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

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