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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The social, economic and political basis of Greek Neo-Ottomanism part 1

Antipodes has made reference to, or written about, the ideology Neo-Ottomanisn before. Indeed, the last post provided a summarised translation of the November-December editorial of Greek magazine, Ardin. The editorial defined the concept of Neo-Ottomanism, some of the forces which have contributed to its formation and its implementation across the Balkans, Middle East and Central Asia.

However, Neo-Ottomanism is not only an external threat. Despite 400 years of Ottoman occupation, the darkest, bloodiest and most unproductive period of Greek history, unbelievably there are some people in Greece, Cyprus and the Diaspora which promote the ideology of Neo-Ottomanism.

In the same edition of Ardin, the very important Greek sociologist, economist and historian, George Karabelias also contributed an article titled,
The Socal Basis of Neo-Ottomanism” which provides a historical analysis of the social, economic and political factors that have led to Greeks supporting Neo-Ottomanism. Karabelias begins:
.......various interest groups which have in their core the internationalized and parasitic bourgeoisie of Greece; but also many other parties, from groups of intellectuals and artists to progressive political parties and religious interests, either by voluntary servitude or by material factors (e.g. the very large number of discs which certain musicians sell in the Turkish market) promote a Greek-Turkish friendship with a view to profit.

Karabelias then writes about the formation of this "parasitic elite" amongst certain sectors of Greek and Cypriot society and its visible signs of Neo-Ottomanism, including:
......the support of Turkey in the EU, the acceptance of a fait accompli regarding the occupation in Cyprus, the sermons that the Ottoman occupation was less than harmful. Since the time that a Neo-Ottoman Turkey returned as a "strong power" in the region, whilst at the same time the influence and power of Anglo-American interests has waned, a growing segment of the Greek elite are readying themselves to take on a role of modern Phanariotes, accepting the domination of the new power.

Karabelias then goes back in time to identify the roots of this Phanariotism. He believes the double occupation of the Greek world from 1204 onwards, by the West and the Ottoman Turks, did not allow the Greek bourgeoisie to create a system of domestic production but rather turned the lands on which Greeks lived into a semi-colony exporting raw materials such as cotton, grapes and tobacco:
For the Greeks and the Armenians, the only role that was permitted was that of the intermediary between the West and the Ottomans, and this is why the Greek middle class developed as a commercial or commercial-naval power. Hence, from the 18th century the Greeks became more active in the Danube, southern Russia, Austro-Hungary, Smyrna and Constantinople as traders, and on the islands, as seamen.

One of the consequences of Ottoman rule and the "transit-trade" character of Greek business were similar developments in the intellectual and ideological field. The spiritual "modernization" of modern Hellenism was cut from the Byzantine tradition and stuck to ancient Greece and Western modernity - dependent entirely on Western universities and publishers - and Byzantium was only identified with the religious aspect of Greek spirituality…..

To be continued......

Source: Ardin (George Karabelias), Antipodes

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Neo-Ottomanism and Hellenism

Antipodes has written previously about Turkey's ascendant Neo-Ottoman policy and its acceptance amongst a small but growing number of Greeks in Greece and Cyprus. Ardin, a long-running Greek magazine and its sister newspaper publication, Rixi have written extensively on this subject matter in recent years.

Below is a translation of the editorial from the November-December 2008 edition of
Ardin which provides a brief overview of the concept of Neo-Ottomanism and its implementation across the region:
.............[Neo-Ottomanism] is the resurgence of invasive imperial policies from Turkey; and the formation, within the neighboring countries of Turkey, of social and political forces that are prepared to accept and to actively contribute to shaping the Neo-Ottoman framework.

Specifically, in Greece and Cyprus we have documented Neo-Ottomanism (or Phanariotism), in the form of acceptance and allegiance to Turkish expansionism, despite Turkey continuing to occupy northern Cyprus and threatening Greece in the Aegean and Thrace.

The Neo-Ottomanism has its starting point in the invasion of Cyprus in 1974, while it was greatly enhanced by the geopolitical changes in the wider region including: the collapse of the Soviet Union; the disintegration of the Balkans; and the deterioration of the Arab world. This opened a wide gap that facilitated greater Turkish geopolitical influence stretching from the Turkic republics of Central Asia to the Balkans and the Middle East.

The internal factors behind the the consolidation and growth of Neo-Ottomanism was rapid economic growth, inflow of foreign capital and the large population growth of Turkey, which providing a material basis for a Neo-Ottoman policy - together with the strengthening of the armed forces and war industry. In the ideological field, Islamism on an increasingly global scale, has provided the opportunity for Turkey to abandon secular Kemalism and create a new ideological synthesis classified as Islamo-Kemalism.

Thus, a Neo-Ottoman Turkey can use the Islamic dimension in its relations with Islam, the integration of the Kurds and the use of Muslim minorities in the Balkans; and its secular Kemalist dimension in its relations with the West and in joining the European Union.

Greece and Cyprus, and the Kurds in Turkey, are the two main obstacles to the complete implementation of Turkey's Neo-Ottoman strategy. Hence, the need for their subjugation and allegiance using a mixture of methods and tactics. Firstly, the use of violence or threat of violence in Cyprus, the Aegean, Thrace and Kurdistan. Secondly, and in parallel, the ideological integration and acceptance of Neo-Ottomanism amongst the Kurds through the creation of Islamism and Kurdish elites that identify with the Turkish state. And regarding the Greeks in Greece and Cyprus, the integration of an increasing number of economic and intellectual elites, in the Neo-Ottoman Balkan project and the parallel decline of internal Greek resistance.
Source: Ardin (Editorial), Antipodes

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Greek-Australians outdo Australians but should we care?

In the 2006 Australian Census conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1.86% of respondents answered "Greek" when asked "what is the person's ancestry?”. Therefore, according to the recently released BRW (Business Review Weekly) Rich 200 table, Greeks are disproportionally represented amongst the wealthiest Australians. The Greek-Australian newspaper published in Melbourne, Neos Kosmos published a short article on this achievement which can be accessed here. Six Greeks made it into the top 200 rich list representing 3% of the group compared to a broader Greek population of 1.86%.

The Greeks in the list are involved in somewhat traditional Greek commercial pursuits such as property and development, pearling (Greeks from the Dodecanese were brought to Australia early in its history to fish for pearls), hotels and leisure; and less traditional pursuits such as mining and information technology.

These results are encouraging; however, how much of a Hellenic consciousness do these people have and how much do they actually bequeath to their community? Furthermore, how organized are Greek-Australian associations in receiving their donations and funneling them into causes which will enhance the Greek-Australian community such as teaching the Greek language and culture, aged care, health, Orthodoxy, media and the promotion of Hellenocentric positions regarding national issues such as Cyprus, the “Macedonian” name issue, northern Epirus and Turkish aggression in the Aegean and Thrace? Certainly, the self-defeating religious and political schisms that have bedeviled the Greek-Australian community do not help.

There is no point in feeling any sense of pride if the surplus wealth of these wealthy Greeks does not go back to their community.

Source: Neos Kosmos, ABS, Antipodes

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Illegal Muslim immigrants and Geopolitics

Ioannis Theodoratou, Editorial Director of the Greek monthly Defence Review, recently wrote an important article on the recent riots by illegal Muslim immigrants in Athens, the consequences of the massed entry of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants and Muslims in Greece and the role of Turkey. Antipodes has previously referenced Theodoratou here.

Theodoratou believes that Muslim immigrants protesting outside the Parliament House in downtown Athens and crying “God is Great” is only the beginning of their mobilization. He is almost certainly right. Problems will worsen due to Greece lacking a reliable system for monitoring maritime borders; and therefore, unable to control further illegal immigration. Although, there is an agreement between Greece and Turkey for the return of those who cross the border illegally, Ankara has so far refused to accept them back and Athens does not exercise any pressure.

Furthermore, Theodoratou views the latest problems with illegal Muslim immigrants in the broader context of Greece failing to uphold its national security:

This is again ample proof of the total failure of our country to defend its basic national interests. Another recent example of the “Finlandisation” of Greek policy occurred on June 4, duringthe official visit of senior Greek military personnel to Turkey in order to "normalize" bilateral relations; however, Turkish fighter planes were at the same time flying low over the island of Agathonisi. So apart from exercising military pressure on Athens, Ankara has in its “quiver” the selective dumping of Muslim immigrants to certain islands in the Aegean.

Theodoratou then asks the question why should illegal Muslim immigrants worry us more than others and why is the recent increased flow such a threat to national security. He answers:

We should be worried because of the political use of Muslims by countries whose strategic interests conflict with Greek ones. For example, Ankara has over the last five years tried to create within Greece a “window of opportunity” through which to intervene indirectly the domestic political scene. The first example of these new tactics were noticeable during the recent European elections. After the incidents in central Athens concerning the damaging of a Koran by a policeman, the Advisory Committee of Thrace, a Muslim minority institution, urged Muslims in the region to vote "blank". The incident in Athens was seen as an excellent opportunity to garner support amongst Muslims in Thrace to protest towards Europe - the abstention of about 48-49% in the prefectures of Xanthi and Rhodope was significant compared to the broader national context. At the same, a trend worth mentioning was that some people, obviously poorly informed, had taken the instructions of abovementioned committee literally and voted for the “Blank” party, in the Rhodope prefecture, which strangely came fourth, with 2,591 votes or 4.84% of the vote!

We should note that the Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan and the Foreign Minister, Davutoglou already prescribe a policy of protecting Muslim religious minorities throughout the Balkans. Antipodes has previously written about this policy here. Davutoglou has proposed that Turkey should create a legal basis to justify the intervention of Turkey; bringing forth, the example of the invasion of Cyprus in order to protect the Turkish minority there.

Theodoratou then writes that over time illegal Muslim immigrants in Greece and longstanding Muslims in Thrace will become better organised and will receive increased financing from foreign sponsors such as Saudi Arabia. He also writes:

Human rights will be used as political tools by the powerful regional/global powers to promote their wider geopolitical interests. Thus, in the case of the Muslims in Greece, they are asserting their rights, which runs counter to national security, at a time of increasing American openness towards the Islamic world. At the same time, the United States promotes the "right to self-determination" in conjunction with the obligation to accept a multi-racial and multi-religious future.

We see a path of convergence in U.S.-Turkish interests, which along with the problem of illegal Muslim immigrants in Greece, should not be ignored by Greek planners. This convergence will become progressively clearer and is expected to lead to an escalation of pressure over the next few months on other issues such as Cyprus, the Aegean Sea, the exclusive economic zone, etc.

In the media, Ankara enjoys the support of prominent Americans, who are either ignorant of history or deliberately lie in order to support the important geo-strategic role of Turkey. On 2 June, the Joint Chief of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces, Admiral Mullen, speaking at an event of the 28th Annual Meeting of the US-Turkish relations, said that Turkey fought with the United States on the side of the Allies during the WWII!

In future, we should expect other such "innocent" statements, which in combination with the exploitation of Muslim immigrants in Greece as political tools, will lead to clear political goals. Already there has been an attempt to register the Albanian Muslim minority in Greece - to provide them with more political "expression" by giving them greater political rights.

Theodoratou interprets the recent protests by Muslim illegal immigrants and the massive wave of illegal immigrantion through a geopolitical lens rather than simply being a problem of humanitarian concern. He also recognises the interesting correlation of forces at work which are likely to exert additional pressure on Greece in the medium term. Considering the spineless political class currently governing the country the future looks increasingly grim.

Source: Defence Review (Ioannis Theodoratou), Antipodes

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The distance between Turkey and the EU widens

George Delastik, a respected Greek journalist, writing for the Greek newspaper, IMERISIA, claims in a recent article that the distance between Turkey and the EU has widened following the recent European elections. The original article written in Greek can be found here.

In response to the increase in the right-wing across most of Europe, Delastik writes that the Turkish press has interpreted the European election results as showing that Europeans are increasingly turning against Turkish membership of the EU.

The most glaring increase in the right-wing vote was in the Netherlands where the leader of the Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, won wide repute and notoriety across the EU for saying that “Turkey will not join the EU even in one million years!” In Italy, the party of the Northern League doubled its vote to 9.5%. Roberto Kota, the chief executive of the Northern League, which is part of the Silvio Berlusconi’s government, declared, “We will work above all to block illegal immigration and the entry of Turkey into the EU”.

However, Delastik points out that Turkey faces problems beyond just the extreme right. “The biggest concern for Turkey's accession course is the rise of extreme right and the Christian Democrats”, notes the newspaper Sabah, and stressing the fall of the Socialists, which support Turkish accession to the EU.

The latest European election results have also had an alarming impact on Turkish public opinion. Delastik writes:

The apparent increase of anti-Turk feelings of Europeans has apparently generated feelings of alienation in Turkey. Recent research at the University of Istanbul Bachtsesehir showed that almost 80% of Turkish respondents believe the EU would reject Turkey's accession even if it met all the criteria.

Only 22% of respondents believe full integration in the EU will occur; despite, 60% of respondents welcoming inclusion into the EU as a very positive development. However, over 35% of respondents considered the strengthening of relations between Turkey and the Islamic world as a more important objective.

Strangely, it appears the wider the distance between Turkey and the EU, the closer the Greek government comes to Turkey. Only recently as part of a long-running process of "Finlandisation", Greece accepted a Turkish commander to be occasionally stationed in Larissa.

Source: Imerisia (George Delastik), Antipodes

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The absurdity of the Annan Plan

An interesting article titled “What If: The Annan Plan and Turkey” written by Marcus A. Templar appeared recently on the Greek website Antibaro. The article poses an interesting ‘what-if’ scenario for the Turks and all those in the international "community" who never stop bleating about democracy and freedom but really run roughshod over justice.

As most people would recall, the Greek Cypriots were and are the majority population, counting more than 80%, on the island of Cyprus. They strongly rejected the Annan Plan, that was developed by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan (with the support of the United States and the United Kingdom), in a referendum in April 2004 for reunification with the small Turkish minority - excluding settlers from Anatolia the Turkish Cypriot minority numbers around 18 per cent. The Greeks believed the Annan Plan was unfair while the government of Turkey (and many Greek politicians) praised it as accommodating to both parties.

Coincidentally, the size of the Turkish minority in Cyprus roughly equals the percentage of the Kurdish minority in Turkey. Templar then writes:

Given long-standing Kurdish demands for greater political and other rights in Turkey, an interesting “what if” question arises- -if the Annan Plan were implemented within Turkey for its Kurdish minority, would the Turks still find the plan fair and practical?

Here’s the “what if?”

Upon agreement of the two main communities living in Turkey (Kurdish and Turkish), the present state ceases to exist pending approval of the citizens of the Turkish Republic through a nation-wide referendum. Immediately after the approval of the new settlement, the new state is a reality. There is no going back to the old state even if later on majorities in both the Kurdish and Turkish areas overwhelmingly vote to do so. Under the provisions of the Plan, Turkey becomes a bi-zonal and bi-communal federal state in which 37% of its land passes to the new government of the Kurds. The new federal state is misnamed “United Turkey Republic” and under the new Constitution, the two major ethnic groups (Turkish and Kurdish) have equal representation in the proposed Senate regardless of unequal populations. Under the above provision, the state comes to a standstill.

The Supreme Court consists of an equal number of Kurdish (18% of the population) and Turkish judges (80% of population) plus three foreign judges; thus, foreign players would cast deciding votes. Since a hierarchy of laws does not exist, the federation is an actual confederation in which the component states are the source of laws for the central authority and not the other way around! One must have in mind that the reason the United States had abandoned its original confederation structure was because it was not workable. The Constitution of the United States established in 1789 gave clear federal supremacy over the laws of its constituent states. All state laws in the United States originate from federal laws.

Turkish and Kurdish populations are displaced, each moving to the other's pertinent ethnic territory. Time restrictions on the right of free and permanent installation of Turks back to their homes and properties in the Kurdish state are imposed; Kurds have no restrictions. Those Turks who choose to live in their old homes in regions under the Kurdish administration have no local civil rights because only Kurds may elect the political representatives of the Kurdish state. In addition, the Turks that stayed in the Kurdish lands will never be allowed to make up more than 6% of the population in any single village. In this manner, Turks are prevented from setting up their own schools and are even unable to give birth once this quota is reached! '

The economy of the new federal Turkey is separate with no common monetary and fiscal policy. In addition, Turkish businesses are not allowed to invest in the Kurdish constituent state, and while all provisions above benefit the Kurds, the Turkish taxpayer ends up paying for all modifications, adjustments, and conversions in the new republic because the UN considers that in the previous decades the Kurds suffered enormously and must be compensated. In addition, Turkish citizens are not allowed to file any complaints with the European Court of Justice in relation to any losses suffered because of the implementation of the Plan.

The above “what if” analysis indicates what could happen to the Turks if the Plan had applied to Turkey and depicts what would have happened to the Greek Cypriots had they voted for the Annan Plan for Cyprus' reunification.

Source: Antibaro (Marcus A.Templar), Antipodes

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More provocations from the Skopjan Diaspora

The provocations against Greece and Greeks by the Skopjan Diaspora continues to intensify. A Greek-Australian teacher recently sent a letter written in Greek to Greek political news website, Infognomon expressing his alarm at the situation:

the "Macedonians" of Melbourne and all of Australia, have from their media in Australia, made terrible attacks against Greece and the Greeks. We are characterized as "bastards", "freaks of nature", "bogeymen" "Conquerors of Aegean Macedonia", "fascists", "barbarians" and responsible for genocide, and the ongoing intimidation, of the "occupied" territories of Macedonia ....

The teacher recommends that readers visit the website of Greek-Australian newspaper, O Kosmos and click on the archive for the 3 June 2009 edition to read an update on the Skopjan provocations. He then continues:

The war has been declared by their local media, and it is a tough message to us Macedonians and Greeks in general, that the road ahead will be long one, that the "Macedonians" (Skopjans) will gnaw away at us from outside Greece, while in Greece, the politicians will continue to sleep. The issue is being lost and our politicians remain indifferent.....There is a need for the continued mobilization of truth in the view of the Macedonian issue!

Unfortunately, with European elections, petty party politics, financial scandals, the appointment of Turkish commanders as NATO administrators in Greece and personal career ambitions preoccupying the minds of Greek politicans, there is little hope they will give even a passing thought to Skopjan insults in the Diaspora.

Source: Infognomon, Antipodes

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Greek investment in F.Y.R.O.M falls sharply

Nations are engaged - alongside their national companies - in offensive policies to conquer external markets and to take control of sectors of activity considered to be strategic. For Nations today, the quest for power and assertion of their rank on the world stage depends more and more on their economic health, the competitiveness of their companies and the place that they occupy in world trade. In this world which is becoming global, nation’s political interests are taking second place to economic interests. This shift signals the start of a new era, that of geo-economics.

The above passage was written in 1999 by Pascal Lorot, the renowned French political scientist, economist and president of the Institut Choiseul for International Politics and Geoeconomics, as part of a larger commentary on the emerging discipline of geo-economics. Although, the recent credit crisis has probably seen a re-emergence of the State at the expense of the economy in international relations, Lorot was documenting an increasingly important phenomenon.

However, the author most responsible for the current usage of the term geo-economics was Edward Luttwak which Antipodes has written about previously here. As described by Luttwak in 1993, the term geo-economics means nothing more than "the continuation of the ancient rivalry of the nations by new industrial means". War has been substituted by industrial conquest. Geo-economics describes a situation in which instead of "measuring progress by how far the fighting front has advanced on the map”, “worldwide market shares for the targeted products” that are the yardstick.

The implication of Lorot and Luttwak's thesis is that geo-economic strength can change power relations between nations - which may lead to subjugation or domination. Therefore, the news that Greek investment in F.Y.R.O.M has dropped sharply is disappointing.

The articled titled “FYROM: Significant reduction of Greek investment” written by Alexandra Gkitsi and published in Greek at Euro2Day describes how there has been a significant drop of Greek
investment in neighbouring F.Y.R.O.M. Relying on reports from the Office O.E.Y. at the Greek Embassy in Skopje, a Skopjan newspaper reported that Greek investors have begun to withdraw from F.Y.R.O.M and have left “the field open for the Slovenian capital”.

According to the Central Bank of F.Y.R.O.M, in 2008 Greek investments were only 12 million euro, of which 2 million were reinvested profits, while the remaining 10 million were loans awarded to ensure ongoing operations of companies. The above figure shows a significant reduction of investment when compared with that of 2007, which amounted to 44.6 million euros (5.3 million equity, 35.5 million reinvested earnings and 3.8 million euro loans) and 2006, which amounted to 40.7 million euros (3.1 million equity, 35.3 million reinvested earnings and 2.3 million loans).

More than likely something is happening, in terms of economic relations between the two countries Greece and F.Y.R.O.M, and the underlying reasons are probably political (i.e. problem with the name "Macedonia"). If this trend continues any potential for Greek political leverage declines.

Source: Euro2Day (Alexandra Gkitsi), Antipodes

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Paradise Lost" by Giles Milton, another agent of Neo-Ottomanism: Part one

Over the next few weeks Antipodes will provide a series of posts reviewing the book, "Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922 The Destruction of Islam's City of Tolerance" written by Giles Milton and published in 2008.

Paradise Lost purports to provide a history of the life of the inhabitants of Smyrna before the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922. It also claims
to provide some background on the political events and personalities that led to the Turk's final bloodthirsty pillage. However, despite the author's somewhat fluid writing style the book only acts as another instrument of an insidious ideology that has been growing rapidly but steadily in the minds of Western and Turkish elites.

Much like
the despicable "Salonica: City of Ghosts" by Mark Mazower, Giles Milton concludes that the cosmopolitan life renowned the world over and commercial strength of Smyrna was only made possible by the enlightened Ottoman administration (he is generally scathing of the nationalist Turks). However, a person with only a passing knowledge of Ottoman history will conclude that it was the lack of Ottoman administration that allowed Smyrna to become so envied. In addition, he primarily writes the history from the perspective of the Levantine families of Smyrna (French and English families which had settled there 200 years before but had retained their nationality) including first person narratives collected from their personal letters and diaries. This is strange because the majority population in Smyrna was Greek with sizeable populations of Armenians, Jews and Turks. Obviously, their stories were not important enough to tell in the same detail.

In summary, Milton's history is incomplete and bedevilled by Western prejudices. Most importantly he really comes across as just another agent of the growing ideological edifice of Neo-Ottomanism, created and spread by European, American
, Turkish and even some Greek people and organisations. They generally believe that the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean was, and will be, best governed by a benevolent 'Islam-lite' Turkey implementing mostly Anglo-American neo-liberal political and economic policies for their own benefit. Barak Obama's recent trip to Turkey and his outrageous overtures to the Turks was an obvious manifestation of this line of thinking.

Not surprisingly,
one of the most enthusiastic mouthpieces of Neo-Ottomanism, the Economist magazine, thought the book was balanced. Of course they would as their average reader would conceive of themselves as the Levantine families depicted in Milton's book, lording it over their uncivilised and unruly Balkan, Mediterranean and Oriental subjects, with a newly Ottomanised modern Turkey acting as policeman and bully.

Source: Paradise Lost (Giles Milton), Antipodes

Friday, June 5, 2009

The illusion of Greek-Turkish friendship Part Two

This is part two of a series of translations selected by Dr Ioannis Mazis which appeared on the Anixneusis website (a talk show on Greek television channel ET3). The first part of this series can be accessed here. The translations are from a book titled "Stratejik Derinlik” (or Strategic Depth in English) first written in 2001 by the newly appointment Foreign Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu.

Dr Ioannis Mazis, is the professor of Geopolitics and Economic Geography at the Ionian University. Mazis seeks to highlight how Greek commentators have selectively used readings from Davutoglu’s books to make inferences which are not matched by Davutoglu’s writings on Greek and Cypriot relations with Turkey.

[Sub-title] The strategic Gordian knot of Turkey: Cyprus

Cyprus, which occupies a central position in the global continent [Eurasia] - located almost equidistant from Europe, Asia and Africa - is together with Crete, on a line that intersects the sea lane passages. Cyprus occupies a position between the Straits [of Hormouz], which separate Europe and Asia, and the Suez Canal, which separates Asia and Africa; while its current position is like a stable base and aircraft carrier, which acts like a pulse in the seaway of Aden and Hormouz, which together with the basins of the [Persian] Gulf and the Caspian Sea, are the most important lanes connecting Eurasia-Africa.

Page 176:

A country that ignores Cyprus can not be active in global and regional politics. In global politics it cannot be active, because this small island occupies a position that (may) directly affect the strategic linkages between Asia-Africa, Europe-Africa-Asia and Europe.

It cannot be active in regional policies, because Cyprus, with its eastern tip projects like an arrow towards the Middle East, whilst its western ridge is like a foundation stone of the strategic balance existing in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans and North Africa.

Page 178:

Turkey, due to its geographic position, is influenced by many forces, but is required to assess its Cypriot policy, outside of the Turkish-Greek equation.

The Cyprus policy is a rapidly growing problem of Eurasia and Middle East-Balkan region (West Asia-Eastern Europe). The Cypriot policy [of Turkey] must be placed in a new strategic framework, appropriate to this new strategic context.

The Cyprus issue's importance, from Turkey’s perspective, can be traced along to two main axes.

One of them is the axis of humanitarian value, oriented towards ensuring the security of the Turkish Muslim community, as a result of the historical responsibility of Turkey. (...)

Page 179:

(...) A failure [of Turkey] to [possibly] secure and protect the Turkish community of Cyprus can be spread like a wave in Western Thrace and Bulgaria - and even in Azerbaijan and Bosnia.

The second important pillar of the Cyprus problem is the importance of the island from a geo-strategic viewpoint.

(...) Even if there was no Muslim Turks in Cyprus, Turkey is obliged to have a Cyprus issue. No country can remain indifferent towards such an island located in the heart of that vital area. (...)

Page 179:

This geo-strategic importance has two dimensions. One of them has a close strategic importance and relationship with the Turkish-Greek balance and T.D.V. Cyprus-Greek section [sic!] in the eastern Mediterranean.

The second dimension of the geo-strategic importance and significance is related to the position of the island within a global and regional strategy.

Page 180:

Cyprus cannot be ignored by any regional or global power which makes strategic calculations in the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea, the Suez, the Red Sea and the Gulf.

Cyprus is situated at such an ideal distance from all these areas which (may) affect each of them directly. Turkey’s strategic advantage on Cyprus gained in the 1970’s, must build on it not as part of a defensive Cypriot policy aimed at preserving the status quo, but providing fundamental support to an aggressive maritime strategy.

As stated before, this series of translations also helps to highlight what Turkey’s strategic moves mightbe over the next 10-15 years - intentions which markedly contradict the purported Greek-Turkish friendship.

Source: Anixneusis (Ioannis Mazis)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The illusion of Greek-Turkish friendship Part One

Over the last few weeks much has been written in the Greek press and amongst more ‘serious’ commentators about the appointment of Professor Ahmet Davutoglu as the Foreign Minister of Turkey. Antipodes also wrote about him here.

Dr Ioannis Mazis, Professor of Geopolitics and Economic
Geography at the Ionian University, which Antipodes has posted excerpts from previous pieces here, recently wrote an article on the Greek reactions to Davotuglu’s appointment which appeared on the website of ERT3 talk show Anixneusis.

Mazis writes that Greeks generally reacted in the most ‘ostrich way possible' by referencing selectively certain readings from his books; particularly, in regards to his view of “zero friction with neighbours Turkey”. However, Mazis writes that these commentators have failed to understand who
Davutoglu means when he writes about “neighbours” because judging by what Davutoglu writes, Greece and Cyprusshould not be included as ‘neighbours”.

Mazis then selects excerpts from Davutoglu's book
entitled, "Stratejik Derinlik" or better known in English as "Strategic Depth", first published in 2001, which refutes the conclusions (inferred from their selective readings) reached by some Greek commentators. A careful analysis of Davutoglu's writings may also provide some clues as to Turkey's strategic direction over the next 10-15 years. Antipodes provides the first of a two part series of translations for its readers below:
Page 174:

(The latest developments have shown that) the U.S., in creating a dynamic relationship between their policies for Eastern Europe and the Middle East, they are seeking to have control of the Hinterland of Europe and to fill the geopolitical vacuum that occurred in the Balkans-Middle East axis after the dissolution of Soviet. Union. The Aegean Sea and Cyprus are two important parts due to the line Eastern Europe-Middle East in terms of a land connection and the Adriatic-East Mediterranean-Gulf in terms of a sea connection.

Page 175:

(. ...) In this strategic plan, the Cyprus issue will come to the forefront in a more active way. (....)
Today, the Eastern Europe-Balkan-Adriatic-Aegean-East Mediterranean-Middle East and Gulf area is forming a very dynamic interaction. (....)

On this line which unifies the Balkans to the Middle East will be the inevitable development of a new plan.

Monday, June 1, 2009

NATO joint administration of Aegean airspace

An interesting article titled "NATO joint administration of Aegean" written by Kyras Adam was published in the Greek daily, Eleftherotypia last week. The article reports on the recent agreement made between the Defence Chiefs of Greece and Turkey regarding the new NATO structure for the Aegean.

Essentially, the agreement stipulates the closure of the NATO centre at Eski Sechir, Turkey (6 CAOC) and transfer of responsibility to the corresponding NATO centre at Larissa, Greece (7 CAOC). The NATO centre at Larissa will periodically have a NATO commander from Turkey. Previously, the commander was exclusively Greek. The article continues:

The current Greek government, according to existing information, have long insisted that Turkey shut down Eski Sechir and for Greece to formalize air control (for the purposes of NATO) of Bulgarian, Albanian and FYROM airspace. Due to technical difficulties (related to its radar range) Turkey could not satisfy this role on behalf of NATO. However, the article claims that Athens has given in return the activation of a new NATO structure for the Aegean, which opens the door for NATO joint administration of the Aegean airspace - at least the period during when a Turkish commander controls the NATO centre at Larissa. The article claims the Turkish commander can reasonably do everything he can to create and maximize problems between Greece and NATO when Greek fighter aircraft intercept Turkish fighter jets in the Aegean.

In other words, the Turkish commander in undertaking his duties can "prohibit", or can denounce Greece, to NATO, for the use of Greek aircraft assigned to NATO for the interception of Turkish fighter aircraft (which have also been allocated to NATO) in the airspace of the Aegean.

Greece has just given away another piece of its sovereignty in order to conduct policing on behalf NATO.

Source: Eleftherotypia (Kyras Adam), Antipodes