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Viewpoint: Is Greece truly independent?

On March 25 Greeks worldwide celebrate Greek Independence, but Greece will never truly be independent until its people remove the shackles within.

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Original version aired on Dialogos Radio in March 2016.
Each year, on the 25th of March, Greeks around the world commemorate the beginning of the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire. A commemoration which is closely tied into Greece’s national and cultural identity, and with the freedom and independence of the modern Greek state, after 400 years of occupation by the Ottomans.
But which independence and which sovereignty are we actually talking about here? The result of the Greek revolution of 1821 may well have been the end of 400 years of Turkish occupation and control, but what followed since then and what continues until today is a different sort of occupation, a political and economic occupation and increasingly a cultural one as well. Modern Greece has never been an independent or sovereign state.
In its modern history, Greece has been a colony and protectorate of the Bavarians, who soon after Greece regained so-called “independence” brought in their royal families to rule Greece. Greece was a colony and protectorate of the British, who employed divide and conquer techniques against the Greek people in order to assert control and dominance, as was the case immediately after the end of World War II, when the British turned their backs on the rebels who resisted Nazi occupation and sided with far-right, fascist, criminal elements who had been Nazi collaborators. Greece has been a colony and protectorate of the United States, who brought in so-called “patriotic” elements into power in the 1950s while emptying the country of its educated youth at the time, and who later on brought a full-fledged military dictatorship to Greece, in the name of freedom and democracy of course. And since 1981, Greece has been a bona fide colony of the European Union and later the Eurozone.
This sort of foreign control has become ingrained in the minds and the mentalities of most Greeks. It’s a mentality one comes across every day in Greece, that Greece belongs to Europe, belongs to the West, belongs to NATO, that Greece would be nothing without the European Union and the Euro and America, while you hear others saying that Greece must be saved by another power, by the Russians. You rarely, if ever, hear anyone talk about Greece standing up on its own two feet, as a nation and as a country, without being under the umbrella of some other power, some savior, without belonging to some sort of a so-called “alliance.”
Therefore, when this sort of neocolonial mindset predominates in your society and your national mentality, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the so-called political leaders of your country, a bunch of ignorant and repulsive clowns and traitors, downplay the significance of this national day of commemoration and tell us that on March 25th of 1821 what took place was an “economic revolt” or that a new “nation” (pay attention to the word here), nation, was born, or that this commemoration belongs to the so-called European cultural heritage and inheritance, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the totality of your parliament is comprised of political parties who have exactly the same position regarding Greece remaining part of the so-called “European family,” and is comprised of political figures who tell us that the memorandum and austerity agreements are a “blessing,” and there is absolutely no democratic debate of any kind regarding the issue of exiting the EU or the Eurozone, tell me, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When these so-called blessings, these memorandum and austerity agreements, have resulted in a GDP decline of 25 percent, a decline in domestic consumption of 28.5 percent, a reduction in pensions of 61 percent, an official unemployment rate of 26 percent, a 35 percent increase in the use of antidepressants, as well as 50 percent of the population living at or below the poverty line and over 500,000 mostly young and educated people abandoning the country and migrating abroad in the past eight years, tell me, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the resounding result of the July 2015 referendum, which rejected new austerity measures, was itself rejected by the government which clueless people around the world hailed as a government of “hope” and “change,” by a fascist, authoritarian, and traitorous faux-leftist government which went ahead and enforced the harshest austerity agreement to date, a government which earned the electoral support of less than 20 percent of the Greek population, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When bills that are placed before parliament must also be reviewed and approved by Greece’s European so-called partners, when they have the unilateral right and ability to declare Greece as being in a “state of emergency,” and when they can decide, for instance, what crops Greece can and cannot grow, what amounts of these crops to grow, and where Greece is allowed or not allowed to export this production, when your government’s finance minister says that his government is signing anything that the Europeans ask them to sign, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When the Nobel Prize-winning European Union, in which Greece apparently must remain “at all costs” says that your country must accept hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants and when there are apparently great sums of money available to support them and to support the country, Turkey, that is trafficking them into Europe even though it is not an EU member-state, while Greece is told that there is no money for salaries or pensions or health care and that more cuts are needed, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When this so-called European “family” forces your country to accept an active NATO military patrol on your land and in your waters and forces you to accept the presence of police and military personnel from Turkey, while turning a blind eye to the thousands of violations of Greek airspace and territorial waters committed by Turkey each and every year, tell me, are you an independent and sovereign country?
When Turkey does not allow Greece’s official aircraft, in which the prime minister is traveling, to land on a Greek island and in a Greek airport, at the same time that Turkey has a police and military presence in your own country, officially and unofficially, and when Turkey considers any Greek attempt to explore for hydrocarbons in its Aegean or Mediterranean seaspace an act of war, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When your country does not possess its own domestic, national currency but instead uses what is in reality a foreign debt instrument, meaning the euro, and when you are unable as a country to develop and enforce your own economic, monetary, and fiscal policies, when your country is indeed forced to sell off all of its valuable public assets for ridiculously low prices to foreigners and the proceeds from these sales also go immediately to foreign hands in the name of repaying an illegal, odious debt, tell me, are you an independent and sovereign country?
When your very own government has watered down the teaching of your language, your history, and your culture, when it requires your children to learn at least two foreign languages, something which few other countries require, and when it enforces an education system which favors rote learning and does not allow even an inch for critical thought, when this very education system apparently teaches the new generations that they are European first and then Greek, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
When all of the major avenues and thoroughfares in Greece’s major and smaller cities are named after Greece’s former foreign royalty instead of bearing the names of prominent Greeks from Greece’s ancient and modern past, when we have avenues named after Queen Amalia and King Constantine instead of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Kolokotronis and Papanikolaou, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
When you have altered and watered down the Greek language to the extent that practically half the words used in daily parlance in Greece today are English words, even though corresponding Greek words exist and were once used, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
And the icing on the cake is that if you say such things in Greece, if you ask such questions and raise such issues, you are immediately branded as a “nationalist,” a “fascist,” a “Golden Dawn” supporter, a “racist,” and every other defamatory categorization one can come up with. In other words, in modern Greece today, one who stands up for their homeland, for their language, for their history and culture is now considered some sort of far-right fringe element. We’re European now, not Greek, we are told. When this mentality and this line of thinking predominates in society, especially among the young, tell me, is your country independent and sovereign?
Today, what Greece needs is a new March 25th. How can this occur though when the solution for Greece’s youth is to abandon the country, one that many don’t even consider their homeland, without a fight? How can this take place when the prevailing attitude in Greece is one of “woe is me, what can we do, we have no choice?,” and when there is such fear, indeed such terror, of leaving the so-called European family and missing out on the vaunted European dream?
Greece needs a new March 25th, but in order for this to happen, the people of Greece need to undergo their own personal March 25th, in their minds and in their attitudes. Will this ever take place though?
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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The Mediterranean Pipeline Wars Are Heating Up

The EastMed gas pipeline is expected to start some 170 kilometers off the southern coast of Cyprus and reach Otranto on the Puglian coast of Italy via the island of Crete and the Greek mainland.

The Duran

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Authored by Viktor Katona via Oilprice.com:


Things have been quite active in the Eastern Mediterranean lately, with Israel, Cyprus and Greece pushing forward for the realization of the EastMed pipeline, a new gas conduit destined to diversify Europe’s natural gas sources and find a long-term reliable market outlet for all the recent Mediterranean gas discoveries. The three sides have reached an agreement in late November (roughly a year after signing the MoU) to lay the pipeline, the estimated cost of which hovers around $7 billion (roughly the same as rival TurkStream’s construction cost). Yet behind the brave facade, it is still very early to talk about EastMed as a viable and profitable project as it faces an uphill battle with traditionally difficult Levantine geopolitics, as well as field geology.

The EastMed gas pipeline is expected to start some 170 kilometers off the southern coast of Cyprus and reach Otranto on the Puglian coast of Italy via the island of Crete and the Greek mainland. Since most of its subsea section is projected to be laid at depths of 3-3.5 kilometer, in case it is built it would become the deepest subsea gas pipeline, most probably the longest, too, with an estimated length of 1900km. The countries involved proceed from the premise that the pipeline’s throughput capacity would be 20 BCM per year (706 BCf), although previous estimates were within the 12-16 BCm per year interval. According to Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli Energy Minister, the stakeholders would need a year to iron out all the remaining administrative issues and 4-5 years to build the pipeline, meaning it could come onstream not before 2025.

The idea of EastMed was first flaunted around 2009-2010 as the first more or less substantial gas discovery in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Tamar gas field in Israel’s offshore zone, paved the way for speculations about an impending gas boom. Then came the 535 BCm (18.9 TCf) Leviathan in 2010 and the 850 BCm (30 TCf) Zohr discovery in offshore Egypt five years later and suddenly it seemed that an Eastern Mediterranean gas expansion is inevitable. Yet over the years, the operators of Leviathan have already allocated part of their total gas volumes to domestic power generating companies and most notably NEPCO, the Jordanian electric power company (1.6-2BCm per year). Egypt has been concentrating on meeting domestic needs and getting rid of LNG imports, moreover once it bounces back to gas exporter status in 2019, it will only use its own 2 LNG terminals in Damietta and Idku.

Thus, a pertinent question arises – whose gas would be used to fill the EastMed pipeline? If the pipeline starts in offshore Cyprus, then it would be logical to expect that Cyprus’ gas bounty would be somehow utilized. Yet Cyprus has been lagging behind Egypt and Israel in its offshore endeavors and so far lacks a clear-cut giant field to base its supply future on. The two discoveries appraised heretofore, the 6-8 TCf Calypso operated by ENI and the 4.5 TCf Aphrodite operated by Noble Energy, are not enough to support the construction of a relatively expensive gas pipeline – all the more so as Noble has signed a provisional deal to send Aphrodite gas to Egypt’s Idku LNG terminal, most likely by means of a subsea gas pipeline. If we are to judge the viability of the EastMed on the current situation, there is only Calypso and Israel to fill the pipeline, as Greece’s gas export plans are close to zero on the probability scale.

The subsea section from Cyprus’ offshore zone to the island of Crete lies in depths of 3km and is stretched across a seismically active zone. But there is even more – should Turkey claim rights on Cyprus’ offshore hydrocarbon deposits (in February 2018 it sent warships to scare away ENI’s drilling rig that was on its way to xxx), the project is all but dead. This is far from an implausible scenario as President Erdogan stated that Turkey would never allow for the extortion of natural resources in the East Mediterranean by means of excluding Ankara and Northern Cyprus. Cognizant of the risks inherent in an East Mediterranean gas pipeline, there has been no interest from oil and gas majors to participate in the project. This is worrying as the $7 billion are expected to be financed from private investors, of which there is a palpable dearth – despite the EU’s 35 million funding to promote what it sees as a Project of Common Interest.

Yet even for the European Union, the EastMed gas pipeline presents a bit of a headache as its commissioning would render the Southern Gas Corridor, comprising so far only of Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) with a 10 BCm per year throughput capacity, irrelevant by creating a sort-of competitor. The price of the natural gas to be supplied via the EastMed pipeline might become the biggest obstacle of them all – if the cost of producing offshore Mediterranean gas turns out to be $4-5/MMBtu as expected, the addition of further transportation costs to it all would place EastMed supplied at the bottom range of European gas supply options (Russian gas supply is alleged to be profitable with price levels as low as $4/MMbtu). All this might change if any of the East Mediterranean countries were to discover a giant gas field, altering the economics of production or possibly even liquefaction.

In fact, 2019 will witness several key wells being drilled across Cyprus, Egypt and possibly even Israel. ExxonMobil’s testing of Block 10 in offshore Cyprus would largely point to the overall attractiveness of Cyprus as an oil and gas producing country – the drilling has already started, with results expected in Q1 2019. The ENI-operated Noor offshore field in Egypt, adjacent to Zohr, is a much hotter prospect with BP buying into it lately – most likely it will outshine all the other drilling sites in the Eastern Mediterranean, however, if a big discovery is confirmed, it would be most likely used for Egyptian purposes which run counter to the EastMed gas pipeline. Thus, EastMed’s only hope is that Israel 2nd international licensing round, results to be announced in July 2019, will elicit a couple of Leviathan-like finds that would make pipeline construction profitable. Until then, the prospects are rather bleak.

By Viktor Katona for Oilprice.com

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Turkey’s Threats against Greece

Erdogan believes that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered.

The Duran

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Authored by Debalina Ghoshal via The Gatestne Institute:


  • The one issue on which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his opposition are in “complete agreement” is the “conviction that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered.”
  • “So strong is this determination that the leaders of both parties have openly threatened to invade the Aegean.” – Uzay Bulut, Turkish journalist.
  • Ankara’s ongoing challenges to Greek land and sea sovereignty are additional reasons to keep it from enjoying full acceptance in Europe and the rest of the West.

In April 2017, Turkish European Affairs Minister Omer Celik claimed in an interview that the Greek Aegean island of Agathonisi (pictured) was Turkish territory. (Image source: Hans-Heinrich Hoffmann/Wikimedia Commons)

Turkey’s “persistent policy of violating international law and breaching international rules and regulations” was called out in a November 14 letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres by Polly Ioannou, the deputy permanent representative of Cyprus to the UN.

Reproving Ankara for its repeated violations of Cypriot airspace and territorial waters, Ioannou wrote of Turkey’s policy:

“[it] is a constant threat to international peace and security, has a negative impact on regional stability, jeopardises the safety of international civil aviation, creates difficulties for air traffic over Cyprus and prevents the creation of an enabling environment in which to conduct the Cyprus peace process.”

The letter followed reports in August about Turkish violations of Greek airspace over the northeastern, central and southeastern parts of the Aegean Sea, and four instances of Turkey violating aviation norms by infringing on the Athens Flight Information Region (AFIR). Similar reports emerged in June of Turkey violating Greek AFIR by conducting unauthorized flights over the southern Aegean islets of Mavra, Levitha, Kinaros and Agathonisi.

In April 2017, Turkish European Affairs Minister Omer Celik claimed in an interview that Agathonisi was Turkish territory. A day earlier, a different Turkish minister announced that Turkey “would not allow Greece to establish a status of ‘fait accompli’ in the ‘disputed’ regions in the Aegean Sea.” In December 2017, Greek Deputy Minister of Shipping Nektarios Santonirios reportedly “presented a plan to populate a number of uninhabited eastern Aegean islands to deter Turkish claims to the land.”

According to a recent statement from Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

“Greek-Turkish disputes over the Aegean continental shelf date back to November 1973, when the Turkish Government Gazette published a decision to grant the Turkish national petroleum company permits to conduct research in the Greek continental shelf west of Greek islands in the Eastern Aegean.

“Since then, the repeated Turkish attempts to violate Greece’s sovereign rights on the continental shelf have become a serious source of friction in the two countries’ bilateral relations, even bringing them close to war (1974, 1976, 1987).”

This friction has only increased with the authoritarian rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, particularly since, as Uzay Bulut notes:

There is one issue on which Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), are in complete agreement: The conviction that the Greek islands are occupied Turkish territory and must be reconquered. So strong is this determination that the leaders of both parties have openly threatened to invade the Aegean.

The only conflict on this issue between the two parties is in competing to prove which is more powerful and patriotic, and which possesses the courage to carry out the threat against Greece. While the CHP is accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP party of enabling Greece to occupy Turkish lands, the AKP is attacking the CHP, Turkey’s founding party, for allowing Greece to take the islands through the 1924 Treaty of Lausanne, the 1932 Turkish-Italian Agreements, and the 1947 Paris Treaty, which recognized the islands of the Aegean as Greek territory.

This has been Turkish policy despite the fact that both Greece and Turkey have been members of NATO since 1952. Greece became a member of the European Union in 1981 — a status that Turkey has spent decades failing to achieve, mainly due to its human-rights violations.

Recently, EU and Turkish officials met in Brussels on November 30 to discuss an intelligence-sharing agreement between the European Police Service (Europol) and Ankara. Such an agreement is reportedly one of 72 requirements that Ankara would have to meet in order to receive visa-free travel to the Schengen zone.

Ankara’s ongoing challenges to Greek land and sea sovereignty are additional reasons to keep it from enjoying full acceptance in Europe and the rest of the West.

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

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Paranoid Turkey Claims “Greece, Israel, & Egypt Are Part Of Khashoggi’s Murder Plot”

A new Turkish narrative has been launched claiming that Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of the murder plot of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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Via Zerohedge


As we noted previouslythe conflict over gas in the eastern Mediterranean is intensifying.

The dispute concerns gas blocks, with Turkey furious about the energy cooperation of these Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt in the East Mediterranean Sea. While Turkish warships have been active, it appears Turkey is taking a new approach to this hybrid war.

As KeepTalkingGreece.com reports,a new Turkish narrative, based on paranoia and conspiracy theories, has been launched claiming that Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of the murder plot of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggipresumably in an effort to garner global opinion against their energy-hording neighbors.

This unbelievable allegation has been claimed by Erdogan’s close aide Yigit Bulut, who is famous for his delirium and ravings, during an appearance on state television of Turkey.

“Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of murder plot involving slain Saudi Arabia journalist Khashoggi in Istanbul,” Yigit Bulut said in TRT Television, where he is a frequent guest.

Enlisting the ‘good old traditional perception’ that Turkey is surrounded by enemies, KeepTalkingGreece notesthat Bulut said:

“a belt extending from Europe to Israel has always harbored hostility towards Turkey they never wanted Turks in this region. Europe even made Turks to fight unnecessary wars against Russia.”

It is worth noting that Russia and Turkey have come closer recently due to Syria, a cooperation sealed with armament sales to Ankara triggering the anger of US and the NATO of which Turkey is a member.

Bulut vowed that Turkey will continue oil and gas exploration in the East Mediterranean off-shore Cyprus.

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