Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Greece accused of ‘cowardice’ over delineation of EEZs

I’ve translated below an extract from an article by Michalis Ignatiou – read the whole piece in Greek here – praising the ‘daring and courage’ of President Christofias for ignoring Turkish threats and turning on their head Cyprus’ traditional suspicion of Israel and pro-Palestinian sentiments by penning a deal with Tel Aviv for the delineation of Exclusive Economic Zones between Cyprus and Israel.

Ignatiou goes on to ask the question I’m sure we’re all asking ourselves, i.e. why Greece, in the face of similar Turkish belligerence, doesn’t get on and agree its EEZs with its neighbours – including Cyprus, which now has deals with Egypt, Lebanon and Israel, but not with Greece.

Where Nicosia has shown daring, Athens has flinched
The Republic of Cyprus has dared regarding a national issue where Greece has shown cowardice. A senior diplomat in Washington revealed to me that he has concluded that the Greek government is dominated by fear and won’t make the slightest move to delineate Exclusive Economic Zones with its neighbours. I hope the diplomat’s assertion is untrue because this will mean that on top of the economic tragedy Greece is facing, it will be inviting another, perhaps even worse, tragedy.

All the experts from all over the world agree that the delineation of EEZs is an inalienable right of each country, including Greece. The current government – and the previous one, to be fair – doesn’t dare exercise this right because it is scared of Turkey. Of course, there is another question, which only the prime minister and the foreign minister can answer, which concerns the secret negotiations aimed at coming to arrangement with Turkey over the Aegean. Papandreou and Droutsas may have denied the Turkish foreign minister’s assertion that Greece and Turkey are ‘doing business’ regarding the Aegean, but reports continue to suggest that this is exactly what is happening.

Turkey’s reaction after the EEZ agreement between Israel and Cyprus was expected: threats, exertion of pressure, blackmail, war-mongering. I imagine it would do the same in the event that Greece exercised its rights. The correct answer to Turkey was given by an Israeli official, who said: ‘Turkish claims to the maritime area based on their occupation of northern Cyprus constitute “chutzpah” that is unheard of in the international arena.’

Monday, 20 December 2010

Turkey’s real European intentions

The EU Commission released last week its annual report on Turkey’s accession to the union and essentially declared that there has been no progress, i.e. no new chapters have been opened and Turkey continues to refuse to ratify and implement the Ankara Protocol regarding the access of Cypriot traffic to Turkish ports and airspace.

Interestingly, Turkey, through its own negligence or reluctance, even failed to open chapters that aren’t blocked by Cyprus and France – on trade unions, competition and on government procurement and state aid.

What all this reveals is that Turkey is not that interested in joining the EU. Its European agenda is different, which is to use its accession process to gain a voice and expand Turkish influence on the continent without Turkey having to make any of the difficult reforms and sacrifices EU membership demands.

Thus, regarding Cyprus, Turkey is trying to blackmail the EU into acquiescing to Turkey’s plans for Cyprus by insisting it will only open its ports to Cyprus if the EU grants direct trade with the pseudo-state in the north of the island, i.e. for essentially nothing in return, Turkey is pressing the EU to satisfy its 60-year-old goal of partitioning Cyprus.

It’s also clear that Turkey is now using Turkish immigrant populations in the EU to act as Trojan horses to advance Turkey’s interests in Europe. Ethnic Turkish politicians in Germany, Holland, Austria, Sweden and in Brussels are increasingly exploiting Europe’s descent into multiculturalism to argue on behalf of Turkey and frame all resistance to Turkey and Turkish policies in terms of racism and Islamophobia.

Turkey’s ultimate goal is to shape Europe’s future by establishing itself as defender of the interests of all Muslims in Europe and as such it is no surprise that Turkey continues to facilitate and promote the flow of Muslim immigration to Europe, from the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Afghanistan.

Israel rejects Turkish criticism of Cyprus EEZ deal

Below is a report I’ve translated into English from today’s Phileleftheros regarding the spat between Israel and Turkey over the agreement signed last week between Cyprus and Israel delimiting the Exclusive Economic Zone between the two countries. See original article in Greek here.



Israel attacks Turkey over Tel Aviv-Cyprus EEZ deal  
The Israeli government rejects Turkey’s criticism regarding the agreement over the delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zone sea boundary signed last week between Cyprus and Israel.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said today: ‘This agreement is an issue between Israel and Cyprus and in no way affects a third country. We do not see how a third country would have anything to say about it.’

Palmor added: ‘We informed Turkey of the negotiations with Cyprus, which were conducted with complete transparency.’

Another Israeli official, this time unnamed, spoke in a less diplomatic fashion: ‘The Turks are displaying a sad cynicism by condemning the agreement with the argument that they occupy the northern part of Cyprus.’

On Thursday, the Turkish foreign ministry called in the Israeli ambassador to Ankara to protest the Israeli-Cypriot deal, which was signed the following day by Cyprus’ foreign minister Markos Kyprianou and Israel’s minister of infrastructure, Uzi Landau. The agreement is aimed at facilitating the investigation and exploration of natural gas and oil deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The music lives on… just about

 

A discussion on Dalaras on this thread prompted me to check out on youtube clips from the film Ta Tragoudia tis Fotias, which is footage from a concert held just after the fall of the junta in 1974 and contains the best examples and exponents of so-called έντεχνο λαϊκό music, Theodorakis, Loizos, Markopoulos, Xylouris, Dalaras and so on. The music is a reminder of how brilliant and unique Greek culture can be, and makes you wonder where it all went wrong, how it was possible for it all to have gone so στραβά given that even in 1974 Greek culture was still capable of such highs. Maybe, the way to look at the concert and the art it captures is as representing an end point for a certain period of Greek history, politics and culture, and that despite the youth and optimism of the musicians, audience, film and concert, in fact they weren’t heralding a new chapter in Greek culture – as they must have thought – but closing an old one.

The clip above is of a couple of Yiannis Markopoulos’ songs, the first – Πόσα χρόνια δίσεκτα – sung by Nikos Xylouris and the second is Μαλαματένια λόγια, sung by Lakis Halkias, Haralambos Garganourakis and Lizetta Nikolaou. It really is difficult to understand how the generation which was stirred by this music could then have gone on to wreck Greece in the way it has. I hope this generation, which has a lot to apologise for, doesn’t feel a need to reject and apologise for this music.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Wikileaks: Chris Patten says Cyprus ‘foisted’ on EU

Dribs and drabs are coming from Wikileaks relating to Cyprus. There’s been some remarks by Chris Patten, formerly the EU’s External Relations Commissioner, made to a US official in Brussels, on 28 April 2004, shortly after Cyprus entered the EU having rejected the Annan plan. Patten was a senior Tory politician and government minister in the 1980s and 1990s and was, indeed, the last British governor of Hong Kong. He is currently the chancellor of Oxford University. His remarks regarding Cyprus and Tassos Papadopoulos are not surprising, but here they are:

Next Steps On Cyprus/Papadopolous’ Dubious Character...
3. (C) The next steps for the Commission are figuring out how to spend money in Northern Cyprus. Patten expects the EC to open an office to oversee their assistance. While there will be legal hurdles to managing the process, he was confident the Commission would find a way. Patten doubted the Greek Cypriots would openly oppose any efforts, noting that they were “on their heels” diplomatically after their blatant efforts to stifle opposing views on the referendum. This incident, Patten said, was a sad reflection on the realities of EU enlargement: Some of the new members were people you would “only want to dine with if you have a very long spoon”. Not that the EU should have been surprised by Papadopolous’ behavior, Patten said, since they knew well who they were dealing with: Milosevic's lawyer.XXXXXXXXXXXX...  
And on Turkey

4. (C) Patten noted that he was the biggest proponent in the Commission for Turkey’s admission. In his view, based on the technical merits alone, the Commission has no other option but to give a positive avis to begin accession negotiations. Still, he said the political climate in Europe is not receptive to Turkey’s candidacy. The problem, in his view, was not Chirac in France, since “he can change his policies on a whim”. Patten considered the opposition of conservative parties in Germany and Spain the most serious obstacles to Turkish admission.

On the Difference Between a Union and an Alliance
5. (C) Patten also said he felt at times the US does not fully appreciate the difference between expanding an alliance like NATO, and a Union like the EU. When a country joins an alliance, it becomes a distinct member of a group committed to a common cause – but nothing more. When countries join the EU, they become part of the whole, formally and practically indistinct in many areas of EU competence. “We have to be ready to trust their food and sanitation standards, for instance.” In this regard, he noted that some of the accession countries were foisted on the EU as part of a larger bargain. Cyprus, for instance, probably should not have been admitted (as Papadapolous’ behavior prior to the referendum indicated), but the Greeks insisted on Cypriot admission as the price of agreeing to some of the northern European candidates. Croatia, Patten said, is probably far more prepared for EU membership than either Bulgaria or Romania, who will likely enter the Union earlier. Romania, in particular, was a “feral nation.”

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Nick the Greek and The Mask of Dimitrios



I’ve been reading Harry Petrakis’ novel Nick the Greek, an interesting and entertaining piece of Greek-Americana which is about the greatest gambler of all time, Nick Dandolos, who originated from Rethymnon. Dandolos, apparently, won and lost millions, although Petrakis suggests that an authentic gambler isn’t motivated by money, but by an extreme form of philotimo, a fearless gesture informed by self-abnegation and, ultimately, self-destruction. There’s a good chapter in Nick the Greek in which Dandolos spends time in Paris gambling and womanising with a fellow Greek high-roller, a sympathetic portrait of the arms dealer, the original ‘merchant of death’, Basil Zaharoff (Vasileios Zacharias). Zaharoff is supposed to have provided the inspiration for the character of Dimitrios Makropoulos in Eric Ambler’s brilliant noir novel The Mask of Dimitrios (1939), which relates the obsessive quest by an English writer to trace the career of the Smyrniot Makropoulos, who is a thief, killer, spy, assassin, drug dealer, drug addict, white slave trader and all the rest, a quest that takes him on a journey through inter-war Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and France. The book was made into a classic film noir in 1945, a clip from which is above.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Greek Cypriots urged to commit suicide



After Jack Straw’s intervention aimed at trying to scare the Greek Cypriots into submission by threatening partition; we have had this week all sorts of other Britons and Americans coming out of the woodwork demanding Greek Cypriots sacrifice themselves for the sake of Turkey’s EU accession process and the alleged wider interests of the Western world.

It started with this ignorant op-ed in the Financial Times again threatening Greek Cypriots with partition, which led to this letter from former US ambassador to Greece, Thomas Niles, and this one from former UK high commissioner to Cyprus, Edward Clay, both blaming Greek Cypriots for not gladly handing over their island to Turkey; letters that prompted this response from Cyprus’ high commissioner in London, Alexandros Zenon; which, in turn, awoke from his slumber Lord David Hannay, the UK’s special representative to Cyprus from 1996-2003 and the architect of the disastrous and shameful Annan plan, who wrote in his letter to the FT that Cyprus has no right to resist what Turkey, Britain and all the rest have in store for it. Hannay even appeared this week on Al Jazeera TV (see video above) to assert the merits of the Annan plan and berate Greek Cypriots for not committing suicide.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Muslims flex their muscles in Athens

I’ve translated into English the piece below by Stavros Lygeros, which originally appeared in Kathimerini, regarding Tuesday’s takeover by Muslims of squares and other landmarks in central Athens ostensibly to pray but in reality, as Lygeros points out, to demonstrate in as public and provocative a way as possible their intention to assert Islam in Greece.


Another form of ‘occupation’
It was only a matter of time before we were witness to this outcome of mass illegal immigration to Greece. Muslims publicly praying at the gateway to Athens University and other landmarks in central Athens was not just a protest at the failure to build a mosque in the capital. It was also a peaceful yet powerful show of strength. The Muslims declared that not only are they here, but that they are determined to dynamically project their cultural and religious identity in the Greek public space.

The ruling elite were happy so long as the Muslims scraped by ghettoised in the basement of society, the underpaid manpower of the black economy; but they didn’t appreciate that the collective expression of Muslims as a community was only a matter of time. And, of course, the Muslims exploited for their own purposes the post-1974 state of affairs in Greece that sanctions the occupation/abuse of the public space for any kind of protest.

The outcome was the public prayer at the gateway to the University of Athens, the place that symbolises the neo-Hellenic enlightenment; a place that, personally, it would annoy me to see the holding of a Christian liturgy.

Yesterday, the Muslims crossed the Rubicon. State and society cannot bury its head in the sand. It must establish boundaries, just like in the rest of Europe. The demand to build a mosque in Athens might be legitimate, but it is not legitimate to see such events that alter the cultural character of the city, and give an opportunity for the reactions of extreme elements. 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Jack Straw says Cyprus should be partitioned



Turkey’s president Abdullah Gul is in London this week to pick up the Chatham House Prize for – wait for it – ‘his contribution to improving international relations’. The prize is going to be given to him by the Queen. This is all part of Britain’s policy of bowing and scraping to the Turks. One of the chief exponents of this kow-towing is Jack Straw, foreign secretary from 2001-2006 in Tony Blair’s Labour government. To coincide with Gul’s visit, Straw has been making Turkey’s case on Cyprus in the press (see report in Greek here) and on the airwaves, explaining that in order for Turkey’s EU accession process to go ahead, the obstacle of Cyprus must be removed and this should be done by formally partitioning the island and recognising – Kosovo-style – an independent Turkish state in the north. Above is what the ignorant liar Straw said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. Prepare to be violently ill.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Achilles and the Tortoise



I’ve been watching Takeshi Kitano’s recent film, Achilles and the Tortoise, which uses Zeno’s paradox of the same name as a metaphor for artistic and human failure. The film is an extraordinary combination of comedy, tragedy, pathos and so on, which in its depiction of frustrated desire and thwarted endeavour reminded me very much of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Kitano has been a truly great artist for a long time, and Achilles and the Tortoise confirms that he is a man that remains at the height of his creative powers. My admiration for this genius knows no bounds.

The above clip is from the start of the film, which explains Zeno’s paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise while, just in case you thought the film is an animation or set in ancient Greece, the clip below is more illustrative of the film and one of its themes, which is the insane and self-destructive lengths people will go to for the sake of art and self-expression.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Return the Parthenon marbles to Greece so that Greek workers can protest against them



Thanks to the Cyprus Action Network of America for drawing attention to a recent protest at the British Museum by the Cypriot student organisation Metopo (see video above), part of the Bring Them Back campaign, which demands the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles from London to Athens, to the new Acropolis museum.

While it’s laudable that Metopo should make the effort for this cause, personally I’ve never been able to get overly-excited by the demand for the repatriation of the marbles. What do Greeks think? That once the marbles return, Greece will be redeemed and a new Periclean age will be initiated? The whole marbles obsession – just like the Greek mania for staging the Olympics in 2004 – is a distraction. Greece needs a vibrant and creative society worthy of the marbles – capable, actually, of producing new Phidias’ – not just fancy, well-stocked museums, testament to the vanity of politicians, whose ambitions for Greeks is limited to turning them into a nation of museum curators and spectators of the past.

Moreover, while it’s undeniable that that the British are barbarians and London is a Third World Afro-Islamic city, so are the Greeks and so is Athens. And if you think it’s an exaggeration to call the Greeks barbarians, then how would you describe the behaviour of the culture ministry contract workers (see video below) who, on the national holiday of 28 October, climbed on top of the gateway (Propylaia) to the Acropolis to protest being laid off, and the justification for their actions given by their union rep Nikos Hasomeris that: 

‘The marbles on their own aren’t anything. Somebody has to put them on show. Working with these marbles are guards, cleaners and archaeologists and it is they who make it possible for all these people who spend thousands of euros to come to see this monument. Without these people [the workers], this monument can’t function.’

It should be added that, as far as I’m aware, not only were the protesters on the Propylaia not shot down, they were not even arrested or charged, i.e. there were no consequences for their actions.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Fight the power, and the Turks

It’s very difficult observing the train crash wreckage which is Greece at the moment. What pushed me over the edge was a main bulletin of MEGA news a couple of weeks ago which started with a 20 minute report on the opening by Marianna Vardinogiannis of a children’s cancer hospital in Athens. Apparently, the botoxified wife of one of Greece’s most prominent tycoons raised the money for the hospital herself and because her husband also happens to own MEGA TV, the station’s news felt obliged to run a sycophantic item portraying the inauguration – to which all of Greece’s elite turned out – as a major event in Greek life and Mrs Vardinoyiannis as a living saint and miracle worker healing the country’s stricken children.

The whole episode was an extraordinary demonstration of who has power in Greece and how they use it. Watching it aroused not only my disgust and incredulity, but made me realise just how backward Greece is. No other country in the advanced world would allow a private citizen, however rich, to use a major television station to promote the activities of his family. Clearly, Greece doesn’t need reform, it needs a revolution, to sweep away the Vardinoyiannis’ and the other mafia families that run Greece.

* Also, Greek and Turkish newspapers have been reporting the last few days that Greece and Turkey are close to agreeing a deal that would partition the Aegean 80-20 between the two countries. If Papandreou wants to go down this path, let him take it from me, a Cypriot, who knows the Turk better than he does, that you give a Turk an inch and the next thing he’ll want is a mile, i.e. you give the Turk 20 percent of the Aegean and it won’t be long before he’s asking for 30 percent, then 40 percent and, finally, all of it. If you think this is an exaggeration or nationalist paranoia, then I’m sorry, you’re an idiot.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Through the Christofias’ keyhole

Quite a bit has been written in Greece and Cyprus about President Christofias’ gauche comment at the Brookings Institute last month suggesting that in 1974 both Greece and Turkey invaded Cyprus. My take on the comment is that it was the result of  Christofias’ tragic grasp of English and his country-bumpkin mentality that makes him want to appear cleverer than he is when abroad or confronted by foreigners.

Having said this, Stavros Lygeros is also right to point out that Christofias’ stupid comment is also part and parcel of Cyprus’ unreconstituted communist party AKEL’s discourse on the Cyprus problem, which blames Greek and Turkish nationalism for the island’s fate and proposes as a resolution Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot working classes uniting against imperialism, capitalism and all the rest.

It’s a ridiculous discourse, though it does tap into some Cypriot resentment towards Greece for its Cyprus policy from 1955 to 1974. For instance, when it is said that it was not Greece but the junta that betrayed Cyprus in 1974 and that the junta were nothing more than American CIA puppets not representative of the Greek people, I personally do not buy this. Firstly, because all the junta did in 1974 when it tried to topple Makarios in order to strike a bargain with Turkey on double enosis was put into practice Greek state policy since 1964; and, secondly, it is nonsense to argue that the junta was an entirely external imposition on Greece and ignore its roots in a particular form of Greek politics that emerged after the civil war.

Still, I know it’s difficult for non-Cypriots to understand how Cyprus has a communist president and such a powerful communist party – which consistently attracts 35 percent of votes at elections; but the truth is that AKEL’s supporters are not rabid class warriors and the party’s leaders are invariably a bunch of dumb hicks who pay nothing more than lip-service to Marxist-Leninism. In fact, their Marxist-Leninism has been reduced to a form of kitsch, as revealed by the photo above, taken, apparently, chez Christofias, in which the president’s wife, Elsi, another product of 1960s Soviet education, proudly displays the massive portrait of Karl Marx hanging in their dining room.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Papadopoulos and Christofias: the patriot and the fool. And recalling Tassos Markou

There’s some controversy in Cyprus and Greece at the moment regarding the stupid comments made by President Christofias at the Brookings Institute, during which he stated that both Greece and Turkey ‘invaded’ Cyprus in 1974. I don’t want to get into the details of why this comment is so ridiculous other than to point out that Christofias is an idiot and his English appalling and his comments have to be understood in this context. (See here for full transcript).

I did, however, want to compare the embarrassing comments from Christofias with those I found recently made by Christofias’ predecessor as president, Tassos Papadopoulos, speaking at a Cyprus Federation of America event in New York in September 2004 (a few months after the ‘NO’ vote against the Annan Plan) which was held to honour Tassos Markou, who fought the British as an EOKA leader, the Turkish Cypriots in 1963 and the Turkish invaders in 1974, since when he has been missing. I believe Papadopoulos’ comments below are a truer reflection of the sentiments of Cypriot Hellenism than the communist claptrap Christofias comes out with.

It is a difficult and solemn task to address you at this event bestowing honour on Lieutenant General Tassos Markou. It is he, who has the right to judge us for everything we have done or failed to do, in defense of our homeland and national freedom, due to his accomplishments and ethos.

It is not we, who bestow rightful honour to a true fighter of freedom and virtue, such as Tassos Markou, for it is we who are honoured by our participation in this event.

On the morning of the 15th of August 1974, we lost trace of the heroic, then Colonel Tassos Markou, and from that moment he joined the ranks of the martyred missing persons.

It is for this reason that I would firstly like to address the relatives of the Lieutenant General; his wife, his two children, his sisters and brothers; who since August of 1974, along with thousands of other relatives of the missing, have been enduring the drama of the uncertainty of their fate.

Feel blessed and find comfort in the knowledge that a member of your family is unique amongst the unique, as he is endowed with all the virtues that justify a person as Greek.

Feel blessed and find comfort in that you had the joy of living together with and close to such a man, even for those few years between his manhood to the day he became a missing person.

For we should be conscious and always remember, that life is not measured by its length but by its intensity. It is not how few or many years we live that matters, but rather the content we give to our existence and with how much intensity and conscientiousness we define our journey and our dedication to virtues, ethos, and ideals.

The ancient saying ‘it is the greatest virtue to defend one's homeland’ was pivotal in the life of Tassos Markou.

And for us Greeks, there is no greater ideal than faith in freedom and dedication to our homeland.
He believed in this with fervour and intensity and this ideal became a beacon that guided his life and journey.

Both in words and deeds he proved himself to be conscientious to the principle and guidelines of life, that he himself with virtue voluntarily selected as his way of life, both in the way he fought and lived.

The hour he chose to remain and fight for his ancestral land at Mia Milia in the defensive line and not to retreat, he was acting in accordance with his guidelines of life. At that moment of decision he called upon and concentrated all the history and greatness of Hellenism in such a way that even if he lives a thousand years more, that hour will remain his finest.

His actions and his life, and not I, are the infallible witness that he dedicated his life to the service for his homeland and the defense of his forefathers’ land.

In 1954, while still an adolescent, and a pupil at the Greek gymnasium in Famagusta, he envisioned serving his homeland as a soldier and studying at the Evelpidon Military Academy. After the start of the EOKA liberation struggle and while the colonial power was searching for him for his involvement with EOKA, he managed to escape to Athens and realize his dream and enlist in the Evelpidon Military Academy.

Before graduation he heard the call of his own struggling homeland and returned to Cyprus in 1958, during difficult times for the freedom struggle, to serve as the head of the Kythraia contingent once again as select amongst the selected.

I don’t intend to refer to his biography or to enumerate his national actions.

First of all because his overwhelming personality and accomplishments are too large to be condensed in this narrow confines or to the few minutes that I have at my disposal for a speech bestowing honour to such a great son of Cyprus and also because I know that the enumeration of virtues and his heroic behaviour, conflicts with the sense of modesty that distinguishes those who are celebrated more for their actions and less for the praise of others.

It is this remarkable and unique man, that the Cyprus Federation of America had the wise idea and commendable initiative to honour by organizing this event on the occasion of my presence in New York. I warmly congratulate the President, the Council and the members of the Federation for their idea and decision to honour the distinguished fighter and soldier Tassos Markou, thirty whole years from the day that his anxious voice was heard for the last time on his walkie-talkie from the first line of defense at Mia Milia, outside Nicosia, on 15th August 1974.

I met him for the first time in November of 1958, when we were together for a short time in a Nicosia hideout during the EOKA struggle. Ever since then, I became connected to him with a close, true, unshakeable friendship that was always accompanied with mutual admiration and honest, open communication.

I met him for the final time on the 30th of July 1974, in Nicosia, which was suffering from the coup d’etat and the invasion and had become a city of pain and anguish.

I remember as if it were yesterday – our dramatic meeting and conversation and his last words still ring in my ears “Goodbye my brother. I am leaving now and going to the front. I do not think you will see me again.”

During those dramatic moments of the Turkish Cypriot insurrection of 1963, he proved himself to be a worthy soldier, a unique leader and a brave fighter who voluntarily undertook and accomplished the most risky of missions.

Those who know him and served with him in the National Guard, those who know him as a senior officer and as a man, speak of his integrity. They characterize him as a man of principle, dedicated to his ideals and beliefs, who had an unwavering and uncompromising boldness of opinion in what he believed to be correct and true towards persons of authority and others.

Dedicated in the carrying out of his duties, that he always accomplished in full, even to the point of treating himself harshly. Simultaneously humble, approachable and humane towards his inferiors and his soldiers who adored him as a decisive leader and stable supporter in their personal and private problems.

His lithe stature, nobility of personality, and the ethos he exuded spontaneously from his simple presence and beauty, compete only with the beauty of his soul and virtue. The peak of his contribution was his stance during the 1974 coup d’etat and the invasion.

When the coup d’etat broke out, he left with permission from his unit in Kythraia, anxiously seeking support to avoid the worst that was to follow, as he correctly predicted and foresaw, i.e the Turkish invasion.

It was a concise and correct judgment that the invasion was previously agreed on and what Cyprus was facing was a predetermined scenario for the partition of Cyprus. He fought with bravery and with all the strength he had, even when he was alone and helpless against the coup d’etat, against the force of the Turkish invader and even when he knew he did not have the ability or hope of overcoming them.

He fought for freedom, democracy and legality against the coup d’etat of the treacheous junta.
He remained where his homeland called upon him to be. And there he remained. And since then he is missing.

The enemy has passed but remains in Cyprus, as an aggressor and occupier for thirty whole years. And we, the betrayed and unjustly treated Greeks of Cyprus seek for thirty whole years the fundamental, natural and obvious right to live freely in a reunited homeland without occupation troops, without settlers, without the walls of separation, without refugees, missing and the enclaved. We seek simple justice and simple justification.

Some accuse us of being rejectionists and unrealistic when we refuse to accept the absurd and unfair, that they characterize as, supposedly, ‘fair’ and ‘uniquely balanced’ resolution of the Cyprus problem.

They use as a threat the suffering and difficulties that will arise, supposedly, because the great majority of our people decided on the 24th of April to say ‘NO’ to a Plan which as it was did not secure a workable and viable solution.

They say that they respect the democratic right of the People to decide their fate. But when the large majority of the people, 76%, freely, democratically and fully-informed voted ‘NO’, in deed and words they do not respect the verdict of the people or the majority of the people. On the contrary they mock the decision and exercise psychological terror upon the great majority of the people or they just project real or invented dangers that are incited, supposedly, from the ‘NO’ vote in order to indirectly promote a ‘YES’.

They don’t say however, as honesty and conscientiousness of word and deed requires, how much the same and worse dangers and difficulties would have been avoided or would have been worse and multiplied if we had voted ‘YES’.

Voting ‘NO’ the people did not reject a solution to the Cyprus problem. They did not vote against the reunification of our homeland. They rejected this specific Plan, which amongst other things perpetuated divisive tendencies and institutions instead of bringing about reunification and unity.

We are committed and dedicated to a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution that would bring about the reunification of our homeland which would be workable, viable and make a reality the gradual rapprochement of the communities in Cyprus, the social and economic reunification and which will not institute the division of the communities and institutions.

Those who threaten with dangers and who describe the products of their own fears as realism, seem to be unable to be inspired by the example of the life and struggle of people such as Tassos Markou.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?



I managed to catch Werner Herzog’s latest film, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? which is a masterpiece and possibly the best film I’ve ever seen at capturing and portraying the essence of Greek tragedy, the madness, terror and ‘ecstatic dream world’ that Nietzsche identifies.

The film is based on a true case of matricide committed in San Diego in the 1970s and concerns the descent into insanity of the killer son; an insanity prompted to an extent by the young man’s participation in a production of Aeschylus’ The Eumenides, in which he plays Orestes, on the run after slaying his mother Clytemnestra. Herbert Golder, a classicist at Boston University, co-wrote with Herzog the superb screenplay, full of demented poetry. Above is a clip from the film, in which the director of The Eumenides is explaining the play to his cast.

The film received a limited cinema release; it was only on for a week or so at one cinema here in London, but I managed to download it as a torrent form Pirate Bay, here.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Bulgarian PM gives thumbs down to Neo-Ottomanism

Interesting article here from the Sofia News Agency regarding how, during a Turkish-hosted dinner for Balkan leaders in New York, Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov snubbed Turkish president Abdullah Gul’s efforts to present his country as unrivalled hegemon in the region and himself as sultan of a re-emerging Ottoman empire. The article says that Borisov was ‘the only one of the leaders who did not rise to welcome the president of Turkey’, which means that Greece’s FM Dimitris Droutsas, who was also at the event, did tug his forelock, though, at least, he didn’t go as far as Fyrom President George Ivanov and Albanian PM Sali Berisha who both, apparently, ‘rushed to hug’ their  master as he arrived at the dinner.

Syria uses Fyrom to get back at Greece over Israel ties

Below is a report from AFP, which reveals that the Syrian Arab Republic has recognised Fyrom as ‘Macedonia’. Clearly, this is some sort of retaliation for the developing relationship between Greece and Israel. Greece has been close to Syria, where there is a large Greek Orthodox community, which sees itself as part of the Byzantine ecumenae; but, it seems, times are changing.

SKOPJE — Syria has become the 129th country to recognise ‘Macedonia’ under its constitutional name ‘Republic of Macedonia’ despite the long-running name dispute with Greece, the two countries said Friday.

According to a joint statement [Fyrom] Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem said they had established diplomatic ties to open “more opportunities for bilateral cooperation”.

The agreement was signed in New York where both ministers were attending the United Nations General Assembly.

Syria is now the 129th state to recognize [Fyrom] under its constitutional name despite Greek opposition since [Fyrom] declared independence in 1991.

Greece fears that the name ‘Macedonia’ implies territorial pretensions towards its northern province of the same name. It has managed to successfully block [Fyrom’s] integration into the European Union and NATO.

[Fyrom] president Gjorge Ivanov also met Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on the sidelines of the UN meeting.

The rare meeting between the two leaders was aimed at establishing trust between the two countries, but they did not directly discuss their dispute,  [Fyrom] media reported.

Turkish general admits campaign of provocations in Cyprus

Turks have always sought to justify the invasion of Cyprus by suggesting it was designed to save the Turkish minority on the island, which they say had been under attack since 1955 – but particularly since 1963 – from Cypriot Greeks hell bent on uniting Cyprus with Greece. Of course, this is typical Turkish falsification; but so unwaveringly have Turks been pushing this line that not only do they believe it, but many Greeks, both in Cyprus and Greece, have also come to accept that our side mistreated the island’s Turks and, as such, that we share the blame for Cyprus’ tragedy and must take punishment for our ‘crimes’ in the form of submitting to Annan-type plans.

The truth of the intercommunal clashes in Cyprus is, of course, not one of Greek persecutors and Turkish victims; but of provocations by Turkey aimed at setting Cyprus’ communities at each other’s throats and promoting Turkey’s goal of ethnic and geographical separation on the island.

And just to prove that the intercommunal violence in Cyprus in 1958, 1963 and 1967 were not attempts by Greek Cypriots to wipe out the Turkish minority and achieve unhindered their dream of Enosis, but provocations by Turkey designed to pave the way for partition, we have had this week retired Turk General Sabri Yirmimbesoglou, who served in Cyprus in the 1950s and 1960s in his country’s Special Warfare Department, admitting to Turkish TV that ‘to stir up the Turkish Cypriots, we carried out sabotage, such as the burning of mosques, and then blamed this on the Greek Cypriots. This was the modus operandi of the Special Warfare Department. In Cyprus, we burned mosques.’

It should be noted that outbreaks of intercommunal violence in Cyprus often started with bombs going off against Turkish ‘targets’, mosques, newspaper offices, etc, which were blamed on Greek Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots would then riot, attack homes and businesses belonging to Greeks, who retaliated. The Greeks, being better armed and more numerous, would often overwhelm Turkish Cypriots, who cried ‘massacre’ and then demanded Turkey’s protection, i.e. Turkey pursued a deliberate policy of exposing Turkish Cypriots to danger so that they could then use their (exaggerated) plight as proof that Cyprus’ communities could not live together, that Turkish Cypriots were being subjected to ‘genocide’ and that Cyprus had to be partitioned.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Yirmimbesoglou cut his teeth in the Turkish security services helping organise the Constantinople pogrom in 1955, which began with Turkish agents bombing Mustafa Kemal’s childhood home in Thessaloniki, blaming this on Greeks, and false claims that Greeks were massacring Turks in Cyprus, and culminated in a two-day orgy of violence and destruction targeting Constantinople’s Greek community, an event Yirmimbesoglou boasts ‘was a Special Warfare [Department] job. It was a magnificent operation. And it achieved its aim.’

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The heroic Bernard Knox

The great classicist Bernard Knox has died, aged 95. Read an obituary here, which contains this defence of Greco-Western culture and repudiation of multiculturalism:

‘Today our literary curriculum is under attack by educational reformers who... are planning to abolish the cultural tradition on which the West’s sense of its unity and identity is founded. They propose, in the name of multi-culturalism, feminism and political correctness, to replace such patriarchal and racist texts as Homer, the Bible, Plato, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe and Flaubert with works that will presumably direct the eyes of the young forward to the new world of universal sister- and brotherhood.’

I strongly recommend Knox’s book, The Heroic Temper, an eminently readable account of the tragic hero in Sophocles, which includes a fascinating theory that suggests the rise and fall of Oedipus is a metaphor for the rise and fall of Athenian empire and society.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Cyprus sends out warning over direct trade with pseudo-state

Turkey’s EU accession is being held up by its refusal to implement the Ankara protocol, which would involve it opening its ports and airports to Cypriot traffic. Turkey has said it will only implement the protocol if the EU adopts direct trade with the pseudo-state in occupied Cyprus.



Now, in order to overcome this stalemate – prevent the EU ‘losing’ Turkey – Turkey’s backers in the European Commission and European Parliament have decided they will try to force through direct trade with the pseudo-state so that Turkey can meet its obligations regarding the customs union with Cyprus. This would, in effect, ride roughshod over the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and give significant legitimacy to the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ – giving it the status of a Taiwan. The Cyprus problem would effectively be solved, entirely in Turkey’s favour; which is why in today’s Cyprus version of Kathimerini, Markos Kyprianou, Cyprus’s foreign minister, is explicit about what the government of Cyprus will do if the EU goes ahead with this attempt to formalise the partition of Cyprus: it will put an end to Turkey's EU membership talks. (Read the whole article in Greek here).
 

‘Our position is that this regulation leads to the complete separation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, particularly regarding economic and trade issues… In fact, those who support the regulation will undermine Turkey's EU prospects. Because, if it passes, the Republic of Cyprus will no longer be able to consent to the opening of chapters [of the EU acquis communautaire] for Turkey, since a catastrophic decision will have been taken against us. And this is a message we are giving to our partners…

‘If some people believe that by advancing the direct trade regulation, they will be helping Turkey, the truth is that they will achieve directly the opposite result. Adopting the direct trade regulation will lead to the complete freezing of chapters that refer to Turkey. And instead of helping Turkey, they will harm that country.

 

And at the same time, will the effort to solve the Cyprus problem be over?
‘We have said repeatedly that the adoption of the regulation will torpedo the talks [between Greek and Turkish Cypriots], make them irrelevant. I want to stress that, as I’ve made clear to our partners, that the issue is not trade between the Turkish Cypriots and the EU. That can take place in a legal fashion, and to this we can give our consent and find ways forward. That which is unacceptable for us is the attempt to ascribe to the pseudo-state a legal status and the violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. I also believe that the proposal of the European Commission for direct trade is illegal. And if, despite our hopes, the proposal moves forward, in the end we will refer the matter to the European Court [of Justice].’

Friday, 10 September 2010

Greece can’t save itself

I read the commentary below in yesterday’s English edition of Kathimerini regarding the state of Athens, a city I know well and have lived in, albeit prior to the latest phase of the decline the article describes. Since I haven’t been to Athens in about six years, I can’t confirm first hand if what the piece says is true or an exaggeration; but what I can say is that the problems described – illegal street vendors, stray dogs and so on – don’t actually require that much imagination or effort to solve and most normal societies would swiftly act to solve them. Except that Greece is not a normal society and imagination and effort aimed at serving the common good are absent, which is why anyone who thinks that by rigidly implementing the strictures of the IMF, EU Commission and ECB, Greece will be reborn and develop a recognisably modern, sophisticated, European economy and society, has no idea how low Greece has sunk and how incapable it is of saving itself.

Athens a city on the skids
Almost everything about downtown Athens would make one think that it is a city in a developing country, and the situation does not seem to be getting any better.

It seems that there is a beggar on every street corner and you see stray dogs milling around and occasionally attacking the odd passer-by. Then there’s the sight of hundreds of street vendors taking up the sidewalks and promenades with their illegal wares laid out on bedsheets.

The situation is completely unacceptable and makes a mockery of any efforts to boost revenues from tourism. It is ridiculous to talk about Athens as a prime tourist destination when, as a city, it seems to be doing its best to frighten tourists away.

The responsibility for the sorry state of the country’s capital lies squarely on the shoulders of the City of Athens and the government. If they do not take some measures soon to improve the standard of living and the appearance of the city, they will be responsible for the decline of one of Europe’s most historic capitals.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Christopher Hitchens: still arguing



Unfortunately, Christopher Hitchens is dying. He has cancer of the oesophagus that has spread and, consequently, a poor prognosis. Hitchens cut his teeth as a journalist back in the 1970s writing about Cyprus for the New Statesman and the New Left Review, and his book on the Turkish invasion of the island, Cyprus: Hostage to History, remains the best exposition of the US conspiracy to destroy the Republic of Cyprus and partition the island. Hitchens is also a self-declared philhellene and a campaigner for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, especially in the book: The Elgin Marbles: should they be returned to Greece?

Anyway, I wanted to point to the good piece Hitchens has written in Vanity Fair on his illness, The Topic of Cancer, and draw attention to an interesting interview he has given to Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, the first part of which is above. The other five parts of the interview, which are mainly about anti-Semitism, are here. Hitchens is a polemicist and stylist, not an academic or theorist, and the arguments he makes regarding the Jews, anti-Semitism and racism are often flawed, but his eloquence and seriousness shine through.

* For more on Hitchens and Cyprus, read this post.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Turkey urges Greece to drop claims to Greece



‘It’s quite simple, Dimitris, if you stop claiming Greece is Greek, if you surrender the Aegean to us, then we won’t go to war with you and take your territory by force. Can’t you see this hang up you have with sovereignty is out of date and your interests are best served if you recognise the power and authority of Turkey? Resistance is futile. Please see reason. If you become subservient to us, then there will be no limits to the friendship we can build between Turkey and the Rum millet.’

This is essentially what Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said would prompt Turkey to remove Turkey's casus belli against Greece. Read this for confirmation.

And all this at the same time as the saccharine expressions of goodwill from Davutoglu and Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas (see video above), made at the Greece v Turkey group game at the World Basketball Championships currently being held in Turkey, which, unfortunately, Greece lost 65-76, last Tuesday – it would be Tuesday. Typically, although the Turks played well, Greece has a better team and only went down because of mistakes and self-inflicted wounds.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Mouzelis the magnificent

Below is an article I’ve translated by Professor Nikos Mouzelis on the Greece-Israel rapprochement. Mouzelis is a well-known and influential sociologist who’s taught at the prestigious London School of Economics and writes regularly for the left-wing Greek newspaper To Vima. He gives four reasons why Greece should not develop strategic relations with Israel, each reason as stupid as the other, revealing a complete lack of seriousness among a dominant strand of Greek thinkers, stuck with a vision of Greece as a country more Third World than First World, a Greece which, apparently, is in the forefront of a fight against Nato, Zionism, America, capitalism, imperialism and God knows what else. (Read Mouzelis’ appalling article in Greek here).

Greece’s military co-operation with Israel is unacceptable
I think at this moment in time co-operation with Israel in the field of military exercises is unacceptable for four reasons:

First, from a moral point of view, close co-operation will strengthen a government which through the imposition of an embargo has degraded and impoverished a large section of the Palestinian population.

Second, with the encouragement of the continuing oppression and the settling of Palestinian territories, the Netanyahu government is making it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for an agreement between Israel and Palestine.

Third, co-operation at a military level between Greece and Israel does not advance the national interests of our country. Our national interest is to have good relations with Turkey and the Arab world rather than with a country that is trying to impose an apartheid, colonial system on Palestine.

Fourth, if Israel tries to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will need free passage through Greece’s airspace. Perhaps this is the reason why the Israeli prime minister wants to have close military co-operation with our country?

It’s hard to believe intelligent Greeks could make such absurd arguments, and here’s a quick repudiation.

What has the depredations being suffered by the Palestinians got to do with Greece? The plight of the Palestinians might be sad, tragic and all the rest; but since when has a country’s foreign relations been conducted on the basis of sentiment? If Greece were to base its foreign relations using human rights criteria, then Greece would have relations with very few countries, and certainly not with any of the Arab countries – Libya, Egypt, Syria and so on – Mouzelis wants Greece to cosy up to, and certainly not with Turkey, another country Mouzelis thinks Greece should befriend, which is trying to impose an apartheid and colonial system on the Greek island of Cyprus – but this doesn’t seem to bother Mouzelis, doesn't seem to arouse his sensitivities for human rights or his concerns for Greek national interests.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Will Turks have to go back to bows and arrows?

As well as politically and morally supporting the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, America also supplied the weaponry for the assault and continues to provide Turkey with the tanks, aircraft and so on that maintain the occupation. The fact that Turkey’s use of American weapons in Cyprus can be interpreted as breaking US law – which prohibits the use of US weapons in circumstances that violate international law or in acts of aggression – does not seem to matter to US decision makers, even though Greek Americans are now pursuing the matter through the Washington courts.

Anyway, I mention this now because there is a report in the Financial Times today (see below) that suggests that President Barack Obama has threatened Turkey that if it continues with its hostile attitude to Israel, then it is unlikely that America will be in a position to supply the Turkish armed with much-sought-after US military equipment.

See, Americans can face down the Turks if they want to, and I guess they want to when it comes to Israel but not when it comes to Greece/Cyprus.

US issues arms deal ultimatum to Turkey
President Barack Obama has personally warned Turkey’s prime minister that unless Ankara shifts its position on Israel and Iran it stands little chance of obtaining the US weapons it wants to buy.

Mr Obama’s warning to Recep Tayyip Erdogan is particularly significant as Ankara wants to buy American drone aircraft – such as the missile-bearing Reaper – to attack the Kurdish separatist PKK after the US military pulls out of Iraq at the end of 2011.


The PKK has traditionally maintained bases in the remote mountains in the north of Iraq, near the Turkish border.


One senior administration official said: “The president has said to Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised on the Hill [Congress]… about whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally. That means that some of the requests Turkey has made of us, for example in providing some of the weaponry that it would like to fight the PKK, will be harder for us to move through Congress.”


Read the rest of the story here:

Treacherous, idiot dictator is dead

There is an irony, I suppose, that the death of the idiot traitor Brigadier Dimitris (Mimis) Ioannides was announced today in Athens. Mimis Ioannides was, of course, the leader of the Greek junta from November 1973 to July 1974, his overwhelming legacy being the overthrow of President Makarios, which precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus; the second and most devastating phase of which we commemorate at this time of year – 14-16 August – when Famagusta, the Mesaoria, Karpasia and Morphou were seized by the Turkish invader.

Last month, in an interview with the Greek daily Αδεσμευτος Τυπος  the idiot traitor tried to make out that his intentions in overthrowing Makarios were patriotic and aimed at bringing about the union of Cyprus and Greece, and he blamed American duplicity and the reticence of his senior colleagues for thwarting his great plan.

Thus, Ioannides says that the Americans assured him that, after deposing Makarios, the Turks would not invade. Even when on 20 July the Turks were landing troops on and bombing the island, Ioannides says he accepted American reassurances that the Turks were only planning to stay on the island for 24 hours and would only leave 1,500 men around Kyrenia as reinforcements for the Turkish Regiment on Cyprus (KTKA) to assuage the fears of the Turkish Cypriots.

(Yes, Mimis: you were going to declare the union of Cyprus and Greece and you expected Turkey to shrug its shoulders and let you get on with it – or was your sense of betrayal and bewilderment felt  because the Americans had told you that if you overthrew Makarios the Turkish response would be muted given that your intention was to partition the island with them as soon as possible?)

And, later, when it became clear to Mimis that what was going on in Cyprus was not a limited Turkish landing but a full-scale invasion, Ioannides wants us to believe that when he tried to convince the heads of the armed forces and the other junta members to mobilise the Greek military to repel the Turkish invasion, he was betrayed by the loss of nerve of his colleagues, anxious to avoid conflict with Turkey and urging a return to civilian rule, which meant that apart from the 300 Greek commandos sent to Cyprus as part of the ill-fated Operation ‘Niki’, Greece ended up totally abandoning Cyprus to the Turks, something that Cypriots have never forgotten or forgiven, as much as they’d like to, so that those feelings of adulation and awe that Cypriots once had towards Greece are now mixed with negative feelings associated with humiliation, cynicism and contempt. Bravo, Mimis Ioannides. You couldn’t have done a finer job for Cypriot Hellenism if you had been a Turk.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Murder of Greek in Albania threatens ‘hate and conflict’



Greek media has been reporting this evening that a member of the Greek minority in Albania has been murdered by Albanian nationalists after an incident in the Northern Epirot town of Chimara. Reports said that Aristotelis Goumas was initially assaulted by three Albanians who objected to Goumas speaking Greek and that the Albanian thugs then later drove their car into the 35-year-old and repeatedly ran over him. 

Kathimerini reports that the Greeks of Chimara proceeded to close the road linking Ayioi Saranta and Avlona to protest the murder and called for measures to stop the activities of extreme Albanian nationalists in the region. 

The mayor of Chimara, Vasillis Bolano, said that the killing ‘was premeditated, since the perpetrators had been stalking the victim for days’, while Archbishop Anastassios of Albania said that ‘such unjustified, violent acts… threaten to destroy the climate of peaceful co-existence, which all wise citizens of Albania have fought for, and could trigger conflict and hate in the region’. 

Greece’s foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said that: ‘Unacceptable criminal acts like this will undermine relations between Greece and Albania and have the aim of stoking ethnic tensions with unpredictable consequences.’

Read the whole story in Greek here. Above is the story as reported on tonight’s Mega News.

Greece and Israel: relationship set to deepen

This evolving relationship between Greece and Israel (and by extension Cyprus and Israel) continues to take interesting twists. On Monday, Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu is due in Athens to meet with Greece’s political leadership – the first such visit to Greece by an Israeli PM – while there is evidence on an almost daily basis that the rupture in relations between Israel and Turkey – which precipitated this Greco-Israeli rapprochement – will not be mended any time soon. Recently, I’ve seen reports in the Israeli press accusing Turkey of using chemical weapons against its Kurdish population; and that Turkey has made a secret agreement with Iran to filter weapons to Israel’s deadly Lebanese enemy, Hezbollah; while it’s also been widely reported that Turkey has snubbed the Israeli ambassador to Ankara by not inviting him to the dinner celebrating the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

The other interesting factor that may have long-term repercussions for Greco-Isreali relations is the discovery of vast hydrocarbon deposits between Israel and Cyprus and the seemingly smooth negotiations between the two countries as to how these can be exploited to mutual advantage – and to the exclusion of Turkey, which believes that the Republic of Cyprus is an illegitimate government and has no right to delineate Exclusive Economic Zones around its territorial waters.

Finally, although the resurgence of interest in Greek Jewry has been around for about a decade now, with Greece and Israel forging a new relationship, we can expect this interest to gather momentum. Indeed, yesterday, I read this fascinating account of the fate of the Greek Jews in the Nazi extermination camps – No other Jews like them.

The article notes that Greek Jews – Sephardim from Thessaloniki and Romaniots from elsewhere in Greece – were admired by other Jews and by the Germans for their indomitable spirit and national solidarity and pride, and  goes on to give  an extraordinarily moving account of the remarkable Sonderkommando uprising in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944  ‘planned and executed completely by Greeks, waving improvised Greek flags, and accompanied by the strains of the Greek national anthem’; an episode that is to be turned into a film.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Turkey’s colonisation of Cyprus continues

As we all know, part of the Turkish plan for the partition of Cyprus – which the Turks came up with in 1956 and have been following consistently ever since – involved not only expelling the Greek population from northern Cyprus, but replacing it with a massive influx of Turks from Turkey, i.e. a process of colonisation. The intention was to create a sufficiently large Turkish population to make northern Cyprus economically viable; to create a population unwaveringly loyal to Turkey and to the policy of partition, which the newcomers had a vested interest in supporting; and to overwhelm any residual Turkish Cypriot feeling that leaned towards a united Cyprus, and which might pose a threat to Turkey’s plan for a permanent presence on the island.

Anyway, after 1974, the process of bringing Turks to occupied Cyprus was begun almost immediately and has continued ever since – boosted even by Bulgarian Turks in the 1980s, brought to the island by the occupation regime following ethnic unrest in Bulgaria. Today, there are some 200,000 Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus – which amounts to twice the population of Turkish Cypriots – all of whom are entitled to ‘citizenship’ of the pseudo-state and participation in ‘elections’ and so on. Indeed, there appears to be no let up in the policy of colonisation of occupied Cyprus, with reports suggesting that Turkey’s plan is to eventually create a population of 2m Turks in northern Cyprus. On the right are photos published in yesterday’s edition of the Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen of recently arrived Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus.

Friday, 6 August 2010

‘We are like one family, Turks and Greeks…’

Listen to the sly Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davoutoglu arriving in Rhodes today for an informal meeting with Greece’s deputy foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas (news story in Greek here):

‘It’s a great pleasure for me to be in Rhodes today. I’m meeting with Dimitris and the tourism minister [Giorgos Nikitiadis], both of whom are my good friends. We meet like family. In reality, the Aegean Sea is our common home and when I was in Bodrum (Halicarnassus) I phoned Dimitris to see if it was possible for us to meet in Rhodes. He courteously accepted and I’m grateful for this. We are like one family, Turks and Greeks, since we share the same geography, cultural inheritance and tourist environment.’

The Aegean is our common home, indeed – and presumably like any common home you want your fair share of it, just like you want your fair share of Cyprus and your fair share of Thrace. And as for common cultural inheritance, I hear this often, but it is complete nonsense. To put it at its starkest, and following Kazantzakis, Greece represents freedom, Turkey death. End of story.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Kynodontas (Dogtooth)



I watched Kynodontas (Dogtooth) a couple of days ago, a surreal and disturbing Greek film about a husband and wife who have made prisoners of their three children in order to protect them from what the parents regard as the evil influences of society. Unusually for a Greek movie, Kynodontas received an international release and, in fact, was on here in London for five or six weeks. Watching the film, I found it shocking and hilarious at times but didn’t really like it – figuring the attention and acclaim it received was part of this trend that favours ‘extreme cinema’; however, watching again the scene above in which the children perform a dance to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary and thinking about the film a bit more it has definitely grown on me, although I’m still confused by it, not sure what it’s trying to get at and what’s supposed to be going on. Not necessarily a bad thing, I guess.

You can download the film from Pirate Bay here.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Sotiris Kyrgiakos booed by racist Skopjans



 
I managed to find a stream to watch the Europa League 3rd qualifying round first leg tie between Liverpool and Rabotnicki – some rubbish pseudo-Macedonian team – and noticed the extremely raucous heckling and jeering Liverpool’s Greek international centre back, Sotiris Kyrgiakos, was subjected to by the pseudo-Macedonian home crowd every time he touched the ball or was involved in play. The video clip above gives a taste of the dog’s abuse Kyrgiakos suffered throughout the match. In this instance, he is jeered after one of the pseudo-Macedonian players whacks him in the face at a corner kick and Sotiris has to go off for treatment.
 
Clearly, the Fyromians do not like Greeks, which I don’t understand, since what have we ever done to them, apart from civilise them? Ingrates. Anyway, it did strike me, given UEFA’s tedious anti-racism campaign, that if this sort of jeering had been aimed at a black player, there would be outrage and the Fyromian team would be fined, banned and all the rest. Never mind. Kyrgiakos didn’t let it affect his game – which was probably one of the easiest he’s ever played, given the standard of the opposition – and Liverpool comfortably won 2-0, making their qualification for the Europa League group stages a virtual formality.
 
UPDATE: And I’ve just noticed that the match was played at the so-called Phillip II Arena, in Skopje. Phillip II!? Can you believe these idiots? Like always, I don’t know whether to laugh at the Freedonians or get wound up by them.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

All of a sudden, Cyprus has ‘friends’

I’m reprinting below Melanie Phillips’ piece from the Spectator website regarding UK PM David Cameron’s fawning performance yesterday in Turkey, advocating that country’s EU membership. Phillips, who initially lambasted Cameron’s speech in this piece yesterday for its cynicism and failure to recognise Turkey’s alleged turn to Islamic fundamentalism, returns to the subject today to remind Cameron that ‘for the past 36 years Turkey has been illegally occupying part of Cyprus’.

Phillips is somewhat of a Zionist fanatic and perhaps the leading British advocate of the pro-Israel inspired Eurabia theory, i.e. that Europe is under threat demographically and culturally from Islamic immigration and appeasement of Islam generally. Phillips is the author of the best-selling Londonistan: how Britain is creating a terror state within.

Now, what interests me about Phillips’ piece is not its content – a standard critique of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus – nor do I have much time for Phillips as a journalist or public figure. However, firstly, it would have been unthinkable until very recently for such a piece to appear in the Spectator – a right-wing rag with close links to the Conservative Party; and, secondly, it is typical of articles about Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus written by pro-Israel advocates that are now regularly appearing in the UK, Israeli and US media. Of course, Israel and its defenders worldwide don’t care one iota about Cyprus and are just – post the Gaza flotilla incident – interested in bashing Turkey. I’m just making a note of this trend and welcoming the publicity for the Greek cause.


Poodle in a mirror?
Another crucial point about Turkey further underlines the sheer amoral perversity of David Cameron’s gushing endorsement of that country, analysed below. As Martin Packard, a former UN mediating officer in Cyprus points out in a letter to the Times (£) today, for the past 36 years Turkey has been illegally occupying part of Cyprus:

In advocating Turkish membership of the EU Mr Cameron should remember that Turkey is an invader and illegal occupier of Commonwealth and EU territory, in contravention of numerous UN and EU resolutions. The aim of bringing Turkey into the EU is a sensible and commendable one, but Mr Cameron might best advance Turkey’s cause by persuading it to withdraw its troops from Cyprus.

But all Cameron said about this in his speech was

...we want you to continue to work towards a solution in Cyprus

to help

...convince the doubters

that the case for Turkey's membership of the EU was

indisputable.

It’s also striking, isn’t it, how there are never any Unison or university boycotts of Turkey, or angry demonstrations outside Turkish airline offices, or denunciations of Turkey’s illegal occupation by NGOs or the UN.

For as Leo Rennert observes on American Thinker, noting an ad in the New York Times against the Turkish occupation:

In these 36 years, the ad asserts, Turkey ethnically cleansed from their homes 200,000 Greek Cypriots, killed 6,500 of them, deployed 43,000 occupation troops, brought in 160,000 Turks to cement its occupation, destroyed churches, synagogues and cemeteries, while it continued to oppress Kurds in Turkey.

The ad contrasts these horrors with a pro-Western, anti-terrorism record of the other half of the island where a Greek-Cypriot government recently confiscated Syrian arms destined for Hamas, refused use of Cyprus ports to the Turkish flotilla, while partnering with Greece to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, and worked closely with the U.S. on terrorism issues.

But now Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister has placed himself firmly on the side of the destroyers of human rights and against those who resist tyranny. Some have speculated that he has done so at the behest of Obama, who is keen (of course) for Turkey to join the EU. If so, it would add bitterly ironic reinforcement to the impression that Cameron is a mirror image of his role-model Tony Blair. Blair was styled ‘Bush’s poodle’ for yoking Britain to the White House in the defence of the west. Cameron may have volunteered to be Obama’s poodle, yoking Britain to the White House in the cause of surrendering the west.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mass rape of Greek women during Turkish invasion of Cyprus



The above video, taken from a documentary on Alter TV from the late 1990s, indicates the extent to which Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was characterised by depravity. Indeed, incidents of rape by Turkish soldiers and Turkish Cypriots against Greek women were so widespread that the Orthodox Church was compelled to relax its previous strictures on abortion. I’ve written previously on the subject here. I originally saw the video on this youtube channel, and decided it would be useful to add English subtitles to it.

*Also see this post: ‘Those who want to rape the daughters of the priest, come now!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Turkey seeks nuclear weapons

This report in today’s edition of the Cypriot daily Simerini suggested that Israel has told Greece that Turkey is seeking the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
I had two thoughts about this. Firstly, that it’s possible that the Israelis are making this up as part of an effort to draw Greece into a closer alliance with Israel now that Turkey-Israel relations are badly damaged; and, secondly, that the Israelis – who should know, given their intelligence gathering strengths and previously close strategic alliance with Turkey – are telling the truth, and that Turkey is now taking its inflated regional and, indeed, global ambitions to the next level, which is the pursuit of nuclear weaponry. 

And then I came across the article below (from worldtribune. com) by Gregory Copley, which adds flesh to the bones of this story and reveals just how Turkey is going about the acquisition of nuclear weapons. Copley is president of the International Strategic Studies Association, a foreign policy think-tank based in Washington DC, who has written extensively about strategic affairs in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean; and even though Ive read things of his that seem a little wild – he once suggested that Turkey had used Cypriot POWs from 1974 as guinea pigs for chemical weapons experiments – and his article on Turkey and nuclear weapons is not wholly convincing, there can be no doubt that the logic of Turkeys ambitions to be a superpower demands that it acquire nuclear weapons. The implications for Greece are obvious.

Turkey moving rapidly to acquire nuclear weapons
A quiet but intense debate is ongoing within senior circles of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey over whether or not this is the time to proceed rapidly with the development and acquisition of nuclear weapons.

At stake is Turkey’s strategic parity with other nuclear powers in the region: Russia, Israel, Pakistan, and Iran. Highly-placed sources indicate that Turkey has been deliberating the acquisition of military nuclear capability for some time, but has been constrained by its need to maintain good relations with the USA and NATO partners generally, as well as the EU. The Turkish General Staff is also engaged in this debate, but, for the most part, this is a debate dominated by the civilian leadership.

Turkish acquisition of nuclear weapons would significantly transform the balance of power and the strategic dynamic of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Greater Black Sea Basin and the Caucasus, and would be the cornerstone of Turkey’s ambitious program to restore what it sees as its historical pan-Turkist mission. Indeed, without nuclear weapons — at least as far as regional perception is concerned — Turkey could not compete against a nuclear Iran or be seen as an independent ‘great power’ in the region.

Nuclear weapons research has long been underway, under conditions of extreme secrecy, in Turkey, and the AKP leadership is aware that it is probable that this will become public knowledge as the effort becomes more intense.

It is not totally dependent on, but benefits from, the acquisition by Turkey of uranium-based nuclear power reactors, which will ultimately provide a base of fissionable materials to sustain an indigenous nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, however, nuclear weapons research — which requires only a minimal amount of fissionable material, obtainable on the world market — can continue separately. There is no doubt that Turkey’s growing relationships with Iran, Brazil, and Pakistan have been — as far as the Turkish leadership is concerned — with the military nuclear program partially in mind.

As far back as 1998, Turkish media reports indicated that then-Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had offered Turkey co-operation in the development of nuclear weapons. [Significantly, Nawaz Sharif is poised to make a political comeback in Pakistan in the next general elections]. The dramatic lowering of leverage which the US and EU have over Turkish strategic direction over the past 18 months, coupled with the growing separation with Israel at the behest of the AKP as a means of reducing the domestic Turkish political influence of the General Staff, along with the perceived need to firmly establish a stronger measure of Turkish independence from Russia, are all contributory factors in the Turkish government’s moves to press ahead as rapidly as possible with the nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs.

What is significant is that Turkey played a significant rôle in the early 1980s in helping Pakistan acquire systems for the development of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program, and there is little doubt that Turkey now expects a quid pro quo. Pakistan, despite ill-informed Western media speculation, has been extremely cautious about sharing its nuclear weapons knowledge, and may not deliver what Ankara wants with regard to nuclear co-operation at this point. Nonetheless, the growing military supply relationship between Turkey and Pakistan highlights the quiet co-operation between the two former Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) member states, and now Turkey and Iran (another former CENTO member) have cautiously come back together under the aegis of the Russian regional energy networking. In 1992, US Senator John Glenn and other US congressmen accused Turkey of supplying sensitive technology to Pakistan in order to aid in Pakistan’s acquisition of uranium enrichment technology.

The Turkish government has been careful about moving ahead with independent nuclear weapons capabilities until this point because such a move could have precipitated a cut-off of Turkey from the US and EU economies and its position within NATO. Now, however, Turkey is reaching a junction point where Turkish membership of the EU is seen by many in the Turkish government as no longer feasible or desirable and the AKP is beginning to feel as though it has the General Staff (GB) more or less under control and not in a position to challenge or overthrow the civilian Islamist government. On the other hand, Russia — which more or less took off the velvet gloves with Turkey in early 2009 to bring Ankara within the Russian strategic orbit — is not in a strong position to stop Turkey moving ahead with its nuclear weapons program, just as it has been unable to stop Iran in its process of acquiring externally-built nuclear weapons and developing its own nuclear weapons production capabilities.

Very senior sources in Israel, Russia, and the US have privately expressed concern that Turkey is proceeding with its nuclear weapons program, and that Turkey has obtained a significant knowledge of nuclear weapons technology, protocols, and operational doctrine from its association with NATO and Israel. Moreover, officials in Israel, Russia, and the US are fully aware that neither the Turkish government nor the Turkish military pays any attention to confidentiality clauses, end-user certificates, or use strictures on weapons, intelligence, or defense systems made available to Turkey by its allies.

One Israeli official told GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs: “We are all fully aware that when the Turkish Armed Forces invaded Cyprus in 1974 they did so using US military equipment in defiance of the use strictures placed on that equipment when it was provided by the US to Turkey. Today, Turkey is in open violation of all of its agreements with the US and Israel with regard to the US and Israeli military systems which are the backbone of the Turkish Armed Forces now occupying northern Cyprus.”

This was the first disclosure that Israeli military equipment was being used by the Turkish military in Cyprus, and that this was a violation of understandings between Turkey and Israel when the equipment was supplied.

The Turkish Armed Forces have long worked with the US military on the use of nuclear weapons, particularly artillery-launched, air-delivered, and theater-level ballistic missile-delivered nuclear warheads and bombs. US nuclear weapons are still based in Turkey. On November 23, 2009, the US left-leaning Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — an anti-nuclear organization — published a report by Alexandra Bell and Benjamin Loehrke. stating: “Turkey hosts an estimated 90 B61 [nuclear] gravity bombs at Incirlik Air Base. Fifty of these bombs are reportedly assigned for delivery by US pilots, and 40 are assigned for delivery by the Turkish Air Force. However, no permanent nuclear-capable US fighter wing is based at Incirlik, and the Turkish Air Force is reportedly not certified for NATO nuclear missions, meaning nuclear-capable F-16s from other US bases would need to be brought in if Turkey’s bombs were ever needed.”

Turkish analyst and author Mehmet Kalyoncu, writing on September 19, 2008, in Today’s Zaman website, noted: “Ankara is intensifying its lobbying in Western capitals, most notably in Washington, to get the green light to develop nuclear weapons. Ankara presents itself as the most viable nuclear power in the region to counterbalance the nuclear Iran, pointing out that the other likely candidates, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria, which lack democratic institutions, checks and balances and transparency, cannot be trusted with such military capabilities. Furthermore, Ankara is seeking to justify its quest for nuclear weapons by arguing that with or without the approval of its Western allies Turkey has to develop such capabilities because a nuclear Iran next to its border puts Turkish national security under threat. Accordingly, Ankara is seeking assistance from the major material and know-how suppliers, such as the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and Israel. Finally, the United States tacitly approves Turkey’s acquisition of nuclear weapon capabilities in order to both counterbalance a nuclear Iran in the Middle East and to prevent another rogue state in the region besides Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Consequently, the US is competing with the other suppliers to seize the lion share in Turkey’s emerging nuclear market.”

Kalyoncu continued:

•    Any possible reluctance on the side of Turkey’s Western allies to provide Turkey with the necessary material and know-how to develop nuclear weapons will encourage Ankara to seek other possible partners, which are quite numerous, including Iran itself. The most likely scenarios and the alternative scenarios of Turkey acquiring nuclear weapons or the capability of building nuclear weapons differ from each other not in terms of Turkey’s driving motivations but in terms of the acquisition process.

•    It is possible that the United States and the European Union will not give the green light to Turkey to acquire nuclear weapon capabilities, and will at the same time try to deter Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and/or another nuclear aspirant from acquiring or developing nuclear weapons. However, the two cannot succeed in doing so, as is the case with Iran. In addition, the US and the EU may not provide a credible and reliable guarantee to Turkey that they will protect Turkey against a nuclear threat. Actually, no such guarantee, including the NATO membership, may suffice to convince Turkey to stop its quest for nuclear weapon capabilities given the destructive capability of a nuclear attack and the fact that its very national security is at stake. Worried with the risk of remaining weak and vulnerable in its region and being threatened by a rogue nuclear power, Turkey would then seek nuclear weapon capabilities, risking confrontation with both the United States and the European Union. After all, then the domestic public opinion wouldn’t just condone Turkey acquiring nuclear weapons, but demand it from the government.

•    Given that Turkey’s Western allies do not condone Turkey becoming a nuclear power, Ankara is forced to seek non-Western partners and suppliers for its nuclear program. Turkey does not have difficulty in finding them.

•    Actually, most likely, they would find Turkey anyway. Respectively, Pakistan, Russia, Israel and finally Iran are among the possible partners in Turkey’s nuclear endeavor. Historically, Pakistan has always been supportive of the idea of Turkey becoming a nuclear power. Islamabad first approached Ankara to offer Pakistan’s assistance to Turkey in developing nuclear weapons during the rule of Gen. Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s and then during the rule of Nawaz Sharif in the late 1990s. However, Ankara had to disregard both offers because of concerns about alienating its Western allies. However, under the current circumstances, the national security threat Turkey faces and the Western allies’ refusal to address Turkey’s concerns make it imperative for Ankara to seek Pakistan’s help in developing a nuclear weapons program.

•    Once Turkey comes out as a possible buyer of nuclear material and technology, Israel, Turkey’s long-time ally in the Middle East, would also want to help Turkey by selling it the necessary material, equipment and know-how. Similarly, Russia is likely to reap the benefits of this emerging market for its nuclear technology before the US or the EU does. Finally, though reluctantly, Tehran would also be willing to assist Ankara, calculating that Turkey’s becoming a nuclear power would only further legitimize Iran having nuclear weapons, even if it would eliminate Iran’s chances of becoming the sole regional leader.

It now seems clear that the AKP government feels that the Turkish population would be ready to support a move toward nuclear weapons even at the expense of finally ending the Turkish entry process into the EU. However, it is by no means certain that the EU entry process would be formally stopped — even though it has become totally academic at this point, in any event — even if Turkey went ahead with an open nuclear program. What seems more likely, however, is that the Turkish government will continue to deny its nuclear weapons program for as long as possible; indeed, until testing or deployment, even if the reality becomes obvious. After all, it fully understands how Israel operates in this regard: the Israeli government will still not confirm the presence of a nuclear weapons capability in the Israel Defense Force, almost a half-century after Israel acquired military nuclear capabilities.

There has been no response from sources in the Hellenic Defense Forces as to a reaction by Greece to the acquisition by Turkey of nuclear weapons, but the emergence of the realization that Turkey is now moving in this direction would further spur Greece to boost its strategic relations with Israel (Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou visited Israel on July 21, 2010, the first visit by a Greek Prime Minister since Konstantinos Mitsotakis visited in 1992). This process is now underway.

One of the major areas for the international trade in illicit nuclear materials — both technologies and fissionable material — has been Croatia and the Albanian (particularly Kosovo Albanian) mafia. Most of this trade has involved systems and matériel from the former Soviet Union. Turkey’s strenuous and discreet program of support for the Kosovo Albanians, the Islamists in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Croatians in their wars of the 1990s against the Serbs, should now be seen, also, in the light of the nuclear ambitions of Turkey as well as in the light of its attempts to restore dominion over the former Ottoman sphere in the Balkans.

The Turkish moves to resume influence in the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, the Horn of Africa, and the Maghreb are also part of the new Turkish strategic dynamic. Already, Turkish officials have felt that they could resume influence in administering conflict resolution issues in the Horn of Africa, and the presence of Turkish officials and actions in Somalia are now overt. Ankara also recently hosted a major conference on Horn of Africa issues, even though Ottoman influence in the region has largely been forgotten by all but the Turks.

Overall, Turkish strategic initiatives have been designed, à priori, to give the Islamist AKP absolute control at home, reducing the military to a pre-republic (i.e. Ottoman) status in Turkey, but also to challenge the other ‘great powers’, including Russia, the US, the UK, and France, as well as to the regional authority of the Iranians, Egyptians, and Israelis. There is some belief in Ankara that this ‘window of opportunity’ provided by US powerlessness and EU confusion will not be open long, and that Ankara must act on all its strategic initiatives even before the Russians can assert dominance over the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. As a result, Ankara is moving rapidly, perhaps to the point of recklessness. Absent a coherent response from the EU, the US and particularly from a distracted Greece, Turkey may well attempt to further entrench itself in Cyprus, quite apart from making strenuous claims elsewhere in the region.