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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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‘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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Greece: “Humanitarian Aid” Organization’s People-Smuggling

Greek NGO evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece.

The Duran

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Authored by Maria Polizoidou of Gatestone Institute:


  • Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) describes itself as a “Greek nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and humanitarian aid in times of crisis….” It has reportedly abetted the illegal entry into Greece of 70,000 immigrants since 2015, providing the “nonprofit” with half a billion euros per year.
  • ECRI evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece. In addition, its members created a business for “integrating refugees” into Greek society, granting it 5,000 euros per immigrant per year from various government programs (in education, housing and nutrition).
  • With the government of Greece seemingly at a loss as to how to handle its refugee crisis and safeguard the security of its citizens, it is particularly dismaying to discover that the major NGO whose mandate is to provide humanitarian aid to immigrants is instead profiting from smuggling them.

Migrants arrive at a beach on the Greek island of Kos after crossing part of the Aegean sea from Turkey in a rubber dinghy, on August 15, 2015. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

On August 28, thirty members of the Greek NGO Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) were arrested for their involvement in a people-smuggling network that has been operating on the island of Lesbos since 2015. According to a statement released by Greek police, as a result of the investigation that led to the arrests, “The activities of an organised criminal network that systematically facilitated the illegal entry of foreigners were fully exposed.”

Among the activities uncovered were forgery, espionage and the illegal monitoring of both the Greek coastguard and the EU border agency, Frontex, for the purpose of gleaning confidential information about Turkish refugee flows. The investigation also led to the discovery of an additional six Greeks and 24 foreign nationals implicated in the case.

ERCI describes itself as:

“[A] Greek nonprofit organization that provides emergency response and humanitarian aid in times of crisis. ERCI’s philosophy is to identify the gaps of humanitarian aid and step in to assist in the most efficient and impactful manner. Currently ERCI has 4 active programs working with refugees in Greece in the areas of Search and Rescue, Medical, Education and Refugee Camp Coordination.”

In spite of its stated mission and non-profit profile, however, ECRI — according to Greek authorities, has earned considerable sums of money from its serving as a conduit for illegal activities. ECRI evidently received 2,000 euros from each illegal immigrant it helped to enter Greece. In addition, its members created a business for “integrating refugees” into Greek society, granting it 5,000 euros per immigrant per year from various government programs (in education, housing and nutrition). ERCI has reportedly abetted the illegal entry into Greece of 70,000 immigrants since 2015, providing the “non-profit” with half a billion euros per year.

This revelation, however, does not begin to cover the extent of the illegal activities surrounding the entry of migrants into Greece. In 2017, for instance, Greek authorities arrested 1,399 people-smugglers, some under the cover of “humanitarian” operations; and during the first four months of 2018, authorities arrested 25,594 illegal immigrants.

More worrisome than the literally steep price paid to people-smugglers by the immigrants themselves — or that doled out by the Greek government in the form of integration subsidies — is the toll the situation is taking on Greek society as a whole.

According to Greek police statistics, there were 75,707 robberies and burglaries reported in 2017. Of these cases only 15,048 were solved, and 4,207 were committed by aliens. In addition, the police estimate that more than 40% of serious crimes were committed by illegal immigrants. (Legal and illegal immigrants in Greece make up 10-15% of the total population.)

In 2016, Greek prisons reportedly contained 4,246 Greeks and 5,221 foreigners convicted of serious crimes: 336 for homicide; 101 for attempted homicide; 77 for rape; and 635 for robbery. In addition, thousands of cases are still pending trial.

In a recent heart-wrenching case on August 15, a 25-year-old college student from Athens — on a visit home from his studies at a university in Scotland — was murdered by three illegal immigrants while he was out touring the city with a female friend from Portugal.

The three perpetrators, two Pakistanis and an Iraqi ranging in age from 17 to 28, told police that they first attacked the young woman, stealing money, credit cards, a passport and a cell phone from her purse, but when they realized that her phone was “old,” they went for the young man’s phone, threatening him with a knife. When he tried to fend them off, they said in their confession, they shoved him and he fell off a cliff to his death. After the interrogation, it transpired that the three killers were wanted for 10 additional robberies in the area.

In an angry letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, members of parliament and the mayor of Athens, the mother of the victim accused Tsipras of “criminal negligence” and “complicity” in her son’s murder.

“Instead of welcoming and providing “land and water” to every criminal and dangerous individual with savage instincts,” she wrote, “should the state not think first of the safety of its own citizens, whose blood it drinks daily [economically]? [Should the state] abandon [its citizens] to ravenous gangs, for whom the worth of a human life has less meaning than the value of a cell phone or a gold chain?”

Although those were the words of a grieving mother, they are sentiments widely felt and expressed throughout Greece, where such incidents are increasingly common.

On August 29, two weeks after that murder, six immigrants in northern Greece verbally assaulted a 52-year-old man on the street, apparently for no reason. When he ignored them and kept walking, one of them stabbed him in the shoulder blade with a 24-cm (9.4-inch) knife, landing him in the hospital.

Two days earlier, on August 27, approximately 100 immigrants, protesting the living conditions in their camp in Malakasa, blocked the National Highway for more than three hours. Drivers stuck on the road said that some of the protestors went on a rampage, bashing cars with blocks of wood. To make matters worse, police on the scene said that they had not received instructions from the Ministry of Citizen Protection to clear the highway or protect the victims. Gatestone was told upon further queries, that there was no official statement from the police or the ministry, just the drivers’ statements.

With the government of Greece seemingly at a loss as to how to handle its migrant crisis and safeguard the security of its citizens, it is particularly dismaying to discover that the major NGO whose mandate is to provide humanitarian aid to immigrants is instead profiting from smuggling them. The recent arrest of ERCI members underscores the need to scrutinize all such organizations.

Maria Polizoidou, a reporter, broadcast journalist, and consultant on international and foreign affairs, is based in Greece. She has a post-graduate degree in “Geopolitics and Security Issues in the Islamic complex of Turkey and Middle East” from the University of Athens.

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Turkey’s Latest Power Grab: A Naval Base In Cyprus?

“If Greek-Turkish tensions escalate, the possibility of another ill-timed military provocation could escalate with them… Moreover, such a conflict might open up an even greater opportunity for Russian interference.” — Lawrence A. Franklin.

The Duran

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Authored by Debalina Ghoshal via The Gatestone Institute:


  • The possibility of a Turkish naval base on Cyprus does not bode well for the chances of a Cyprus reunification deal, particularly after the breakdown of the July 2017 peace talks, which were suspended when “Turkey had refused to relinquish its intervention rights on Cyprus or the presence of troops on the island.” Turkey has 30,000 soldiers stationed on Cyprus, the northern part of which it has illegally occupied since 1974.

Turkey’s Naval Forces Command has “submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that Turkey should establish a naval base in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” according to Turkey’s strongly pro-Erdogan daily, Yeni Safak, which recently endorsed the proposal for the base in an article entitled, “Why Turkey should establish a naval base in Northern Cyprus.”

“The base will enable the protection of Northern Cyprus’ sovereignty as well as facilitate and fortify Turkey’s rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, preventing the occupation of sea energy fields, and strengthening Turkey’s hand in the Cyprus peace process talks.”

Having a naval base in northern Cyprus would also strengthen the self-proclaimed “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which is recognized only by Turkey. Cyprus is strategically important: a naval base there would give Turkey easier access to the Eastern Mediterranean’s international trade routes and greater control over the vast undersea energy resources around Cyprus. In the past, Turkey has blocked foreign vessels from drilling for these resources; in June, Turkey began its own exploration of the island’s waters for gas and oil.

This is not the first time that Turkey has set its sights on the area’s resources. In 2014, Ankara dispatched surveillance vessels and warships to Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to search for hydrocarbons. This incident took place just before the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt deepened their an energy-cooperation, “freezing Turkey out.” As soon as the accord was signed, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades blasted “Turkey’s provocative actions,” saying that they “do not just compromise the peace talks [between Greek and Turkish Cypriots]… [but] also affect security in the eastern Mediterranean region.”

At the time, UN-brokered reunification negotiations, which had been renewed after a long hiatus, ended unsuccessfully yet again, as a result of Turkey’s search for hydrocarbons in the EEZ. According to a November 2014 report in the Guardian:

“Turkey’s decision to dispatch a research vessel into disputed waters last month not only resulted in talks being broken off but has exacerbated the row over drilling rights.”

The possibility of a Turkish naval base does not bode well for the chances of a Cyprus reunification deal, particularly after the breakdown of the July 2017 peace talks between Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. The talks were suspended when “Turkey had refused to relinquish its intervention rights on Cyprus or the presence of troops on the island.” Turkey has 30,000 soldiers stationed on Cyprus, the northern part of which it has illegally occupied since 1974.

Another factor that may be contributing to the Turkish Navy’s desire for a base in Cyprus is Israel. Aside from Ankara’s extremely rocky relations with Jerusalem, Israel and Cyprus have been working to forge an agreement to join their electricity grids and construct a pipeline to link their gas fields to mainland Europe. Although they are in a dispute over development rights of one of these gas fields, Aphrodite, they are invested in reaching a solution that will not damage their increasingly friendly relations.

Erdogan’s considerations should concern NATO, of which Turkey, surprisingly, is still a member, and the rest of the West. As Lawrence A. Franklin recently wrote for Gatestone:

“If Greek-Turkish tensions escalate, the possibility of another ill-timed military provocation could escalate with them. The ability of NATO to respond to other conflicts in the area could be affected, as well as NATO air and naval assets based in both countries. Moreover, such a conflict might open up an even greater opportunity for Russian interference.”

Debalina Ghoshal, an independent consultant specializing in nuclear and missile issues, is based in India.

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