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Viewpoint: Turkish expansionism and the responsibility of the Greek diaspora

The Turkish threat towards Greece, Cyprus, and the Hellenic nation is perhaps greater than ever before. The Greek diaspora has a responsibility to act.

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After taking a long look at today’s world and the position of Hellenism in it, I’ve come to the conclusion that today more than ever before, we the Hellenes of abroad, must come together to examine the problems concerning us. It is no coincidence that at this juncture in history is the anniversary of the destruction of the Hellenic population of Asia Minor. We regret to say that it seems to have been forgotten among the Hellenic communities around the world.
Following the tragic events in Cyprus in 1974, which resulted in the occupation of almost half the island by the hordes of “Attil”a and the expatriation of 200,000 Greek-Cypriot refugees, the Greek-American community stood faithfully on the side of Cypriot Hellenism and offered great help, economically and politically (e.g. lobbying for the arms embargo to Turkey), both on an individual initiative basis and through various organizations (the Orthodox church, AHEPA, the Hellenic-American Institute, the United Hellenic-American Congress, the Hellenic-American Development Alliance, etc.).
Lately, however, in spite of the continuing occupation of Cyprus, and despite the national threat and crisis in Greece, an inexplicable indifference can be observed on the part of global Hellenism, which will prove disastrous if it is not halted and reversed. It is on the shoulders of Greek-Americans that most of the burden of the cause of Cyprus and the Aegean threat by Turkey, lies. This is because Washington is the center where the levers of power are pulled.
This indifference is an ominous reality, and it is due, as I see it, not to apathy on the part of each individual Hellene, but to the lack of an appropriate medium, a carrier of ideas if you will or a conductor, to urge, direct, illuminate and enlighten the Greek-American community, and to keep us always in a state of wakefulness and vigilance.
The formation of such an entity has become imperative today as never before, because along with the occupation of Cyprus, the Aegean is increasingly becoming the object of expansionist designs on the part of Turkey. Both the islands and the maritime waters of the Aegean are in direct danger from Turkish greed and aggression. Furthermore, the very territorial integrity of our land of birth is in danger. It would not be an exaggeration to say that for the first time, the very existence of the Greeks as a nation is endangered.
Some people think erroneously, believing that there are only legal differences between Greece and Turkey which must be solved in the framework of International law and International practice. I believe that Turkey has expansionist designs which aim at annihilating Hellenism. The problem, therefore, is political and not legal.
Consider this: In the period from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the Greek revolution of 1821, the Turks exterminated millions of Greeks. In 1821, Greeks numbered five million, of which one million constituted the newly established state of Greece in 1830, and the remaining 4 million remained under Turkish yoke in Asia Minor and were exterminated during the Asia Minor catastrophe. And while at the time of the signing of the Lausanne treaty in 1923 there were 200,000 Greeks living in Constantinople, today there are reportedly 4,000-6,000 left, their numbers dwindling because of persecutions and purges. Already, the Turks seek to have the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate closed down, to once and for all seal the destruction of the last token of Hellenic life in that area.
In the aforementioned period, we lost the Hellenism of Byzantium, of Pontos (the north shores of Asia Minor to the Black Sea), Eastern Thrace, Asia Minor proper, and Eastern Romylia.
Turkish president Tayip Erdogan has called for “border treaty review.” He is probably asking for the borders before the hordes from the East settled in the Greek areas. The following ancient Greek toponyms, with today’s modern names in parentheses, testify to the Hellenisity of those areas will help you:
Aesani (Cavdarhisar), Alexandria (Troas), Amisos (Samson), Adrianople (Edirne), Ancyra (Ankara), Antioch (Antakya), Antioch of Pisidia (Yalvac), Antiphellus (Kas), Aphrodisias (Geyre, nr. Caracas), Aspendos (Belkis), Assos (Behramkale), Attaleia (Antalya), Brusa (Bursa), Claudipolis (Mut), Cnidos (Datca), Colophon (Degirmendere), Constantinople (Istanbul), Dephne (Harbiye), Didyma (Yenihisar), Edessa (Urfs), Ephesus (Efes, nr. Selcuk), Filyos (Hisaronu), Flaviopolis (Kadirli), Galipoli (Gelibolu), Gordion (Yassihuyuk), Halicarnassus (Bodrum), Heraklea (Erekli), Hierapolis (Pamukkale), Issos (Dortyol), Kanes (Kultepe), Lampsacus (Lapseki), Laodices (Denizli), Magnesia ad Sipylus (Manisa), Magnesia and Meander (soke), Midas (Yazilikaya), Milidia (Nr. Arslantepe), Miylassa (Milas), Myra (Demre), Neocaesarea (Niksar), Nicaea (Iznik), Nikomedia (Ismit), Nyssa (Sultanhisar), Olba-Diocaesarea (Uzuncaburc), Pergamum (Pergama), Philadeiphia (Alasehir), Philomenion (Aksehir), Phocea (Foca), Phoenicus (Finike), Pompeiopolis (I) (Viransehir), Pompeiopolis (II) (Taskopru), Sardis (Sart, nr. Salihli), Seleucia (Silifke), Smyrna (Ismir), Telmessos (Ggulluk), Theodosiopolis (Akhisar), Thyatira (Trabzon), Tripolis (Buldan), Troy (Truva) and Xanthos (Kinik).
Indeed, if we are not extremely careful and responsive, we will lose the Hellenism of Cyprus as well.
What will then be left? Hellenism of insular and mainland Greece. Turkish expansionism is already unfolding and threatening the Hellenism of the islands, which is its immediate target, along with the Hellenism of Cyprus. After that, nothing else would be left but the taking and destruction of mainland Greece. That constitutes the Turkish target for the foreseeable future. After such a horrible tragedy, there would remain only the emigrant Hellenism, which would inevitably disappear eventually in the melting pots of the host countries. I have the unshakable belief that the Greeks of abroad must have their own homeland if we are to survive as a nation, and that is desirable and necessary can be seen in the classic examples of the Jews or the Armenians.
Our native land is facing the specter of annihilation, as do the Greeks as a nation. And we, the Greek-Americans of the United States, cannot bear to remain indifferent and cannot view this matter lightheartedly, because Turkish expansionism has been planned, nurtured, strengthened, imposed, and thrust forward by certain circles in the American capital. I am referring in particular to Henry Kissinger, and to recent case of Michael Flynn. These circles, by rote repetition of the stale story about the “strategic importance of Turkey,” the “impending Russian attack,” “impending Islam,” etc., mislead and disorient the political leadership of the United States, the legislators, the intelligentsia, and the American public in general.
Turkey has already formed an Aegean army of 150,000 troops and has placed 120 landing craft opposite the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean Sea. This is a clear indication towards a specific policy, the policy that brought the Turkey into Cyprus, and the policy that keeps arming Ankara under the pretext of acting in the framework of NATO. Such a policy is aimed at the occupation of the Aegean islands and the destruction of the insular Hellenism of the Aegean.
However, this policy against Greece can be reversed with a well-planned, methodical, and continuous dissemination of information to the political leadership, members of the legislative and executive branches, intellectuals, public figures, and the American public at large. This can be accomplished only with the creation of an organ, the purpose of which would be to embrace the Hellenes of the United States, to bring them together, to come in contact with the prominent leaders, statement, scientists and men of letters among them, to inform, coordinate and direct them, so that they, the Hellenes, in turn, will become carriers of the developed ideas to points of impact, e.g. the president, senators, the secretaries of various governmental departments, and other faces of power.
If this concept comes into fruition here in the United States, it can later can be expanded to other countries with sizable Hellenic communities, such as Canada, Australia, etc., so that all the Hellenic elements around the world would be united into an international bond of Hellenism, aimed at saving our native land from the Turkish peril and threats, which are manifest and lurking. This must be done as soon as possible, because if Turkish expansionism over the Aegean materializes tomorrow, it will find us unprepared, and the consequences will be catastrophic.
In view of all the above, we all have to take an action, which under the present crucial circumstances for our native land, I considered a struggle for country and family, for altar and hearth, for the survival of Hellenism.
Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

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After Embarrassing Defeat, NATO, EU and the West Try to Alter Reality in Macedonia

Amidst all the faux cheer and public displays of confidence of the pro-NATO/EU crowd, a palpable sense of unease hangs in the air.

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Authored by Aleksandar Pavic via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Although the September 30, 2018 name-change referendum in Macedonia, which was supposed to set that ex-Yugoslav federal republic on a path to (certain) NATO and (blithely promised but much less certain) EU membership, failed miserably, with only 36.91% of the voters turning out, well short of the 50% + 1 necessary for it to be valid – one would never know it from the reactions of its Western proponents and impatient beneficiaries. Indeed, a new term may be needed to adequately describe the reactions of the key pillars representing the reliquiae reliquiarum of the Western-led post-Cold War unipolar moment. Fake news simply doesn’t do them justice. Fake reality anyone?

The US State Department was firmly in denial, releasing the following statement“The United States welcomes the results of the Republic of Macedonia’s September 30 referendum, in which citizens expressed their support for NATO and European Union (EU) membership by accepting the Prespa Agreement between Macedonia and Greece. The United States strongly supports the Agreement’s full implementation, which will allow Macedonia to take its rightful place in NATO and the EU, contributing to regional stability, security, and prosperity. As Macedonia’s parliament now begins deliberation on constitutional changes, we urge leaders to rise above partisan politics and seize this historic opportunity to secure a brighter future for the country as a full participant in Western institutions.”

EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn wasn’t to be outdone in his contempt for the 63% of the Macedonian “deplorables” who stayed home in order to voice their disagreement with renouncing their perceived national identity and country name (it was to become “Northern Macedonia”) in exchange for the double joy of a) becoming NATO’s cannon-fodder in its increasingly hazardous game of chicken with Russia and b) the EU’s newest debt-serfs: “Referendum in Macedonia: I congratulate those citizens who voted in today’s consultative referendum and made use of their democratic freedoms. With the very significant “yes” vote, there is broad support to the #Prespa Agreement + to the country’s #Euroatlantic path. I now expect all political leaders to respect this decision and take it forward with utmost responsibility and unity across party lines, in the interest of the country.” He was seconded the following day, in a joint statement, by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission.

Understandably, as the most direct public stakeholder, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was particularly (hyper)active. As the disappointing results began to roll in, Stoltenberg went into immediate damage control, tweeting“I welcome the yes vote in Macedonia referendum. I urge all political leaders & parties to engage constructively & responsibly to seize this historic opportunity. #NATO’s door is open, but all national procedures have to be completed.” He reinforced his delusional missive the next day, releasing a similar statement co-signed by EU President Donald Tusk. And the day after, during a news conference, Stoltenberg even offered lightning-quick NATO accession to the unwilling Macedonians – January 2019, to be exact – if they would just be so kind as to urgently implement the very agreement that they had just so emphatically rejected. When NATO says it promotes democratic values – it means it!

But that wasn’t the end of the “democracy mongering” surrounding what may well prove to be NATO’s, the EU’s and the rest of the end-of-history West’s Balkan Waterloo. For example, the EU Parliament’s Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, although “regretting that the turnout was less than 50%,” nevertheless hailed the referendum’s results and “call(ed) on the opposition to respect the expressed will of the majority [sic] of voters.” The Group’s leader, Udo Bullmann, while also maintaining that, somehow, a voter turnout of under 37% still represented a “majority,” additionally used the occasion to chastise Macedonia’s President for having the nerve to call for a boycott of the referendum (he committed the crimethink of referring to it as “historical suicide” during his UN General Assembly address), as well as to decry – what else? – “reports about Russian interference in the electoral process.” It goes without saying that Bullmann offered absolutely zero proof for his assertion. On the other hand, according to numerous media reports, as September 30 approached, while no high Russian official was to be seen anywhere in the vicinity, a veritable procession of Western political bigwigs made the pilgrimage to Skopje in order to reveal to the natives their “true” best interests: Sebastian Kurz“Mad Dog” Mattis, the indefatigable StoltenbergFederica MogheriniJohannes HahnAngela Merkel. No meddling there, obviously…

Speaking of Angela Merkel, she also joined her fellow Western democrats’ show of unanimous disdain for the Macedonian voters’ majority opinion, urging the country to “push ahead” with the implementation of the majority-rejected accord, citing voters’ “overwhelming support” [sic], and arguing through the mouth of her spokesman that the required 50% + 1 turnout was actually “very high,” as voter registers purportedly included many people who had long since left the country.

Coincidentally (?), the same argument was used by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who opined that the “yes” votes cast in the referendum do, in fact, “represent the majority despite the low turnout because Macedonia does not have the 1.8 million voters entered into its electoral rolls but just 1.2 million since 300,000 people have left the country since the voter lists were last updated 20 years ago.” The fallacy of his reality-challenged claim is easily exposed if we just take a glance at the results of Macedonia’s last parliamentary elections (December 2016), in which voter turnout was just under 1.2 million (1,191,832 to be exact) or, officially, 66.79%. If we were to believe Kotzias and Merkel (who lodged no objections at the time), that would have meant that the turnout for the 2016 elections had been 99% – a figure that would make any totalitarian dictator blush with envy. On the other hand, since those elections did produce the “desired result,” enabling the current heavily pro-NATO/EU government led by Zoran Zaev to be formed, that automatically made them “valid” in the eyes of the high priests of democracy in Brussels, Berlin, London and Washington.

Needless to say, Zaev joined his Western patrons’ charade, hailing the referendum as a “democratic success,” and announcing that he would seek the Macedonian Parliament’s support to amend the constitution and get the agreement with Greece ratified (according to the so-called Prespa Agreement, the Macedonian Parliament must adopt the necessary constitutional amendments by the end of 2018) so that the Greek Parliament can do the same, which would seal the deal. However, Zaev and his Albanian political partners are currently well short of the necessary two-thirds majority (reportedly, they can count on 71 deputies, or 9 short of the needed 80), and will have to call early elections if they don’t soon succeed in securing it.

Yet, let it not go unsaid that Zaev was singing a rather different tune prior to the referendum, assuring that “citizens will make the decision,” and that Parliament would vote on the necessary constitutional changes only if the referendum is successful. But that was then, when confidence was still high that the usual combination of Western pressure, money and overwhelming domination of the media spectrum would get the job done. And then reality struck on September 30…

Still, amidst all the faux cheer and public displays of confidence of the pro-NATO/EU crowd, a palpable sense of unease hangs in the air. As a Deutsche Welle opinion piece put it, the “low voter turnout for Macedonia’s referendum is a bad starting point for the country’s future development.” And, according to DW in Serbian, a Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung commentary warned that “politicians who otherwise ceaselessly talk of democracy as a ‘special value’ should not call on the parliament in Skopje to accept the voting results.” In other words, Macedonia’s people (read – a large majority of the majority Slavic population) have “voted with their feet” and rejected the agreement, and no new parliamentary election, no matter the results, can change that unpleasant-but-immutable fact. That alone will delegitimize any Western-led effort to “manufacture consent” by ramming the agreement through the present or future Parliament – although, as we know, NATO doesn’t put too much stock in referenda anyway, while the EU is not averse to making citizens vote as many times as needed to obtain the “right” result.

But the West has lost more than just legitimacy in Macedonia – it has damaged its reputation, perhaps irretrievably. In the words of former presidential advisor Cvetin Chilimanov, “The West has humiliated us… Macedonians have rejected this media, psychological, political and propaganda aggression against the people, and that’s the tragedy of these days, that a large percentage of a people that had been genuinely oriented towards the West has changed its mind and stopped looking at the West as something democratic, something progressive and successful… That is the reason for the boycott. Pressure was applied against Macedonia, a country that had always been open to ties with the West, but which did not want to make this disgusting compromise and humiliate itself before the neighboring countries, before Western countries. We did not understand why that humiliation was needed so that we might become a member of Europe. What’s worst, perhaps that is now the thinking of a silent majority of the people, that they won’t forget this insult and this attack on Macedonia.”

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Greeks Owe A Stunning €182 Billion In Tax Arrears To The State

Greece repeatedly raised taxes during its international bailouts between 2010 and August 2018.

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Via Zerohedge


Data from the Independent Authority for Public Revenue show tax arrears totaled 182.5 billion euros ($214 billion) on Aug. 10, according to a note sent from the agency to parliament last week and seen by The Associated Press Wednesday.

“The Greek government is owed so much in tax arrears from households and companies that it could pay off more than half its massive public debts if it collected it all,” writes AP, adding “unfortunately for the government, that’s unlikely to ever happen.”

However, as KeepTalkingGreece.com reports, more than 80 billion euros of that represents interest and fines on delayed payments from debtors that include companies that have been out of business for decades.

The arrears come close to Greece’s total economic output, estimated at 184.7 billion euros ($217 billion) this year, and Greece’s total public debt is worth about 180% of these arrears.

Eurozone-member Greece repeatedly raised taxes during its international bailouts between 2010 and August 2018.

Some 3.7 million Greeks – about 60 percent of the total – are behind on tax payments, and while the EU governments have attempted to crack down on the so-called shadow economy, black market activity still thrives in Greece.

As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notesexamples of black market activity are pretty common, whether it’s a warehouse worker driving an unlicensed taxi between shifts, an electrician accepting cash payments without declaring his earnings or a simple drug deal in a shady alleyway.

However, the level of black market activity, also defined as the shadow economy, depends highly on your country of residence. Generally defined as businesses and individuals engaging in inappropriate practices without complying with certain legal obligations such as paying tax or maintaining acceptable standards of employment, the shadow economy costs governments around the world trillions of dollars every year.

According to the IMF, heavily regulated economies with weaker administration tend to have well-established shadow economies. It’s far smaller in natons with strong, well-regulated and efficient government institutions. Back in the late 1990s, this was readily apparent in former Soviet states like Georgia where the shadow economy was estimated at 64 percent of GDP.

Today, the shadow economy is booming across southern Europe, though the scale of underground activity can only be measured indirectly.

You will find more infographics at Statista.

According to a new study published by the Institute for Applied Economic Research at the University of Tübingen in Germany (IAW), Greece’s shadow economy is estimated to average 21.5 percent of GDP. In the United States, undeclared cash transactions seem to be rarer with IAW’s study placing U.S. shadow economic activity at 5.4 percent of the country’s GDP.

 

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‘Hell on Earth’: MSF doctor tells RT of rape, violence, inhumane conditions in Lesbos refugee camp

One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

Alex Christoforou

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Via RT


One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

The overcrowded camp on the island of Lesbos, built to accommodate 3,100, houses around 9,000 people. “It’s a kind of hell on Earth in Europe,” Dr. Alessandro Barberio, an MSF clinical psychiatrist, said, adding that people in the camp suffer from lack of water and medical care. “It is impossible to stay there,” he said.

According to Barberio, asylum seekers are subjected to violence “during night and day.””There is also sexual violence”which leads to “mental health issues,” he said, adding that all categories of people at the camp may be subjected to it. “There is rape against men, women and children,” and the victims of sexual violence in the camp often have nightmares and hallucinations, Barberio told RT.

Asylum seekers in Moria “are in constant fear of violence,” and these fears are not groundless, the psychiatrist said. “Such cases [of violence] take place every week.”

There is “one toilet for 72 people, one shower for 84 people. The sanitation is bad. People are suffering from bad conditions,” Michael Raeber, an aid worker at the camp, told RT. They suffer from mental health problems because they are kept for a long time in the camp, according to Raeber.

“There is no perspective, they don’t know how their case will go on, when they will ever be able to leave the island.” The camp is a “place where there is no rule of law,” with rampant violence and drug addiction among the inhabitants, Raeber said.

In its latest report, MSF, which has been working near Moria since late 2017, criticized the unprecedented health crisis in the camp – one of the biggest in Greece. About a third of the camp population consists of children, and many of them have harmed themselves, and have thought about or attempted suicide, according to the group.

Barberio was behind an MSF open letter on the state of emergency in Moria, released on Monday, in which he writes that he has never “witnessed such overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions.”

Calling the camp an “island prison,” he insisted that many of his patients in the camp are unable to perform basic everyday functions, “such as sleeping, eating well, maintaining personal hygiene, and communicating.”

A number of human rights groups have strongly criticized the conditions at the camp and Greece’s “containment policy”regarding asylum seekers.

Christina Kalogirou, the regional governor of the North Aegean, which includes Lesbos, has repeatedly threatened to shut down the facility unless the government improves the conditions. On Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Greece will move 2,000 asylum seekers out of the severely overcrowded camp and send them to the mainland by the end of September.

Greece, like other EU states, is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. According to International Organization for Migration estimates, 22,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Greece since the start of this year alone.

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