g. Aegean) as part of their goal to continue unimpeded in their EU accession course and also to achieve one of Ankara’s primary goals of state sovereignty over the Aegean/Cyprus.

Ankara requests “reciprocity”, i.e. Greek concessions, every time they consider fulfilling their obligations. In the case of Halki, in return they request the expansion of rights of the Muslim minority in Thrace. Simultaneously, the Turkish consul in Komotini, has gone beyond its diplomatic terms of reference by going from village to village and acting rather like a “political leader” of the “Turkish minority”, rather than a foreign diplomat, despite repeated misgivings expressed by the regional government. In the end, rather than the Turkish diplomat complying, the governor ceased to attend many events attended by the diplomat! As for the leadership of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it appears to be ignoring the information provided by the secret services on Turkish activities in Thrace.



In contrast, no Greek government has ever dared to remind Ankara about what happened to the Greek minority in Turkey which was expressly protected by the Treaty of Lausanne. Konstantakopoulos then continues about the role being played by the United States on some of the abovementioned issues:

Meanwhile, Washington is now pressing for quick solutions to the problems impacting the external relations of Greece such as Cyprus, the Aegean and Macedonia. Also, American diplomats have indirectly but clearly posed the question of a “review” of the status quo of the Aegean (Treaty of Lausanne). For example, the extremely philo-Turkish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gordon deplored the low flyover flights over the Greek island of Agathonisi by the Turkish airforce, requesting the suspension of these activities, essentially to allow for a Greek-Turkish dialogue on “disputed issues” of sovereignty.


Undoubtedly, Ankara will make it appear to the US and the EU that it is caving in, presenting it as a concession, and then requesting allowances from the Greeks. This is a tactic that has regularly been followed by Mehmet Ali Talat in Cyprus. This tactics works because Greece and Cyprus have fixed objectives in maintaining a “good climate” in relations between Greece and Turkey whereas Turkey has never made the same sacrifices. Therefore, Turkey has greater strategic flexibility compared to Greece.

Konstantakopulos
further clarifies the strategic mistakes made by Greece and Cyprus regarding to Turkey's EU access process and the limited set of choices that are currently available to them:
The problem is not tactical but strategic. Greece has declared a policy of “full integration and full compliance” for Turkey's entry into the EU; however, they practically consented to launch negotiations without raising the issue of removing Turkish demands and threats in the Aegean or the recognition of Cyprus. This “tactic” led Ankara into an extremely advantageous win-win position. Either they continue the tough stance, possibly extracting more Greek concessions, or they agree to Greek requests, demanding requisite reciprocations from Nicosia and Athens. For example, if they open the ports to Cypriot trade, it would appear strange to other EU members for Greece or Cyprus to veto opening new chapters because Turkey does not recognize Cyprus.

It makes no sense to put major issues such as the protection of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty from threats, occupation and assorted claims at the end of the accession process. This is because the process will stop, without Greece-Cyprus gaining anything and attracting the ire of Turkey and EU members or we are made to finally accept Turkey into the EU with all its demands.


Source: Dimitris Konstatakopoulos, Antipodes

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The integration of Diaspora Greeks into Greek national life part 2

Diplomatic Periscope has recently posted an article by Mr. Ioannis Touloumakou, Professor of the Faculty of Philosophy at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The article is an attempt to trigger a discussion on the role of the Greek Diaspora (or more accurately the Omogeneia) on Greek and Cypriot national life and Hellenism more broadly. Antipodes posted some of the proposals put forward by Touloumakou yesterday which can be found here.

To repeat, Touloumakou believes it is critical that the Greek Diaspora, despite its heterogeneity, should, and can be, a critical factor in the national strategy; particularly, today as the nation confronts a plethora of internal and external problems.

Touloumakou provides several proposals for the reform of Greek political life and requisite revision of the Constitution which will concern Greeks living abroad. They include the election of representatives of Greeks living abroad (Greek citizens) to the Greek parliament in a proportion determined by certain factors and for the President of the Republic to prepare and speak at the end of each year at the Parliament House; following the budget debate, “On the state of the Nation”, which will include comprehensive references on all the issues facing Greeks living abroad.

Touloumakou provides an interesting set of proposals (some have been largely incorporated) that focus just as much on the Diaspora's rights as their obligations. The Greek Diaspora often conveniently forgets that along with representational rights also come obligations to Greece.

Furthermore, it will be difficult to get broad agreement from Greek society and the Diaspora but at least his article does demonstrate that there are people who are thinking about utilising such a valuable resource as the Diaspora for the renewal of Hellenism. Like almost everything Greeks do, they construct the most wonderful ideas - such as Plato's Republic or the Byzantine cosmosystem (Contogiorgios) - but its in the implementation in which we fall down. The recent bickering in the Greek parliament, on how the Greek Diaspora will be represented, shows the Greeks have a long way to go.

Source: Diplomatic Periscope (Ioannis Touloumakou), Antipodes

Monday, July 13, 2009

The integration of Diaspora Greeks into Greek national life part 1

Diplomatic Periscope recently posted a thoughtful article by Mr. Ioannis Touloumakou, a Professor of the Faculty of Philosophy at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The article is an attempt to trigger a discussion on the role of the Greek Diaspora (or more accurately the Omogeneia) in Greek and Cypriot national life, and Hellenism more broadly. Antipodes will provide a two part series of translations from that article.

Touloumakou believes it is critical that the Greek Diaspora, despite its heterogeneity, should, and can be, a critical factor in the national strategy; particularly, today as the nation confronts a plethora of internal and external problems. However, Touloumakou points out the Greek Diaspora and its personalities, its history, geographical distribution, achievements and problems, is notably absent from the Greek school curriculum. Furthermore, the Greek Diaspora is hardly mentioned in the daily or periodical press and media of Greece.


Touloumakou then goes on to provide a series of ideas for the integration of Hellenes living abroad into Greek national life:

1. The establishment of a Ministry of Emigrants (the Greek Government had promised a Ministry to Greek parliamentarians from foreign countries after the 2004 Olympic Games, in which 25% of the Greek athletes were emigrants). The organization and responsibilities of this (independent) Ministry should be subject to a special study of specific factors by Greeks and Greeks abroad;

2. The reorganization of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (S.A.E) in accordance with the requirements arising from the (newly formulated) national strategy;


3. The establishment of an independent television channel with satellite range or the conversion of the existing Parliament House channel into an emigrant station;


4. The representation of Hellenes abroad in a new “National Institute of Educational Studies”, which will replace the currently (expensive and generally failed) Pedagogical Institute (and also a “Central Educational Council”) or the “National Institute for Radio and Television”, the “National Film Centre” and “National Book Centre”;


5. The reorganization of the education of Greek children abroad in close cooperation with the Church, whose role in this field, as in others, relating to cultural and social life of emigrants, was and is a national necessity;

6. The naturalization of young people of Greek origin under certain conditions, one of which (the most important) should be service (military or social) in the armed forces. The acute demographic problem, national defence program that cannot be addressed by professionals (and mercenaries) soldiers (especially after the recent reduction in the duration of military service) but above all the important educational role of the military in developing national and social consciousness, makes bringing volunteers of Greek communities abroad into the armed forces particularly important;

7. The introduction of Greek Olympic games every four years with the participation of young people from Greece, Cyprus and Greek communities abroad (and possibly foreigners, who know the Greek language and culture well); and


8. The establishment of Historical Museums for Diaspora Greeks in the capitals of the states, provinces or other jurisdiction which are comprised of many Greek immigrants.

To be continued.........

Source: Diplomatic Periscope (Ioannis Touloumakou), Antipodes

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Trouble continuing to brew in Thrace

The situation in Thrace continues to worsen. Turkey’s covert program of inciting the local Muslim population, whilst simultaneously raising minority concerns in bilateral relations with Greece in order to gain leverage on outstanding geopolitical issues, continues almost unopposed.

Many strategists in Greece believe Turkey's long term designs are to create another Cyprus (or the threat of another Cyprus
) or perhaps even a Kosovo whereby they use a false pretext, protecting a "threatened" Muslim minority, to invade another country. It should be noted that half of the Muslims living in Thrace identify as Greek Pomaks and Gypsies.

An article titled, “They are cultivating the climate for the minority” by Niko Meleti from the website, Infognomon highlights some of the strange developments that have been occurring amongst the Muslim community in Thrace guided by the support of Turkey. For example, just recently, Mustafa Sarnits, Turkish Consul General in Komotini, during the attendance of a children’s graduation ceremony of “Koran Koursou”, one of the many Islamic denominational schools which have filled Thrace, went to a Pomak village of Kechros and gave this message:

... I see here a Turkish community in abnegation. Continue this struggle without succumbing and support Turkism, thanks to you Turkism will continue in Thrace and will continue to live ...


Mr Sarnits, a few days later visited the Pomak village of Chloe, to participate in celebrations in which certain people are trying to re-introduce the “Forty Kourbania” (the forty sacrifices). The event is in memory of forty soldiers of Turk Suleiman Pasha, who fell in the struggle for the conquest of Thrace in the 14th century!

Turkey's stooges in Thrace are also urging Muslims to send their children to minority-only schools (not bilingual public schools), so as not to lose their religious and national identity, and to further the reach of Islamic Turkish identity.

Obviously, these incidents have raised legitimate concerns about the methodical and systematic effort of the Turkish
consulate - surpassing its mission and terms of reference - to cultivate favorable grounds for the demands of Turkey to interfere directly and in a divisive manner in the internal affairs of Greece. The Greek-Turkish "friendship" continues.....


Source: Infognomon (Niko Meleti), Antipodes

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The hypocrisy of Western capital: divestment from Iran, investment rises in Turkey

Last week one of the largest institutional investors of the United States, the New York State Pension Fund, stated they were divesting US$86 million from companies conducting business in Iran and Sudan. The complete news release can be found here.

The State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli stated that, "....they [investors] don't want us investing their future in excessively risky markets. And they shouldn't have their pension fund dollars jeopardize by regimes that support genocide and terrorism".


The sentiments expressed by DiNapoli are part of a growing movement amongst pension funds and other large investors such as foundations, endowments and high net worth/family offices in the United States and elsewhere towards making investment decisions within an environmentally and socially conscious framework.

Obviously, these sentiments are noble and honourable - every decent human being would like a better world. However, like all Utopian adventures, they can be abused by influential people and institutions for ends which are less than idealistic.

For example, leaving aside the case of Sudan, Iran is not currently occupying any foreign country with its armed forces, has not uprooted 200,000 people and refused to hand back their property and livelihood, has not destroyed the civic and religious architectural remains of a 4,000 year old civilisation and does not threaten a neighbouring country with low flyovers over inhabited areas in order to challenge its sovereignty. In addition, Iran does not deny the genocide of three important ethnic groups that surround it. However, there is one country which is currently doing all these, Turkey.

Absurdly, not only have pension funds not decided to divest from Turkey but they appear to be increasing their investments in Turkey judging by this article printed in the Turkish daily, Hurriyet earlier this year. For example, the total number of U.S. companies operating in Turkey was 834 in 2007 and those companies helped raise the total capital inflow from the United States to Turkey to around US$9.2 billion in 2007. Undoubtedly, the asset allocation decisions of some of the abovementioned institutional investors have contributed to this flow of capital.

Obviously, there is one rule for some and another rule for others. As mentioned before, investing according to environmentally and social responsible frameworks is theoretically sound but in reality power-relations determine who is socially acceptable and who is not.

Source: Huffington Post, Hurriyet, Antipodes

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Shipping as an asset class

Antipodes recently reported here how shipping was showing signs of a recovery from the steep declines experienced in 2008. The Greek merchant fleet is the largest in the world totalling a fifth of the world's shipping fleet. After tourism, it is the second largest contributor to Greece's 240 billion euro economy, accounting for around 7% of output.

However, after an impressive rise off recent lows, the Baltic Dry Index (BDY) is currently stuck in a narrow range. Investors appear to be uncertain about the global economic recovery. The Baltic Dry Index is an indicator of chartering prices and one of the most popular leading indicators of global economic growth. Despite the uncertainty many are advising that now is a opportune time to enter the shipping market.


One way to enter the shipping market is via some form of fund structure. Investors have increasingly sought alternative asset classes such as private equity, hedge funds, real estate, commodities and timber in order to diversify their investments away from the traditional stocks, bonds and cash. The historically low Treasury yields on offer of the last eight years, and the steep equity market declines during the latterhalf of 2007 and then most of 2008, have made the search for lowly correlated assetclasses to traditional asset classes even more urgent.

JP Morgan Asset Management, a subsidiary of U.S. investment bank JP Morgan, released a report in April 2009 titled, "Shipping industry in the spotlight - a historic opportunity" that provides a relatively easy to understand overview of shipping's economics and its worth as an asset class. The report can be accessed
here.

Of course, like all the advice or research expressed by investment banks one must be extremely wary
. JP Morgan Asset Management recently announced it would be raising USD$750 million for a distressed shipping fund. More details can be found here.

Source: JP Morgan Asset Management (Adrian Dacy), Bespoke, Antipodes

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Obama's Philo-Turkish policy and its weaknesses

U.S. President Barak Hussein Obama’s visit to Turkey in early 2009 and the statements he made to the Turkish parliament fueled intense discussion about the future geopolitics of the region. The general conclusion was that American foreign policy is now geared towards ending the purported “Clash of Civilizations” (Huntington) between the West and Islam that began with 9/11. The Americans are planning a re-rapprochement with Islam, by not only using the personality of the new president familiar with Islam and with a name of Arabic origin; but, they will also enlist the help of a traditionally strong Muslim ally - specifically Turkey. In short, Turkey has been invited by the U.S. to serve as a bridge or tool of U.S. policy towards the Arab-Muslim world.

Turkey, being an increasingly adept player of the global chessboard, and with global superpower ambitions, certainly intends to comply fully with the Americans, as it also serves its own ambitions. It is no coincidence, that a few weeks after the visit to Ankara by Obama, Ahmet Davutoglu was appointed the Foreign Minister of Turkey, a widely respected theoretician of re-making Turkey a global superpower. Antipodes highlighted some of his ideas here and here. Davutoglu argues that Turkey should act simultaneously at multiple levels: in Europe as a European power; in Islam as a Muslim power; and in Central Asia as Turanic power.

The consistently informative Greek-Thracian magazine, Antifonitis, recently published an article titled, “Greece, Turkey and the Eastern Question” by
Meleti Meletopoulos, Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at Geneva University and the President of the Democrats party. The article addresses many questions but one of them is Obama's Philo-Turkish policy and its weaknesses. It has been republished on a number of websites since it first appeared and has generated a lot of discussion.

Antipodes has
decided to provide a translation of the first part of the article because it provides a rather optimistic viewpoint regarding Turkey's geopolitical future and its relationship with the United States, providing a good comparison with some of the doomsday scenarios painted by other Greek commentators.

Certainly, both the American and Turkish school of thought suffer from serious theoretical and practical problems.

The internal contradictions of the Turkish state, its problematic political system, the large minorities of different national consciousness and cultural characteristics, economic and social vulnerability, the Kurdish issue, the failure to penetrate Central Asia and the Caucasus during the 1990s, the dynamic return of Russian policy, the crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations, etc., essentially undermines any attempt by the Turks to become even a regional superpower. Furthermore, Turkey is faced with the serious possibility of a secession of its eastern provinces and civil conflict between the Islamists and the Kemalists. Also, the collapse of accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union and towards a special relationship, will end of Turkey's efforts to lead Europe, using its demograpic growth and its Muslim minorities in Europe as levers.

But U.S. policy suffers from its own inherent contradictions, because it tries to reconcile conflicting objectives with the election of Turkey as a key partner, such as the simultaneous rapprochement with Russia, Iran, the Arab world and the need to maintain its relationship with Europe and Israel.

Contemporary Turkey is a third-world militarist society, which is ruled by increasingly theocratic leaders (which bases itself on the Koran rather than civil law). Its natural area, from a cultural and sociological perspective, is the Arabic Middle East. Turkey is a descendant of the Ottoman Empire, which its leader (the Sultan) had the title of Caliph, or leader of the Faithful, of the entire Muslim world. The purpose of the current Turkish leadership is to again make Turkey leader of the Islamic world.

If U.S. policy aims to make Turkey a channel towards Islam, it should be reconciled from the outset with the idea that Turkey will not function as a channel of the West to Islam, but as a conduit of Islam to the West. And a key element of this will serve the geo-strategic interests of Turkey.


Source: Antifonitis (Meleti Meletopoulos), Antipodes

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Skopjan leadership betrays its people

Hellenic Antidote has diligently and eloquently highlighted the deceitful, delusional and downright bizarre nature of the Skopjan regime and some of its people on a series of posts which can be found here. However, the political entity bordering Macedonia never fails to surprise.

Last week, German Left-wing newspaper, Der Spiegel ran an interview with F.Y.R.O.M. president, Gjorgje Ivanov. Before dealing with Ivanov, special mention must go to Der Spiegel which has established itself almost as a mouthpiece of the F.Y.R.O.M. regime after having published a series of interviews and articles whose only notable feature is their slavish
adherence to the insane beliefs and propaganda emanating from Skopje. These articles can be accessed here, here, here and here.

Returning to Ivanov, the 49 year old political scientist was elected president of F.Y.R.O.M in April 2009. In the interview with Der Spiegel, Ivanov discusses his country's conflict with Greece and his hope it will soon become a member of the European Union and NATO. He also suggests that in the 19th century all Macedonians lived together in one state and implies they were subsequently separated by the establishment of Greek Macedonia. He also suggests that Skopjans have a right to unify with other Skopjan minorities in neighbouring countries such as Bulgaria and Greece.

Not surprisingly, these comments correspond with the bizarre nature of the regime highlighted by Hellenic Antidote. Clearly, there was no political state entity in the 19th century called Macedonia in which all Macedonians (obviously Slav-speaking) lived together. Also, clearly there is no justification in claiming Greek Macedonia based on the existence of less than 2,000 Slav speaking people in Greece - whose ethnic identity is uncertain to say the least.

Furthermore, and even more seriously for the Skopjan people, Ivanov does not seem to realise that the European Union is becoming increasingly skeptical about further enlargement. And if any country was capable of assisting them, during this difficult time for EU aspirants to accede into the EU and NATO, it would be Greece. Rather, the Skopjan leadership prefers to continue with their insane nationalistic antics. More worryingly, they are continuing to solidify shady alliances with Turkey; which will ultimately align itself with Skopje's minority Albanian population, and spell the end of Slav dominance of F.Y.R.O.M.

Source: Der Spiegel, Antipodes

Monday, June 29, 2009

The social, economic and political basis of Greek Neo-Ottomanism Part 5

This is the last part of a summarised translation of George Karabelias's article, "The social basis of Neo-Ottomanism" which appeared in the November-December edition of the Greek magazine Ardin. The last Antipodes post can be accessed here.

Karabelias continues on how the Greek Neo-Ottoman elite requires complicity from the broadest possible segments of society in order to continue their project undisturbed; and therefore
, attempt through tourism and the selling of real estate to Europeans, to corrupt the last remaining Greeks. He also describes how on the islands of the eastern Aegean, there are growing calls for local businessmen to integrate economically with the “neighboring coast". At the same time, “Left-wing pacifists” make “friendship festivals”, that help to pave the way - despite Turkey's purported grey areas and the continued airspace violations - for the occupation of the Aegean.

Despite the doom and gloom which pervades Karabelias’s article he ends on a note of potential optimism about how the present crisis may galvanise people into resisting Neo-Ottomanism:

That is why, furthermore, the political and spiritual landscape looks so unhealthy and stalemated in our country because there are no parties of political, social and spiritual subjects who could offer resistance to this deadlock. However, the two major global deadlocks of our time, the ecological and economic collapse of globalization, will pose a tough test to Greek parasitism in Greece and Cyprus. And perhaps, as in all crises, it will trigger a set of questions that would lead a party of the people and intellectuals who will consciously oppose voluntary servitude and decline.
Obviously, Karabelias's analysis owes much to Marx and material dialectics; despite, showing few signs of sympathy for the contemporary Greek Left. His analysis of the de-nationalisation of certain parts of Greek ship-owning and other capital, Churchmen and intellectual New Leftists is accurate. There is a lack of data supporting some of his claims but it is only an article in a magazine. However, he does fail to mention the globalisation of the old Left and the working class where they sought to reach out to their Turkish (and Bulgarian, Skopjan and Albanian) working class counterparts in solidarity despite aggression against the Greek people.

Certain parts of the Greek Diaspora also manage to escape Karabelias's wrath. This is unfortunate because this is where some
of the most apparent signs of Neo-Ottomanism are present. For example, during the recent adulation poured on President Barak Obama by Archbiship Demetrios during Greek Independence Day celebrations, where he idiotically compared Obama to Alexander the Great, he failed to mention Turkey's miserable role in the bloody saga. Obviously, he was sensitive to American geopolitical designs which have recently elevated Turkey as a paragon of freedom, democracy and peace in the region.


Source: Ardin (George Karabelias), Antipodes

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The social, economic and political basis of Greek Neo-Ottomanism Part 4

Those who have read Byzantine history carefully will realise the events that occured on 1071, 1204 and 1453 were not really that critical to the Empire's disintegration. More important but less recognisable were the broader social forces which led to these events, such as the increasing power of the Anatolian aristocratic families and the Church at the expense of the small landholding and military classes. It is no coincidence the Byzantine Empire reached its greatest height, in terms of territorial expansion and finances, when Basil II, the Bulgar-Slayer, crushed the aristocratic elite and Church and gave back power to the small landholders, which supplied the army with most of its men and the empire with its agricultural produce and manufactures.

The last few posts of Antipodes (the last can be accessed
here) have provided a summarised translation of an article writen by one of Greece's best social commentators, George Karabelias for the magazine Ardin. Karabelias documents the changes in social, economic and political forces in Greece and elsewhere which have led to Greek Neo-Ottomanism and the weakening of a national consciousness. Much like the period after the death ofBasil II, Karabelias believes the balance of forces in Greek society has shifted in favour of a globalised "Greek" "parasitic" elite, which largely prefers its own narrow interests (in accordance with Neo-Ottomanism) at the expense of the nation.

Karabelias continues his increasingly caustic commentary with the odious figure of Costas Karras:

Typical are the views of the recently arrested (for illicit trade in antiquities) ship-owner, Costas Karras. He is a 17-year member of the secretariat of Bilderberg club, president of the Greek-Turkish Forum and the Greek section of CDRSEE (the organization that issued the history books of Mrs Koulouris) and he is a Great Archon of the Patriarchate. He is also an ecologist and acts as a mentor regarding ecological activities to Patriarch Bartholomew. Essentially, his views are that we must re-establish as the center of the Hellenism, the Phanari and the Patriarchate, and leave behind “nationalism”. This is because the Helladic nation-state and a free Cyprus are very small and insignificant for the investment and political dreams of a type of capital which is often Greek in name only.

Karabelias states that is why we witnessed representatives of Cypriot capital outbidding each other in support of the Annan Plan and the dissolution of the Cyprus Republic because it is an obstacle to their plans. Also, he believes this is why the Angelopoulos’s, the Karras’s and others slander those who support the defense of the homeland as "nationalism". These people, including educators, cultural experts and churchmen, call for the disintegration of nation-state and support abandoning arms and defense of the country. They are supporters of Greek-Turkish friendship and even if they are non-religious, are against the “nation-race” outlook of the Helladic Greek Church, as represented by the now deceased Archbishop Christodolou, in favour of the “universalism” of the “ecologist Patriarch” – in other words globalization and Neo-Ottomanism. Karabelias continues:

Furthermore, representatives of all parties, “capital” and the “Left”, co-sign the same texts in support and “solidarity” as happened with the signatures in favor of Mr. Karras, or for the pursued Mrs Repousi or for poor Costas Simitis.


To be continued.....

Source: Ardin (George Karabelias), Antipodes

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The social, economic and political basis of Greek Neo-Ottomanism Part 3

Antipodes finished the last post titled, "The social, economic and political basis of Greek Neo-Ottomanism part 2" with George Karabelias describing how the Greek "parasitic" elite came toopt for Neo-Ottomanism.

In the next section, Karabelias expands on the different uses of the terms "race" and "nation" and how they have been used to serve different agendas regarding the Greek people and nation-state.

More importantly, in the next section, Karabelias deals with the distancing from Greek national interests by Greek ship owners, who control an increasing proportion of banks, press and electronic media; and internationalized Greek capital, involved in banking and communications.
Shipping capital, because they are not related to the internal accumulation of capital of a small country such as Greece and far exceed it (the Greek shipowners operate the largest fleet in the world), has supranational features; or to be more precise, coincides largely with the interests of the major naval forces of the West, that control the global trade and transport. Thus, the center of action of Greek shipping is in London and New York, which suffered great damage from the recent crisis, and secondarily in Piraeus and Limassol. This distancing from the Greek community is intensified by the fewer Greek crews and seamen working on Greek ships.

Thus, Karabelias writes how Greece and Cyprus stand in an absoloute "paradox" with their illustrious shipowners and capitalists:

On the one hand, economically and politically, they are countries in the second tier of the West and treated as the poor or annoying relatives, and on the other hand ship owners participate fully in the heart of the West, and primarily Anglo-Saxon, multinational capital. And the greater "paradox" is that the Helladic Greek and Cypriot states are treated as poor relations of their own ship owners and other dealers, who largely have an extremely “flat” and “anti-nationalist” perception of the interests of Hellenism, preferring always the general interests of the West against the “narrow” interests of Greece or Cyprus. And if those interests coincide, as has happened in very few cases, things go well, if not, as often happens because of the geopolitical position of Greece, then they consider the interests of their wallet, or the general interests of the West.

Today the general interests of Anglo-Saxon capital, which Greek shipping and the general globalised Greek capital is tied into, ordain for our region, the following provision of power: in the center of a sub-imperialist station is Turkey, which in terms of size, location, economic potential and population outweighs all others. The other Balkan powers and Greece should be subordinated to Turkey and accept what we call Neo-Othomanism.

Greece, the Greek nation-state, and the Cypriot government, which is in direct rivalry with Turkish expansionism in Cyprus, the Aegean, Thrace, should subjugate their “special” interests; namely, national integrity and independence and the overriding interests of the alliance. That is why Anglo-American support for Turkey is permanent and stable and why they call on the Greek-Cypriot elites to align themsevles with this strategy. The main lever for this “transition” of the Greeks of Greece and Cyprus is the same “Greek” international capital and domestic Greeks subordinated them.


To be continued......

Source: Ardin (George Karabelias), Antipodes

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The social, economic and political basis of Greek Neo-Ottomanism part 2

The last Antipodes post titled "The social, economic and political basis of Greek Neo-Ottomanism part 1" finished with George Karabelias writing that the Greek "parasitic" elite's role as the commercial intermediary between the Ottoman Empire and the West was similarly repeated in the intellectual and ideological field - the spiritual "modernization" of modern Hellenism was cut from the Byzantine tradition and stuck onto ancient Greeceand Western modernity - dependent entirely on Western universities and publishers. Byzantium was identified only with the religious aspect of Greek spirituality.

As a consequence, Karambelias
writes that the ruling elite of Greece (including the capitalists, Phanariots and clerics) did not have an organic link with the Greek people. From the Greek revolution and after, and throughout the long period until 1974, he describes how Greek capital and the elites shifted towards the West; since the Ottoman Empire was in decline until 1922, and Turkey did not resurface as an expansionist power in the region until 1974 (with the invasion of Cyprus). The parasitic Greek elite voluntarily became subjugated to the designs of the western Great Powers, primarily Great Britain and the U.S.

But since 1974, there began a transition period which lasted until the late 1990s, during which the Greek elites tried to resist the incipient Neo-Ottomanism of Turkey post the invasion of Cyprus, bringing Greece even more under the umbrella of the West and joining the European Union for protection.

However, the facts in the region had changed dramatically. The Balkans broke apart after the fall of the Eastern Bloc and the Arab world suffered another severe setback with the double invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally, Turkey to became an important economic and geopolitical pole due to its population (exceeding 70 million people) and trade several times the size of the Greece’s. In addition, with the threat of radical Islam in the West and the resurgence of “Russian aggression”, Turkey became a crucial hub of the New World Order. Karabelias then states the choices faced by the Greek elite and which option they eventually chose:

For the Greek elite there were two options: either to resist the extension of Neo-Ottomanism by setting up a Balkan and Middle Eastern bloc, as they tried to do when Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou was in power; or they could accept the new facts and join the emerging Neo-Ottoman reality, and merely balancing the Turkish influence on Greece with others - Western or Russian - and always with “reward” in mind, i.e. winning the Neo-Ottoman enterprise zone as a first step.

Since the last government of Andreas Papandreou, and especially from the time of the government of Kostas Simitis, in Greece, and from Glafkos Clerides in Cyprus, the second option became dominant.

With the early “bards” of anti-nationalism, the intellectuals of the Left; who prepared the ideological ground, the Greek ruling classes gradually became Neo-Ottoman. The Annan Plan, the policies of Dimitris Christofias, George Papandreou and Dora Bakoyannis, the Turkish television serials on Greek TV, Repousi [history book controversy] and Karras, the huge investments of the National Bank of Greece in Turkey and the growing role of the besieged Ecumenical Patriarch (controlled by Turkey) on Greek ecclesiastical life, are manifestations of this new reality; in which gradually, the Greek people have become addicted.


To be continued......

Source: Ardin (George Karabelias), Antipodes