Options and directions

Capturing, Processing Information, Integration

 Enterprise Content Management technology is a recent development in Information technology market that came as follow up of the ERP explosion that took place a few years ago.

Avery implementation of an ECM solution will most certainly generate significant benefits to any part of an organization.

Management has come to realize only some of its benefits and advantages.

The problem arises when different priorities are imposed, either from market conditions or changes in technology as well as internal company needs.

Management need first to fully understand the use and benefits that may come from the adoption of ECM strategy so that it can fully exploit its potential and then take decisions on how and in which areas it can be applied.

This article is written to simplify some attributes, so that management can obtain a closer understanding and analyze the basic constitutes of this strategy.

ECM technology consists of three main parts:

  1. Capturing Information both from incoming external and internal documents that are produced from IT applications  such as  ERP etc
  2. Processing and distributing information to all participants in work flow processes
  3. Integration with existing IT infrastructure systems.

Capturing Information

Data entry.jpg

This is the part that mainly replaces data entry manual effort that usually relates to ERP operations.

This is an area which is easily understood by management, but it is also an area which constitutes only a small part of the operational cost of the total operational cost in an organization.

Computers have developed intelligent characteristics that have risen expectations for future significant improvements in automatically reading digitized documents to a degree that can even understand hand written notes or adopt voice recognition technologies.

But we have not reached there yet, for such systems to become fully reliable.

Implementations are happening but the cases have to be specific while most of them prove to be comparably very expensive.

On the other side, business practices are changing capitalizing on widely applied technologies that allows   the production of electronic documents which are rapidly replacing hard copy documents, so that the requirement for digitization and automatic reading is eliminated.

For example we experience increase of electronic invoicing and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) which totally eliminates the need for automatic reading of documents.

So it is questionable if one needs to invest on expensive capturing technology that will become redundant in the next few years.

Processing of Information.

processes-1.jpg

This is the area where ECM investment can be proved to be more cost effective.

Here we observe a paperless environment to be created in parallel with the introduction of automatic work flow processes allowing participants to intercommunicate, accessing information, faster.

This will help to improve daily activities, achieving, better control, faster decision making, continuous monitoring of operations, automatic filling and retrieval, data protection and security, elimination of errors, and finally, independence from existing IT infrastructure, etc.

Avoiding data entry is an easily calculated savings number. According to international statistical reports, this saving consist about 6% of the total operational cost in an organization.

It appears that the investment required to eliminate data entry cost with current technological tools is too high.

On the other hand it is important to stress that ROI results have proved to be impressive due to savings and benefits achieved from, fast and better decision making processes, continuous real time monitoring of operational activities, data integrity and security, immediate access to information from one central depository that incorporates all information otherwise scattered in different systems included in the company’s infrastructure.

Finally, how can anyone evaluate additional non tangible benefits, such as process simplification with lean management applied in operational workflows, as well as identification of operational redundancies and bottlenecks that this technology helps to eliminate?

This is where major improvements have been achieved.

So in conclusion, any decision for an ECM implementation needs to be the result of a careful study that will identify the areas investments should take place.

Integration  

The final part of an ECM implementation project that needs to be considered is the capability of an ECM platform to intercommunicate with any existing IT infrastructure to avoid process duplication, to allow data interchange and interoperability but most of all to ensure independence of the central ECM information repository and workflow designs to remain when any IT infrastructure is to be replaced.

A big advantage of an ECM system is to retain its centralized data repository for a long period even after changes of the rest of IT infrastructure.

NK

greciya-vs-turciya_6.jpg

The second part of a review on historical events that lead to conflicts between Greece and Turkey over Aegean Sea, the Aegean island and Cyprus in an effort to provide a point of view that could be considered as neutral as possible considering that I am Greek and both sides of my family came to Greece as refugees after the defeat of the Greek army during 1922.

 In part I of this article I tried to cover the period from the fall of Constantinople during 1453 to the Greek upraise against the Ottoman Empire during 1821.

In the first part I referred, mainly to the way Ottoman administration treated its subjects, mainly of Christian religion. The oppressive ways reached to extreme situations in the Greek mainland and Crete where heavy taxes were imposed and the practice of “grabbing” Christian children, which was probably the worst wound for Hellenism, since these children were going to become “janissaries”, the most well trained part of the Turkish army, usually confronting Greek populations and revolutionaries.

In the second part of this article I want to concentrate on events following 1821 fight for Greek independence, the Balkan wars, the defeat of the Greek army following the invasion of Asia Minor, the fate of Greek population that suffered terrible atrocities, mass killings and deportation of 1.5m people from their homes, up to contemporary periods when conflicts still prevail over Cyprus the Aegean sea and the Islands.

 

The influence of Renaissance and the French revolution.

renaisense.jpg

Before I proceed with a description of the actual events over this period I think it will be a mistake if I don’t, mention the influence that Renaissance had on Greeks living under Turkish rule around 400 years, during medieval times, as well as the effect that the French revolution had in the European states which inevitably influenced Greece and other national movements in the Balkans.

It would have been very difficult for Greece to regain its national identity just as a reaction to Ottoman oppression, even suffering cruelty, if it was not for the freedom Greek Tradesmen acquired with the help of Greek ship-owners, who managed to grow in the Aegean Islands.

From the 17th century Greeks from the islands, Asia Minor even as far as Caucasus, the Black sea and the rest of the Balkans developed a strong commercial power that, in turn, produced a generation of scholars who benefited by the cultural explosion  that was taking place in the rest of Europe. It would have been a very strange development if the West, which was finding its way out of the dark medieval period, rediscovering classical Greece, to leave untouched this generation of Greeks. Hence the explosion of the just anger from the Ottoman oppression came to meet the cultural revolution of the generation of Greek tradesmen and scholars who grew, either within Ottoman Empire or in “Diaspora”. This coincidence generated the spirit for independence, which started from Greece but, very quickly, spread over the rest of the Balkans.

Conflict of cultures

islamic clash.jpg

The fact is that Greece happened to be in the middle of a wider “clash” of cultures, between East and West, which include religious aspects, other issues involving national and imperialistic aspirations from every side, commercial and political interests all of which, inevitably, involve Greece.

Every such involvement had both positive and negative side effects.

Every military conflict between West and Turkey was creating an expectation for the Greek independence. As consequence, every conflict between Turkey and West was followed by Turkish retaliations with real “blood baths” for innocent as well as revolting Greeks. The Turkish response to these accusations for retaliations that were disproportional expose the Turkish cruel way of thinking, so they say: What do you expect?   

There were several uprisings, not only in Peloponnese but also in Macedonia and in many other areas, including many of the islands such as Chios Island, Crete etc.  The massacre in Chios Island inspired the French painter Delacroix who helped to make the Turkish atrocities well known all over Europe creating a lot of sympathy for the Greek cause.

An early Greek uprising took place after the Battle of Lepando (between Venetians and Turks), as early as (October 7th, 1571) that ended in massacres of the Greek population,

This was repeated many times i.e., during the Russian war with Turkey (Orlof Brothers and Crimean wars).

Hence Turkey cannot claim that Greeks lived as happy subjects of Ottoman Empire, or even that they did not maintain their national identity.

Yet, there is a question that is still bothering me, why Turks still maintain such animosity with Greece even today?  There were many European nations that managed to overcome national conflicts that caused many battles, even two World Wars. What is so special, unsurpassed with the problem between Greece and Turkey?

I believe that Turkey never overcame the shock of their defeat during the Balkan Wars, especially from Greece. This led to serious national hate and consequently to extermination of all Christian population from Asia Minor, following the defeat of the Greek army after the invasion. An invasion which was encouraged by Great Britain and other western powers, allies during the First World War 

But even this Turkish victory during 1922 did not seem to satisfy the Turkish side, this may be an additional reason why Turkey currently adopts a revisionary approach. Turks are still nostalgic of the greatness of their past and feel betrayed, pushed in the corner against West.

Greece, for Turkey, is, once more, the instrument of West. Even if Greece was supportive for Turkish entry to European Union, Turkey still retains aspirations in Aegean, the islands, Cyprus, east Mediterranean and may be even West Thrace.

Turkey cannot forget their outdated practices on minority rights and comes in conflict with other European standards regarding civil and other human rights hitting back with actions that damage the heart of Christian Orthodoxy, otherwise why they have closed the High School for Orthodox Clergy in the island of Chalki that deprives the Ecumenical Patriarch of succession in the existing ecclesiastic hierarchy? This attitude in no way complies with European or even international standards for freedom of religion in the civilized world.      

But, let’s go back to the events covering the period from 1821 to current situation that seriously threatens new conflicts, even the braking out of a new full scale war between our countries. .

Aegean Sea and the islands according to international treaties

 

Islands.jpg

I will start, this time, from an analysis on Aegean Sea and the Turkish claims on the sovereignty of certain islands, what Turkey is bringing up as “gray areas”.

International community is confused with this situation especially when they hear Tayip Erdogan to proclaim:  “Turkey is bigger than…. Turkey, we cannot be restricted within the existing 720.000 square km. Turkey’s frontiers are within the physical and other “Frontiers of our heart”

This, together with many revisionary statements of Tayip Erdogan, have created serious concern to Greece and others, about Turkey’s long term intentions.

International treaties regarding National Frontiers are final and are valid indefinitely, because they are set and signed after considerable sacrifices and blood.

So, to clarify the issue, it is important to note and make reference to specific articles of such treaties which are fundamental and cannot be changed at each one’s will.

First, Lausanne treaty, signed during 1923, was the original treaty that defined frontiers between Greece and Turkey. The treaty gave to Turkey East Thrace, the area around Smyrna and the islands, Imvros and Tenedos. In the same treaty, Turkey agreed for Cyprus to be given to UK and the group of Dodecanese islands to be given to Italy.

Details about the Aegean islands were described specifically in articles 6,12,14,16 of the treaty

Article 6 defines the Turkish Sea frontiers specifying that all islands within a 3 miles limit from the Asia Minor coasts will belong to Turkey.

Article 12 refers to all major islands of North Aegean by name, quoting also the treaty of London dated 13th/17th of May 1913 as well as the treaty of Athens 1st/14th of November 1913, in which the two islands of Imvros and Temedos as well as the group of Lagouson islands (Mavrion Taysan Adas) are excluded and will belong to Turkey, together with all islands that lay within the 3 miles limit, no other names of islands are mentioned.

In spite of this, Turkey is occupying a number of islands outside the 3 miles limit ‘defacto’, which according to the Turkish way of thinking could be claimed as ‘gray’ areas by Greece.  This argument could be used against Turkey in many such cases, even for islands within the Sea of Marmara. This, of course, would sound ridiculous. Even so, Turkey is applying the same argument for the Greek islands, which similarly sounds ridiculous.

It would be inconceivable to assume the possibility to different phrasing could have been used, more over that status of sovereignty in the Aegean would be left ambiguous, leaving open even the slight possibility for future claims on smaller islets situated among the larger islands of Aegean archipelago. Any such idea would indeed be counter to the declared fundamentals principles of Kemal’s policies.

This basic hypothesis was confirmed by the unimpeded implementation of Italian sovereignty, after the signing of the Treaty of in the Dodecanese maritime zone, Ankara never raised the slightest objection when the Italian government determined the boundaries of its sovereignty through legislative acts and internationally recognized military maps, or when after years of ‘on –the-spot’ , detailed work, it mapped the Dodecanese  to its eastern limits exercising its rights within all political and administrative bodies. But even more evidence exists in a form of agreements between Turkey and Italy that I will not bother you for the sake of detail which extends over the objective of this article.

 

In conclusion:

  1. Article14 Specifically mentions details about the rights of Greek inhabitants on the islands of Imvros and Tenedos that passed to Turkish sovereignty. These rights were violated and never respected.
  2. Article 15 specifically mentions that Turkey abandons any right for the islands of Dodecanese that were then occupied by Italy including the island of Castelorizo and all smaller islands dependent from the major named ones.
  3. Article 16 specifically mentions that Turkey is abandoning any rights on all islands laying beyond the 3 miles limit mentioned, except for the ones mentioned in this treaty.
  4. In addition to the Treaty of Lausanne there are other treaties such as the Treaty between Turkey and Italy of January 1932 including the minutes (PROCESS-VERBAL) of December 1932 that clarifies and reconfirms the ownership of all islands of Dodecanese including Imia (Kardak) to Italy.
  5. Finally with the signing of the peace treaty of Paris 1947 Greece becomes the full successor, from Italy, as the sole owner of all Dodecanese.
  6. The Turkish argument that there were special conditions due to pre Second World War conditions were rejected from the Vienna Treaty of 1969.

I don’t want to go to a deeper analysis of all details in support of this, not even the Turkish claim   for the so called violation of these agreements regarding the defense of these islands, with the provision of defense equipment, because it is evident that Turkey, since 1970, has made obvious that is challenging the sovereignty of these islands, hence Greece has all rights to defend same.

Challenging the sovereignty opens a series of issues regarding territorial waters, FIR, the right of the islands to have territorial waters, reticle delimitations, economic zone etc. The problem cannot be resolved unless claims for sovereignty will be cleared, so international law can be applied or even negotiated. Turkey is claiming that Greece wants to make Aegean a closed lake and deprive Turkey of rights to access open sea. This is definitely an excuse because there are always amicable ways to solve such issues. Yet amicable ways is not a traditional way that Turkey has been resolving international issues.

At some stage I lost interest to provide further legal evidence or make further research of all International law and consider other consequences, since, in every step of the analysis, when every time a conclusion is reached, with negative results for the Turkish point of view, I was confronted with the same argument, “Turkey does not respect international law, neither Hague international jury, neither UN or EU, since all such organizations are controlled by major western  powers, mainly using Greece as an instrument to promote their interests.”

So what is the point of any further discussion on this line of thought?

I believe none, for as far as sovereignty of the islands, Greece would only negotiate reticle delimitations.

Hence I will proceed to other areas, some of which are of historical interest, and some of National importance that are still unresolved.    .

The Cyprus issue

Cyprus.jpg

Once again Cyprus became an issue of conflict and ground for propaganda among involved parties, especially to provide excuses for the deportation of the last remaining group of Greeks of Istanbul.

Greek Cypriots revolted against British colonialist who betrayed their promise given to them during the Second World War when Churchill was encouraging Greek Cypriots, who were fighting with UK against Germans by saying to Greek Cypriots: “Fight for Union of Cyprus with Greece” ! Let us not forget that Greece payed a heavy penalty for remaining loyal to its allies fighting against both Italy and Germany during the Second World War, 350.000 losses of human lives.

Following the defeat of Germany, UK forgot these promises and the fight for union with Greece started during the fifties. The Turkish minority did not like the eventuality of Cyprus uniting with Greece, hence animosity developed among Greeks and Turks who were, till then, living a quiet life under the British colonial rule. The Turkish minority, at that time, did not exceed 18% of the total population of the island.

Cyprus gained its independence (Convention of Zurich) after many years of fighting against the British. During this period the relationships between Greeks and Turks grew bitter.

Independence was eventually granted under three guaranteeing powers UK, Greece and Turkey.

Unfortunately, internal fighting started n not between Greeks and Turks but between Greek Nationalists and Greek Cypriot supporters of the constitution of an independent Cyprus and its President Archbishop Makarios, it is important to note that in spite the internal fighting not any atrocities took place against the local Turkish Cypriots, in fact when US mediated with Attkison plan for Union with Greece of the whole island, the Cypriot Turks did not raise serious objections. The real problem started when Nick Samson tried to overthrow Makarios,   during the period of the Greek Dictatorship. Even then the conflict was among Greeks not against Turks

This gave the perfect excuse to Turkey to intervene by invading Cyprus as a guarantor power, under the pretense of atrocities happening against Turkish Cypriots.

This invasion went as far as the Turkish army to occupy almost half of Cyprus confiscating all Greek lands and property, an action that was condemned by United Nations three times.

In addition to losses of property there were significant losses of civilian lives including prisoners of war that were never returned or accounted for. Mass graves were also found.

A line dividing the island was created and maintained under UN troop’s protection.

UN had recognized Cyprus as a legitimate member state of UN while the North part remained under Turkish occupation with the presence of Turkish troops.

Turkey tried to change the demographics of the island by importing inhabitants from the Turkish mainland.

Since then repeated efforts by UN to unite the island have failed, effectively partitioning Cyprus.

The situation is now further complicated because Turkey does not want to recognize South Cyprus as an independent country although the country is, by now, a member of UN and EU.

I wonder how anyone can negotiate with a country that disrespects, UN, EU and International law, stating that these international organizations are non-credible because they are controlled by western powers that will use Greece and Cyprus as instruments to promote their interests and destroy Turkey. I don’t believe this is the long term intention West of West, on the contrary I believe that west values the geopolitical  position of Turkey against the Russian effort to expand its influence in South Balkans and East Mediterranean Sea.

So, it appears we need to establish new terms of reference and rules as a basis for negotiation with Turkey. How could we do that?  It is a matter of common sense to recognize that Turkey intends to take advantage of its geopolitical position and   impose its own interests by negotiations and force, if needed. So Greece has no option but defend its own position by joining alliances to counter balance Turkey’s military superiority.

Especially for Cyprus where Turkey is using Turkish Cypriot minority to control territorial waters as well as reticle delimitations, economic zone etc.

Turkey keeps arguing that mainland countries with long coastal lines have more rights to reticle delimitations, and economic zone than islands. Turkey does not want to obey by international laws and regulations regarding islands.  They don’t reply what are the rights of these islands, especially when these islands are independent countries or consist a major part of a country.

It is obvious that Turkey is using the Turkish minority in Cyprus, to defend not so much the rights of this minority but the rights of Turkey itself. This will not work, the Turkish minority will get an equal share of the rights and benefits in proportion to their population ratio in Cyprus. But the decision will not involve Turkey which will have nothing to share.

Bringing arguments of deported Turkish populations in the past, or Greek animosities against the Turkish Cypriots will not work as an excuse to blare the issue. It is a childish pretense.

Greek and Turkish Cypriots are both victims and up against bigger interests. We will never get to the bottom of this.

But whatever we can say about the history the proof of the way Turks think and behave becomes evident under recent statements of Turkish politicians («Bahchelli) who proclaim as follows:

«Why are Greeks bothered? Because our maps show Cyprus as a Turkish territory. I will ask these fools and bumps what we would do, how would we show it? I state and stress: Cyprus is Turkish. It is a Turkish homeland and Turkish will remain, «Bahchelli said according to yenisafak press and continued:

 

«The Greek government, which plays games in the Aegean islands, should learn its limits and not forget what her ancestors did when they were thrown into the sea. The same will happen again. Thank God, the will to make the Aegean a tomb of the Greek’ desires, is still alive. And it will continue to be. «

What a proper basis for honest negotiations!! There is nothing more I can say. If that is the level of Turkish politicians who inspire hate by passing misleading histories to Turkish people, I can predict a period of disasters for both our Nations.

Turkish point of view is also expressed by Mr Sukan Gukaynak a Turkish person living in Germany today.
“For me the feeling is not Greece saying I will now expand. They say that and that has belonged to me since antiquity, the Turks should end their occupation.

Take Cyprus, this is by treaty no sovereign state. Greeks say they are the majority and it belongs to them, Turks should go.

I once told a gentleman from the official German think tank Science and politics that the EU membership of Cyprus is against valid treaties. He said, yes but treaties are only valid as long as the balance of power holds.

So the West thinks Turkey is weak and they can take her assets ignoring treaties. The only way to show them the balance of power holds is by using military force. Business and cooperation is good. We had that before 1912. It did not prevent the Greek invasion of Macedonia which at that point had only a Greek minority. They claimed they were liberating what had always been theirs.”

What can I say as reply?

The whole argument lacks any real foundation.

Cypriot Greeks are not saying that Turkish Cypriots will have to go. How can anyone quote such a statement? Cypriots Greeks are saying that Turks are a minority in Cyprus and should coexist in Cyprus under European equal rights. Nobody wants the Cypriot Turks to disappear from the island.

What the German thinker said about treaties is wrong

Treaties are to be respected.

But using force under the pretention of protecting Turkish minority is not a legal activity that can be respected even under the treaty of Zurich that has three guarantying powers, not just Turkey.

There are many ways to protect minorities.

Finally Turkey invaded Cyprus under pretenses to control the island by changing its population ratio. The long term intentions are exposed now, as Turkey is trying to protect their own interests against Cyprus using the Turkish minority as their own instrument.

Whatever one can say for the past positive or negative the fact is that Cyprus is a UN and EU member recognized by the international community. There is no better way to protect minorities than EU and UN any other protection would require the agreement of the three guarantying powers not just a single member that naturally will exercise its own rights to promote one sided  interests. This is common sense. Nobody can deny the right of one country to be independent. The Maximum that Turkey can do is to detach the northern part and totally divide Cyprus, an act that will deprive Turkish Cypriots of their right to be member of EU.

Regarding the argument of Greeks invading Macedonia brings back the issue of reviving the old Turkish aspiration of reviving the Ottoman Empire. Fights for independence of many nations have taken place in the Balkans and Central Europe that established a new status that cannot change by reviewing treaties.

The new Turkish nation was established on the basis of these treaties after serious loss of lives and sacrifices from many sides, nobody in his rights senses wants to bring back this period.

As for the issue of majorities versus minorities we can argue endlessly region by region, town by town and the argument will never be conclusive, especially for Macedonia and Thrace there are conflicting data  i.e The 1904 Ottoman census of Hilmi Pasha shows Christian populations to be higher than  Muslim   with a majority of Greeks compared to other nationalities 648,962 Greeks by church, 307,000 identified as Greek speakers, while about 250,000 as Slavic speakers and 99,000 as Vlachs

But I don’t raise this issue as a most credible one because even today Turkey does not allow researchers to access details of numbers of populations in order to hide genocidal activities that had been taking place in many areas.

The Ottoman archives are undergoing a purging campaign to destroy all incriminating evidence relating to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23, say scholars. According to one source, the evidence—at one time or another—indicated that what transpired in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire was purely and simply a “slaughter

The Macedonian Issue

Macedonia.jpg

Will we accept the deliverance of Macedonia?

A while ago, an Athens newspaper, with its headline, wrote that a European Prime Minister urged us to accept to deliverance of Macedonia to these thieves, as a tradeoff for a six months delay in implementing the reduction of the pensions due at the beginning of 2019

The Greek poet, Oskar winner, Seferis writes in his way:

«We were told that you will win when you submit.

We have subsided and found the ashes.

They told us you will win when you abandon-sacrifice your life.

We sacrificed our lives and we found ashes ….

It remains to revive back to life, now that we have nothing more «.

The Macedonian issue has been a matter of significant concern over the last 27 years, even more, following the attack raged by the Americans against the communist state of Yugoslavia.

As a result Yugoslavia broke up into various states, each one seeking for their ethnic origin which was suppressed under the dominance of Serbs that Tito, a great Croatian politician, managed to keep together as a single multi ethnic state which maintained one of the strongest armies in the Balkans considered to be a strong but independent ally of the Soviet union.

Hence, many new states immerged and old religious and ethnic minority issues, which existed since the Ottoman times reappeared among Turkish Muslims, Orthodox and Catholic Christians, Slavs, Albanians, Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, Vlachs, Jews, Croatians, Pomaks, Romani etc.

Tito gave the name Macedonia to the Southern district of Yugoslavia with the support of Soviet Union because, since the period of the Second World War, the Communists with national identity either Bulgarians or Slavs or Albanians or Yugoslavs were looking at Greek Macedonia as an obstacle to access Aegean Sea.

The fact is that the geographic area of Macedonia was split among three countries, Greece, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.

Unfortunately, after the defeat of the Greek Communists, during the Greek civil war, a lot of Greek Communists fled to Yugoslavia and Bulgaria where they were mixed with local Greek minorities that existed there scattered in many towns and nationalities, which gave them refuge.

Even today there are around 400.000 Greeks living around Skopia. The Communists during 1949, recognized the part of Southern Yugoslavia as Macedonia to satisfy their Communist allies. This was later denounced (1956) even by the Greek Communist Party, to eliminate the accusation of traitors.

So the real question that has been raised for the layman is who are the Macedonians? I remember distinctively an American lady, head of the American Mission in the area, saying to me in Skopia: Who could imagine that a small country like this created an empire so great like the Empire created by Alexander the Macedonian?

I couldn’t find words to express my disappointment about the ignorance of this Head of American Mission. I was aware of the lack of international and specifically European history knowledge that Americans were famous for, but this was over and above the limit anybody could contemplate.

So the question raises stronger and sounds less rhetorical, if we are phased with such ignorance.  Who are the Macedonians? Are they a nation or a region in North Greece? If they are a nation then what are the Greek Macedonians? Who are the Slavo-Macedonians, who are the Albanian-Macedonians? Who are the Bulgarian Macedonians? Who are the Turkish Macedonians? Why all these people claim Greek Macedonia? Why don’t they call themselves North Macedonians, and they insist to call themselves simply Macedonians?  What is hidden under this identity issue?

Are they Slavs who lived for centuries in the district of South Yugoslavia that was destroyed by the Americans, or the Albanians who have strong Albanian National identity, or the Bulgarians who still maintain a third part of the wider geographical area within Bulgarian territory or Greeks who lived there as subjects of the Ottomans and managed to gain their independence fighting against the Ottomans, or may be Turks who were living there during the Ottomans?

Are the national and cultural roots, the historical roots, the language and the traditions of any importance? Are the results of conflicts, and wars between countries of any importance? All these questions very recently unfolded and had to be answered. So it is important to examine the Macedonian issue in its wider perspective.

As this article is being written there has been a first step for an agreement, between FYROM, the so called Macedonia and Greece that the new name will be North Macedonia inserting a note that this country has no relation or link to Ancient Greek Macedonia, never the less it provides that there is a Macedonian Nationality and citizenship as well as a Macedonian language that leaves Greek Macedonians strongly objecting this development.

This agreement has to be ratified by a referendum in North Macedonia as well as to be voted in the Greek Parliament, where there seems to be strong opposition, in spite the international consensus from the international community, EU and NATO for obvious reasons, they have nothing to lose. Has there been a hidden agreement under which Greece is getting some rewards in view of its weak financial situation? This would consist a major violation of the Greek constitution, if ever can be proved.

Macedonian roots

Alexander.jpg

Alexander’s the Great letter to Darius III:

“Your ancestors invaded Macedonia and the rest of Greece and harmed us though we had done nothing to provoke them. Me as the supreme commander of all Greeks as i have been appointed, i invaded Asia with the aim of punishing the Persians for this act, an act which must be laid wholly to your charge.”

Another statement from Alexander:

I said to them:

“Men of Athens, I give you this message in trust as a secret which you must reveal to no one but Pausanias, or else you will be responsible for my undoing. In truth I would not tell it to you if I did not care so much for all Hellas. Because as always I am a Hellene by ancient descent, and I would not be willingly to see Hellas change her freedom for slavery.

Herodotus, Histories. Greek historian – 440 BC.

http://www.greek-language.gr/digitalResources/ancient_greek/library/browse.html?text_id=30&page=222

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=93&v=ziJJBsZTt4Y

Slavs and other Ethnicities, the myth of indigenous people.

Slavs,  as they did not exist  in the area  before the 6th  century AD , they tried to relate Illyrians with ancient Macedonia, that is why they  invented a myth proclaiming that Macedonians were not Greeks but were  Illyrians who invaded the area and extinguished the indigenous people integrating  the rest.

So the story insists that this is the way the Slavs inherited the culture and are the successors of the culture and the influence of the great empire of the Hellenistic period of Alexander the Great.

This approach, of bringing the myth of indigenous people, is very often used by Turkish propaganda to dilute or minimize the influence of Greeks in the greater area in the Balkans and Asia Minor. Especially for Asia Minor Turks have gone as far to confuse tourist by introducing nonexistent indigenous civilizations to replace all Greek evidence of existence, influence and languages. I quote here my personal experience, I have heard of a Turkish guide to say about the statue of Attalus, in a Turkish museum, that the inscription under the status was written in Attalian language!

Next argument that Turkey is proclaiming is that the majority of inhabitants in Macedonia were Muslims Turks who were exterminated or forced to depart during the fight for independence that was concluded during and after the Balkan wars.

The 1904 Ottoman census of Hilmi Pasha people were assigned to ethnicity according which church/language they belonged, it recorded 373,227 Greeks in the vilayet of Thessaloniki,   261,283 Greeks in the vilayet of Monastir (Vitola) and 13,452 Greeks in the villayet of Kosovo.

For the 1904 census of the 648,962 Greeks by church, 307,000 identified as Greek speakers, while about 250,000 as Slavic speakers and 99,000 as Vlachs

Hugh Poulton, in his Who Are the Macedonians, notes that «assessing population figures is problematic» for the territory of Greek Macedonia before its incorporation into the Greek state in 1913. The area’s remaining population was principally composed of Ottoman Turks (including non-Turkish Muslims of mainly Bulgarian and Greek Macedonian convert origin) and also a sizeable community of mainly Sephardic Jews  (centered in Thessaloniki), and smaller numbers of Romani Albanians and Vlachs

But even these reports are not fully presenting what has really happened during the Ottoman period.

Most of the Greeks of Macedonia had been linguistically converted to Slavonic speaking since the Middle Ages. However, they continued to retain the Greek (Romaic) identity of the Eastern Roman State (Byzantines) and denied that they were Bulgarians. Besides, «Bulgarian» did not mean a national identity but was synonymous with farmers. The Romaic’ Slavonic speech was started after the schism of the so-called Bulgarian Exarchy (1870), which was supported by the Ottoman Empire in cooperation with Tsarist Russia to stop the expansion of Hellenism to the Danube. At the same time, panslavism had a plan to maculate Macedonia to give Russians exit to Mediterranean sea.

Whichever line one decides to adopt, the fact is that Greek Macedonia was liberated by Greeks who sacrificed their lifes fighting Ottomans and Bulgarians. The result was ratified by international treaties hence preserving a continuation path between Greek Macedonia and Ancient Greek Macedonia.

During the first half of the twentieth century, major demographic shifts took place, which resulted in the region’s population becoming overwhelmingly ethnic Greek. In 1919, after Greek victory in World War I, Bulgaria and Greece signed the Treaty of Neuilly, which called for an exchange of populations between the two countries. According to the treaty, Bulgaria was considered to be the parent state of all ethnic Slavs living in Greece. Most ethnic Greeks from Bulgaria were resettled in Greek Macedonia; most Slavs were resettled in Bulgaria but a number remained, most of them by changing or adapting their surnames and declaring themselves to be Greek so as to be exempt from the exchange.[ In 1923 Greece and Turkey  signed the Treaty of Lausanne in the aftermath of the ‘Greco –Turkish War’ 1919-1922 , and in total 776,000 Greek refugees from Turkey  (674,000), Bulgaria  (33,000), Russia (61,000), Serbia (5,000), Albania (3,000) were resettled in the region.

They replaced between 300,000 and 400,000 Macedonian Turks and other Muslims (of Albanian, Roma, Slavic and Vlach ethnicity) who were sent to Turkey under similar terms.

Year Greeks Bulgarians Muslims Others Total
1913 ] 42.6%
(513,000)
9.9%
(119,000)
39.4%
(475,000)
8.1%
(98,000)
1,205,000

After the Treaty of Neuilly-sur Seine  ten thousands of Bulgarians left and after the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey almost all Muslims left the region, while hundreds of thousands of Greek refugees settled in the region, thus changing the demography of the province.

Year Greeks Bulgarians Muslims Others Total
1926 League of nations data 88.8%
(1,341,000)
5.1%
(77,000)
0.1%
(2,000)
6.0%
(91,000)
1,511,000

The 1928 Greek Census collected data on the religion as well as on the language.

Year Christians Jews Muslims Total
1928 Greek Census data
Religion
95.51%
(1,349,063)
4.28%
(60,484)
0.21%
(2,930)
1,412,477

 

Year GREEK Slavic dialect Turkish Latino Aromanian Armenian Other Total
1928 Greek Census data
Language
82.52%
(1,165,553)
5.72%
(80,789)
5.09%
(71,960)
4.19
(59,146)
0.95%
(13,475)
0.84%
(11,859)
0.69%
(9,695)
1,412,477

The population was badly affected by the Second World War through starvation, executions, massacres and deportations.

Central Macedonia, including Thessaloniki, was occupied by the Germans, and in the east Nazi-aligned Bulgarian occupation forces persecuted the local Greek population and settled Bulgarian colonists in their occupation zone in eastern Macedonia and western Thrace, deporting all Jews from the region. Total civilian deaths in Macedonia are estimated at over 400,000, including up to 55,000 Greek Jews. Further heavy fighting affected the region during the Greek Civil War   which drove many inhabitants of rural Macedonia to emigrate to the towns and cities, or abroad, during the late 1940s and 1950s.

Current agreement between Greece and “North Macedonia” makes no reference to 400.000 Greek inhabitants still remaining in this country.

Turkey has tried to capitalize on the conflict between Greece and “North Macedonia” encouraging the people of this country to claim the status of Macedonian ethnicity just to add another problem to Greece’s North frontiers, as well as to reduce Greek commercial and cultural investments in west Balkans.

 The history of Pontos

Attrocities.jpg

The Turkish point of view regarding the area of Pontus is that Greeks in Pontus were a minority which tried to establish a Greek independent state within an area where there existed a Turkish Muslim majority.

This article, is written to question whether the above statement, can justify the national cleansing that took place during the period from year 1914 to 1922.

The fact is that the Pontians, after 1461, experienced persecutions and attempts for Islamization and extortion. The decision to exterminate the Greeks (and Armenians) was taken by the New Turks in 1911, was implemented during the First World War and was completed by Mustafa Kemal in the period 1919-1923

In December 1916, Emver and Talaat, leaders of the Young Turks, designed a plan of extinction of the Pontians, «the immediate extinction of men of cities from 16 to 60 years and the general exile of all the men and women of the villages in the inland of the East with slaughter and extermination program «. Turkey’s defeat by the Entente forces brought a temporary postponement of the plan to exterminate the Greeks.
During this period atrocities were so harsh that even the Russian communists who were, at the time, supportive towards Turkey, made allegations of Turkish barbarities to Kemal Ataturk who responded:

«I know these barbarities. I am against barbarism. I have given orders to treat the Greek prisoners in a good way … You must understand our people. They are furious. Who should be accused of this? Those who want to establish a «Pontian state» in Turkey”

This is an indication of what was really taking place.

Every where we were looking corpses.jpg

AMERICANS AND SOVIETS WERE SAYING «EVERYWHERE WE WERE SEEING CORPSES»

The genocide of the Greeks in the Pontus was the result of the decision of the Turkish nationalists to resolve the national problem of the Ottoman Empire with the natural extermination of indigenous ethnicities. The normal future of this Empire had been bluntly described by Rosa Luxemburg: «Turkey cannot be born again as a whole because it consists of different countries. No material interest, no common development that could link them had been created! On the contrary, the oppression and the misery of joint submission to the Turkish state are becoming ever greater! This created a natural tendency for the various ethnicities to detach themselves from the whole and to seek through an autonomous existence the way for a better social development. The historic crisis for Turkey had come out: it was going to break up”.

This was the conception that West had at the time for the Ottoman Empire

Of course the situation is different today, so any reference to the past is just for historic reasons, to learn from history to resolve current problems, if possible.

The Black Book of the Pontian Central Council mentions on the genocide the following: «The massacred and in any case exterminated Greeks of the Pontus from 1914 to 1922 amount to the following numbers»: Amasia Region: 134.078, Rodopoli District: 17.479, Chaldeia Region – Kerasounta: 64,582, Neokesareia Region: 27,216, Region. Trebizond: 38,435, Cologne: 21,448: Total: 303,238 people ».

Until the spring of 1924 the Pontians’ martyrdom included another 50,000 victims, the total number of Pontians who were assassinated by March 1924 was 353,000, more than 50% of the total population of the Pontians.

The Pontian genocide forced to abandon their homes and relocate in Greece, the USSR (there were persecuted by the Stalinist regime of the interwar period) period, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere (Australia, USA).

From 1100 BC until 1923 AD, Hellenism of the Pontus was one of the most important parts of the nation. The economic recovery of Pontian Hellenism has been matched by the demographic rise.     In 1865 the Greeks of Pontus were 265,000 people     In 1880 the Greeks of the Pontus were 330,000.     Pontic Hellenism at the beginning of the 20th century numbered 600,000 people, according to estimates by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ottoman authorities.     At the same time in southern Russia, in the Caucasus region, there lived about 150,000 Pontians who had moved there after the fall of Trebizond.     The main cities of Pontus were Trebizond, Kerasounta, Tripolis, Kotyora, Amisos (Samsonta), Sinope, Nikopoli, Argyroupoli and Amassia.     The area was divided into the following 6 metropolises: 1. Trebizond. 2. Rodopoli. 3. Cologne. 4. Chaldia – Kerasounta. 5. Neocaesareia and 6. Amaseia while there were 376 schools, 386 teachers and 23,600 students. Throughout the region 1,047 schools with 1,247 teachers and 75,953 pupils attended. There were also 1,131 temples, 22 monasteries, 1,647 chapels and 1,459 clergy.

Finally, for anybody who wants to learn the real history of this branch of Hellenism can access a very conclusive study in the following link:

http://pontos-genoktonia.gr/sites/default/files/books_text/pontos_justice_and_honor_to_memory.pdf

«We were told that you will win when you submit.

We have subsided and found the ashes.

They told us you will win when you abandon-sacrifice your life.

We sacrificed our lives and we found ashes ….

It remains to revive back to life, now that we have nothing more «.

Seferis Nobel winner, Greek from Asia Minor

http://www.nickkouzos.com

γηρατεια.jpg

Αλήθεια, γιατί τρομάζεις παλιέ μου φίλε;

Μήπως ξέχασες και δεν αναπολείς;

Βαρέθηκες να ψαχουλεύεις και να ταξινομείς τις παλιές ξεθωριασμένες  σου φωτογραφίες;

Έπαψες πια να αναγνωρίζεις το σώμα σου, και κάποιον άλλο σου θυμίζει το πρόσωπό σου στον καθρέπτη;

Μήπως τα ιδανικά σου και αυτά ξεθώριασαν και η αμφιβολίες  φωλιάζουν μέσα σου;

Ονειρεύεσαι ακόμα; Τότε μην φοβάσαι, δεν γέρασες.

ΟΝΕΙΡΑ.jpg

Πόσα και δεν εγγράφτηκαν για την ζωή, τον έρωτα, την πατρίδα, την θρησκεία, την αγάπη, την απώλεια, την τέχνη, την φιλοδοξία, την επιτυχία, την χαρά, και τόσα ανθρώπινα συναισθήματα που αποτελούν, τα περισσότερα, γεύσεις  ζωής.

Και αν με ρωτήσετε πιο είναι το νόημα της ζωής ακόμα δεν γνώρισα.

Ίσως αυτό να είναι και το μεγαλύτερο ερώτημα για πολλούς ανθρώπους.

Ζήσαμε και πολλοί από εμάς, ίσως να κάνουμε τον απολογισμό, άλλοι με θετικό και άλλοι με αρνητικό πρόσημο, έχω την εντύπωση όμως ότι οι γραμμές του ισολογισμού αυτού λιγοστεύουν όσο περνούν τα χρόνια και με έκπληξη συνειδητοποιείς ότι τα κεφάλαια είναι πολύ λίγα και οι γραμμές μέσα σ’ αυτά είναι αχνές σαν τις παλιές φωτογραφίες.

Τα κεφάλαια είναι αυτά που σου δίνουν την δύναμη να ζήσεις αλλά οι γραμμές είναι αχνές και σου θυμίζουν τις επιλογές που έκανες σωστές και λανθασμένες.

Πολλοί στερήθηκαν για να ζήσουν αλλά δεν πρόλαβαν και άλλοι ονειρεύτηκαν και δεν έζησαν. Υπάρχουν όμως και λίγοι τυχεροί που πρόλαβαν να ζήσουν τα όνειρα τους, γι’ αυτούς τους τους λίγους τυχερούς οι γραμμές δεν έχουν εντελώς χαθεί και ζουν το όνειρό τους.

iΙΣΟΛΟΓΙΣΜΟΙ.jpg

 

OFFICIAL LIMITS DECLAIRED IN MEDITARANEAN SEA.JPG

An attempt to analyse the total environment and events that have raised hostile activity between  Turkey and Greece the last years specially during the war n Syria.

INTRODUCTION

It is a generally accepted, that every country is justified to protect its own interests.

This statement is widely used because it sounds just and credible.

For example, it is used by USA regarding Israel’s right to defend its country against rockets and bombs launched from Palestinians, killing innocent Israelis, but is also used by Palestinians who claim their right to defend their land.

So, this generic statement needs to be used carefully taking into consideration how the right of each country can be perceived by the international community which implies, that such statement should receive some international recognition. The same is true for international agreements and treaties.

International agreements for the determination of maritime boundaries includes bilateral agreements for EEZ which is a way define limits for economic exploitation of the sea and “sea beds”.

For this reason, an international set of rules has been devised and agreed my most countries. This set of rules constitutes the international law for the sea which provides that all islands have their own EEZ that can reach 200miles in open sea.

The law has been signed by 132 countries under UN supervision during the eighties.

This agreement has not been signed by a small number of countries, yet this is binding under International law.

The law exists and if a mutual agreement between two countries cannot be reached then the countries may, if they both agree, to resolve the issue in an international court of justice. UN is not an organization to implement or enforce the law.

For the history, President Reagan declared USA EEZ, in agreement with Cuba and Bahamas, based on “equal distances”, hence, USA did not enclose these islands within the 200 miles of EEZ limit, as Turkey is trying to do in Cyprus and the Greek islands.

EEZ FOR USA 2.JPG

If Turkey were to implement EEZ the way they propose, Turkey would end up having boarders with Italy and Libya totally disregarding Greece, while at the same time would to destroy plans for Eastern Mediterranean pipeline that  will be an alternative route to supply Europe that will not be depending on Turkey and Russia.

The four countries that did not vote International law, in April 1982, were, USA, Israel, Venezuela and Turkey.

The reason why USA did not vote, despite the fact they had already implemented EEZ in agreement with Cuba and Bahamas, was that the law provides that all resources outside defined EEZ, in the open sea,  are common property, inheritance for all  the world to be shared by all, while USA insisted on the principle, “first found first served”.

Israel, on the other hand, had no objection on the law but refused to sign when Palestine was included, not overlooking the fact that, subsequently, Israel declared its own EZZ, disregarding everybody else.

Venezuela objected because, similarly with Turkey, had too many foreign Islands Infront of its mainland. Yet Venezuela, eventually, accepted the fact and gave up half of its originally  claimed EEZ, it did not follow what Turkey is trying to do, demanding the extension of its own EEZ depriving part of EEZ from to the Islands which will be encircled by Turkey with unpredictable consequences.

Turkey behaves like China, while US is maintaining double standards. It accuses China for violating EEZ in China Sea, in five cases and it does nothing in the case of Turkey, which is doing the same with Greece and Cyprus.

USA is keeping double standards, because Turkey has important geopolitical value within NATO and Middle East in spite Turkey’s complaints for the opposite.

Greece cannot defend itself against Turkish demands with no support from, at least, one major power.

Hence, Turkey is using its geopolitical position and size to gain as much as possible.

THE GEOPOLITICAL GAME THAT TURKEY IS PLAYING IN TWO FRONTS.

Turkey is playing its geopolitical power game in two fronts, in Middle East which is a matter of survival for Turkey, due mainly to Kurdistan which, if created, will present major risk for Turkey and secondly in Aegean and Mediterranean Sea.

For the first case, Kurdistan has remained an unresolved issue since the First World War.

Kurdistan consist a real threat for Turkey which is trying to become the leader within the Islamic world. Unfortunately, Turkey has not managed to properly integrate the Kurds residing within Turkey, hence the creation of Kurdistan will certainly provoke a real uprising from major Kurdish populations in East Turkey.

The second front which presents a problem for Turkey is Greece and Cyprus which stand as an obstacle for the re visionary plans of Turkey which dreams to play a major international role establishing a new Ottoman Empire expanding its influence in the Balkans and Mediterranean Sea, including North Africa. Such plans inevitably come in conflict with Europe, USA, Egypt , Greece and Israel as far as their interests  for Energy resources and other Geopolitical opportunities.

The awakening plans for Turkey started during 1973, when the Greek Junta of Colonels announced the discovery of oil in Thasos Island in North Aegean Sea overselling the story that this discovery will bring millions of oil barrels to Greece.

Thasos.jpg

Since 1973, Turkey started its activity with air violations over Greek Islands questioning the sovereignty of some of the Greek islands, attempting to establish gray zones in Aegean, as well as questioning the rights of the islands to have their own EEZ including Crete, Rhodes and Kastelorizo Island complex.

air violations.jpg

 

 

THE SYRIAN FRONT

A peaceful uprising against the president of Syria almost ten years ago turned into a full-scale civil war. The conflict has left more than 360,000 people dead, devastated cities and refugees drawn in other countries. As well as causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, the war has left 1.5 million people with permanent disabilities, including 86,000 who have lost limbs.

the syrian victims.jpg

At least 6.2 million Syrians are internally displaced, while another 5.7 million have fled abroad.

In March 2011, pro-democracy demonstrations erupted in the southern city of Deraa, inspired by the «Arab Spring» in neighboring countries.

democratic revolt in March 2011.jpg

This led to a general uprising of Syrian rebels against the Syrian authoritarian administration. This gave the opportunity to Kurdish population within Syria to join Syrian opposition to government. At the same time extreme Islamic terrorist formed the state of ISIS which became the target for USA

When the government used deadly force to crush the dissent, protests demanding the president’s resignation civil uprising erupted nationwide.

escallation.jpg

The violence rapidly escalated and the country descended into civil war

The government’s key supporters have been Russia and Iran, while Turkey, Western powers and several Gulf Arab states have backed the opposition.

Russia – which already had military bases in Syria – launched an air campaign in support of Assad in 2015 that has been crucial in turning the tide of the war in the government’s favor.

Rusian INVOLVEMENT.png

The Russian military says its strikes only target «terrorists» but activists say they regularly kill mainstream rebels and civilians.

Hundreds of people were killed in August 2013 after rockets filled with the nerve agent sarin were fired at several suburbs of Damascus. Western powers said it could only have been carried out by Syria’s government, but the government blamed rebel forces.

Facing the prospect of US military intervention, President Assad agreed to the complete removal and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

Iran is believed to have deployed hundreds of troops and spent billions of dollars to help Assad.

Thousands of Shia Muslim militiamen armed, trained, and financed by Iran – mostly from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, but also Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen – have also fought alongside the Syrian army.

The armed rebellion has evolved significantly since its inception. Secular moderates are now outnumbered by Islamist and jihadists, whose brutal tactics have caused global outrage.

So-called Islamic State has capitalised on the chaos and taken control of large swathes of Syria and Iraq, where it proclaimed the creation of a «caliphate» in June 2014. Its many foreign fighters are involved in a «war within a war» in Syria, battling rebels and rival jihadists from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, as well as government and Kurdish forces.

In September 2014, a US-led coalition launched air strikes inside Syria in an effort to «degrade and ultimately destroy» IS. But the coalition has avoided attacks that might benefit Mr Assad’s forces. Russia began an air campaign targeting «terrorists» in Syria a year later, but opposition activists say its strikes have mostly killed Western-backed rebels and civilians.

In the political arena, opposition groups are also deeply divided, with rival alliances battling for supremacy. The most prominent is the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, backed by several Western and Gulf Arab states. However, the exile group has little influence on the ground in Syria and its primacy is rejected by many opponents of Mr Assad.

The US, UK and France initially provided support for what they considered «moderate» rebel groups. But they have prioritized non-lethal assistance since jihadists became the dominant force in the armed opposition.

 

A US-led global coalition has also carried out air strikes on ISIS militants in Syria since 2014 and helped an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) capture territory once held by the jihadists in the east.

USA  BOMBINGS.png

 

The alliance supported by US had appeared to be in a strong position until December 2018, when President Donald Trump unexpectedly ordered US troops to start withdrawing from Syria with the territorial defeat of ISIS imminent.

The decision suddenly left the SDF exposed to the threat of an assault by Turkey, which has said it wants to create a «security zone» on the Syrian side of the border to prevent attacks by Kurdish fighters.

The Kurdish population of Syria is that country’s largest ethnic minority, comprising between 7% and 10% of the country’s population according to most sources.

KURDS.jpg

USA has not totally withdrawn keeping an eye on oil resources that they can still control.

Kurdish leaders have urged the Syrian government and Russia to send forces to shield the border and begun talks about the future of their autonomous region. So basically, US gave the Kurds who fought against ISIS back to the Russians and Assad in order to avoid a fight with Turkey.

The 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, code-named Operation Peace Spring by the Turkish Army, was a cross-border military operation conducted by the Turkish military against the SDF and the Syrian Arab Army  (SAA) in Northern Syria.

According to the Turkish President  the operation is intended to expel SDF—viewed as a terrorist organization by Turkey due to its ties with the  (PKK), but considered an ally against ISIS  by US and its allies from the border region, as well as to create a 30 km-deep «safe zone» in Northern Syria where some of the 3.6 million Syrian Refugees in Turkey would resettle.

THE TURKISH ZONE IN SYRIA 2.JPG

As the proposed settlement zone is heavily Kurdish demographically, this intention has been criticized as an attempt to force drastic demographic change, a criticism denied by Turkey by saying that it only intended to «correct» the demographics that Turkish officials stated were changed by the SDF. Many are very suspicious of what the Turks call ‘»correction to demographics» Greeks have significant experience by corrected demographics in Cyprus.

The Turkish operation received mixed responses by the international community    Including condemnations since it was obvious that the Turkish strategy had as main objective the Kurds.

One wonders why Turkey prefers to create a “security zone» on the Syrian side in an area inhabited by Kurds and not in the area that ISIS has been present.

It is obvious, Turkey is aiming to exterminate the Kurdish population while at the same time relocate Syrian war refugees that will be under Turkish control and secure funding from Europe and possibly USA.

 While originally acknowledging Turkey’s «right to defend itself», on 15 October, Russia hardened its position against the operation and deployed troops.

Ten European nations and Canada imposed an arms embargo on Turkey, while the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkish ministries and senior government officials in response to the offensive in Syria.

Likewise, Trump’s sudden pullout of US forces in Syria was also criticized by journalists as a «serious betrayal to the Kurds» as well as a «catastrophic blow to US credibility as an ally and Washington’s standing on the world stage», one journalist stating that «this is one of the worst US foreign policy disasters since the Iraq war  On 19 November, the Defense Department inspector general released a report finding that the American withdrawal and subsequent Turkish incursion allowed ISIS to «reconstitute capabilities and resources within Syria and strengthen its ability to plan attacks abroad».

Turkish position with ISIS has also been questioned.

On August 25, 2015, the Turkish newspaper Bugün ran a front-page story, illustrated with video stills, about what it said was the transfer, under the observation of Turkish border guards, of weapon and explosives from Turkey to ISIS through the Akcakale border post. Bugün reported that such transfers were occurring daily and had been going on for two months. In response, a couple of days later offices of Koza İpek Media Group, the owner of the newspaper, were raided by Turkish police.

In October 2015, control of Koza İpek Media Group was seized by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office which then appointed new managers with links to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and in July 2016 Bugün was closed down on the orders of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Certainly, a strange story.

.

Saudi Arabia, which is keen to counter Iranian influence, has armed and financed the rebels, as has the kingdom’s Gulf rival, Qatar.

 

Israel, meanwhile, has been so concerned by what it calls Iran’s «military entrenchment» in Syria and shipments of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah that it has conducted hundreds of air strikes.

 

By February 2019, some 13 million people were estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance, including 5.2 million in acute need.

Latest figures end of 2018

significant increase has taken place in Greece since that time

Turkey 3.644.342

Lebanon 948,849

Jordan 671.551

Iraq 252.451

Germany 593,025

Egypt 133,028

Hungary 78,245

Austria 55,550

Greece 61,365 (100,000 by Feb 2020)

Sweden 120,855

SPREAD OF SYRIAN REFUGIES AS OF 2018.png

 

The Syrian Civil War is arguably the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, with over a quarter million killed, roughly the same number wounded or missing, and half of Syria’s 22 million population displaced from their homes. But more than that, Syria today is the largest battlefield and generator of Sunni-Shia sectarianism the world has ever seen, with deep implications for the future boundaries of the Middle East and the spread of terrorism.

The government has regained control of Syria’s biggest cities. but large parts of the country are still held by opposition armed groups and the Kurdish-led SDF.

In September 2018, Russia and Turkey brokered a truce to avert an offensive by pro-government forces that the UN had warned would cause a «bloodbath».

Rebels were required to pull their heavy weapons out of a demilitarized zone running along the front line, and jihadists were told to withdraw from it altogether.

In January 2019, the truce deal was put in jeopardy when a jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, expelled some rebel factions from Idlib and forced others to surrender and recognize a «civil administration» it backed.

The SDF currently controls almost all territory east of the River Euphrates

 

THE CONFLICT BETWEEN TURKEY AND GREECE IN AEGEAN AND MEDITERRANEAN SEA.

The main reasons for the conflict

Even recently, under the failure of Turkey to implement its threats to Europe and Greece that it will sent millions of refugees and illegal immigrants to Greece, in a passage to Europe, Mr Erdogan threatens that he will act to stop any effort from anybody playing games in Mediterranean sea to violate Turkey’s interests under international law. He also referred to the EEZ agreement Turkey made with Libya that that totally neglects International law for the Sea

I really wonder what Mr. Erdogan means when he mentions International law since this is the law that Turkey refused to sign and continuously is violating in Greece and Cyprus.

As previously mentioned, the serious conflict between Turkey and Greece originates from 1973 when the Greek Junta of Colonels announced findings of millions of barrels of oil, close to the island of Thasos in North Aegean Sea. This awakened Turkey’s appetite.

This fired claims on limits regarding territorial waters, EEZ, air and sovereign rights on several islands, mostly uninhabited.

The main agreement between Turkey and Greece is based on the Treaty of Lausanne which specifies that all islands in Aegean Sea belong to Greece Except two, Imbros and Tenedos that belong to Turkey.

TENEDOS.JPG

 

In fact, the treaty mentions that Turkey does not have the ownership of islands outside the limit of three miles from the coast of Turkey.

Turkey’s argument is that the treaty does not include, in the attached list, all islands by name, this would have been impossible since the number of islands exceeds 2.500 and the rest of the terms of the treaty does not leave any doubt about the ownership.

The second point of conflict is that several islands have been given to Greece by Italy, after the Second World War, which was done under different contractual terms conditions and refer to different maps.

In addition, the International law for the Sea was signed during April 1983, much later than the date of signing of the Treaty of Lausanne.

THE TURKISH CLAIMES IN EAST MEDITARANEAN SEA.JPG

Turkish claims in Aegean sea and Mediterranean excluding more recent claims erom the recent Libyan agreement neither the current violations in Cyprus EEZ

Greece has refrained from extending its territorial waters from 6 to 12 miles, as it has the right to do, due to Turkey’s threat of “casus Belli” and since, USA has insisted to Greece to refrain for declaring its own EEZ with Cyprus and Egypt, till a solution is found with Turkey. This may never happen but underlines the interest of USA and NATO over all to keep Turkey within the western alliance.

The situation in Cyprus is even worst since Turkey is violating Cyprus EEZ where agreements have already been made with international oil companies for the exploitation of oil and gas resources. Turkey totally disregards the validity of any agreement since, it does not recognize Cyprus as an independent state, in spite the fact that Cyprus is a member of UN and EU.

EEZ FOR CYPRUS.JPG

Cyprus EEZ

THE TRIANGLE OF SHAME.JPG

The EEZ of Cyprus with Oil companies that have signed agreements with  Cyprus

Both USA and EU have applied sanctions against Turkey for such violations and there is a certainty that these sanctions will be extended.

I display here under an extract of a warning letter addressed to Turkey, issued by EU:

EN
E-004439/2019
Answer given by Ms Simson
on behalf of the European Commission
(25.4.2020)
In response to Turkey’s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted on 11 November 2019 a framework for restrictive measures that makes it possible to apply a travel ban and asset freeze to individuals or entities responsible for or involved in drilling activities in relation to hydrocarbon exploration and production not authorized by Cyprus in its territorial sea or in its exclusive economic zone or on its continental shelf.
On 12 December 2019, the European Council stated that the Turkey-Libya Memorandum of Understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states.

The Turkish point of view

Having presented the facts as we have experienced, from the International point of view I have always tried to see the situation from the Turkish point of you which, I, must admit, find it difficult to understand and come to some conclusions.

THE TURKISH VIEW.JPG

Every body is a Turk

Whenever I suggest that this conflict needs to   be resolved in an amicable manner, I am faced with a brick wall on any arguments for a solution.

Why Turkey does not want to resolve EEZ conflict by agreeing to go to the international court in Hague?

May be, because China went to Hague, over similar issues and lost, may be, because Turkey has not signed the International law for the sea, may be, because Turkey does not believe that Hague is a truly independent organization, but is fully controlled by West which intends to destroy Turkey under a long standing survival battle among Christian and Muslim countries.

These are fundamental reasons for the conflict that Greece cannot contemplate because it is already part of the international community that is acting under the rules of International law, especially as a member of UN and EU. While Turkey appears to be a re visionary power that believes it is the victim of a conspiracy of western nations which is fighting to exterminate Islam worldwide. Turkey is consistently forgetting that it has been in alliance with these nations in NATO for quite a few years.

But even if one needs to think, outside the International law and its organizations, Greece is an “island country” that even if it didn’t have its mainland part, it will still exist. What this would mean, that Turkey could wipe out the entire nation?

Would that mean that Turkey could encircle every island with its mainland EEZ depriving island’s right for existence? Because EEZ defines other rights, in addition to “sea bed” resources, that include energy, fishing, defense etc.

EEZ FOR TURKEY.JPG

The Turkish EEZ in Aegean and Black Sea

EEZ FOR TURKEY IN MEDITERANEAN SEA.JPG

Turkish EEZ in Mediterranean Sea.

Does Turkey intend to acquire frontiers with Italy eliminating Greece from the map?

GIANNIS MANIAKIS MAP.JPG

The map presented from 2011 regarding EEZ limits for Ionian sea and Mediterranean 

If one looks at the map one may appreciate why Turkey fills suffocated encircled by Greek islands. But this does not give Turkey the right to wipe out an island country and its population. Islands exist and according to international law, have their own frontiers and EEZ.

kastelorizo.jpg

Turkish attempt to brake the Greek EEZ at Kastelorizo island complex. This will also brake the contraction of East Mediterranean pipeline. This will  also effect the EEZ of Crete Rhodes and the rest of the islands of Dodecanese.

 

EAST MED PIPELINE.jpg

This is the project supported by EU, Greece Italy, Cyprus, Israel , Egypt ad USA to provide an alternative route to supply oil and gas to central Europe. Turkey is invited to participate instead of blocking it. This could provide an alternative solution to the total Greek and Turkish conflict.

 

Does Turkey intend to acquire frontiers with Italy eliminating Greece from the map?

 As another European example, France has a large EEZ not because of its mainland but due to its islands in remote locations.

Finally, the Treaties include a term for the disarmament of the islands, a term that Greece violated since 1938. This according to Turkey consists a serious breach of the agreement.

This is understood, but Greece would be willing to proceed with disarmament if Turkey stops acting in violation of International law and other aggressive actions, such as air and sea frontier violation including encouragement of refugees and Illegal immigrant to enter Greece ranging attacks against Land and sea boarders, with the active participation of Turkish military forces.

So how can we work out a solution, avoiding a war which will inevitably lead to distraction?

Ironically, as long as Turkey keeps stating that firmly intends to defend its own interests under International law and accuses Greece of violating such law, there is hope, it seems that, eventually, Turkey will accept the resolution of such conflicts by going to Hague.

Turkey and Greece would probably have to come to a compromise if they both agree to accept a decision of International court of Hague.  Both Greece and Turkey need to prepare their people for such eventuality.

The most probable area of compromise is Kastellorizo island complex EEZ where EEZ will have to be shared. This probability will be possible on the assumption that there will be a solution on Cyprus and the Turkey will accept to be a part of the effort to join Europe in the construction of East Mediterranean pipeline and abandon the idea of having an EEZ with Libya. No Greek politician dare make such compromise unless this is a court decision.

This decision will make all parties including Europe, USA and Turkey real allies in Eastern Mediterranean.

 

The Cyprus EEZ

Another, equally important issue is the stagnation of Cyprus situation.

There, Turkey is bluntly violating sovereign rights of a country member of UN and EU, by entering internationally recognized EEZ rights by drill for energy resources. Turkey does not recognize Cyprus as an independent state, because, as it claims, has violated the treaty of Zurich.

Turkey insists that Cyprus and Greece violated their agreement and Cyprus has not any more the status of a country to be part of UN or EU, Turkey is acting as a guarantor under the Zurich agreement.

Turkey overlooks the violation of the treaty that took place by invading Cyprus, under false pretenses, as guarantor.

Turkey, in that matter, disregards three UN resolutions against Turkey for the invasions that led to occupation of half of the island, the occupied territory has not been internationally recognized as autonomous state.

UN has condemned Turkey for two invasions that exceeded its obligation as guarantor since it acted totally on its own with no agreement from the other two guarantor members neither ensured consent from UN.

The situation, now, is to negotiate an agreement that will either accept the creation of an independent confederation of two communities to reunite Cyprus or to split the country in two.

No need to go to details to understand the situation.

The major issue for Turkish Cypriots is to accept that they are a minority, but they can have all minority rights under EU law that fully recognizes equal human and civil rights.

In more details such an agreement will guarantee equal rights in all forms of administration, rights for property, for business, civil service, employment, sharing resources, participation in government, equal opportunities in employment and dharing benefits. The only think they will not have, as a minority, is the right to veto because this is the reason why the previous agreement did not work. We want to exclude a situation where Turkish Cypriots will act as agent of Turkish interests in the island, since we have seen that this will totally nullify any activity in the country.

Failure to accept this solution, North Cyprus (the occupied part of Cyprus) can become either an independent state or become part of Turkey if Turkish Cypriots so wish. What they cannot do is, for Turkey continue to dictate, one way or other, its instructions to Cyprus

I do not see any problem with this type of resolution of the Cyprus problem.

Yet, once more, Turkey is freezing the processes for any agreement keeping Cyprus a hostage with the intention to deprive the island of the status of an independent state.

Turkey has made its move, by its decision to invade the island.

Turkey cannot hold Cyprus as a hostage indefinitely, just to grab the Cypriot EEZ that Cyprus has, as a fully recognized independent country. Even Turkish Cypriots do not like this.

The use of refugees as a weapon by Turkey.

Erdogan is bringing one additional weapon in the conflict to pursue the promotion of Turkey’s interests in both fronts, in Middle East, by the invading Syria and secondly in Aegean Sea with Greece.

The weapon is the use of Syrian refugees and immigrants from other areas who, for many reasons, are trying to infiltrate to Europe.

As mentioned above, Turkey has accumulated a significant number of refugees for which service negotiated financial support from Europe, to maintain such refugees in camps within Turkey.

Nobody objects the right for Turkey to receive financial support for this service to the world, as well as nobody, especially, the parties involved in this dirty civil war, in Syria, to contribute towards this just request.  But Turkey is trying to capitalize on the situation in an opportunistic way.

Turkey exerts pressure to Europe for funds, threatening to release millions of refugees towards Europe, attacking the Greek frontiers to Turkey in land and sea. Everybody understands, by now, how much more dangerous is this, the period of coronavirus.

In this way, Turkey is exerting pressure to Greece to support the Turkish invasion in Syria with main objective to create and populate a «security zone», with Syrian refugees, relocating Kurdish populations away from Turkish borders. The ultimate plan to stop the creation of Kurdistan. This is the activity Turkey calls “right to defend its interests”.

 

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

In view of European failure to accept Turkey as a full member in EU, Turkey feels that must find its way to different future.

This ignited re visionary ideas to reconsider the possibility to survive as a new version of Ottoman empire, hence the big idea of Blue homeland, the leader of Muslims around the world, the Father country to protect its Muslim brothers.

This does not work very well with the western word hence Europe and USA started pulling further away from Turkey.

Mistrust grew between Turkey and international institutions considered to be instruments of West and from a trusted ally became an unpredictable country.

The conviction in Turkey that West is a club of Christian countries intending to brake Turkey in three parts and exterminate Muslim populations around the world are bringing back memories from medieval times.

The optimistic idea, within West, that Turkey can bridge the cultural gap between East and West is disappearing.

Greece and Cyprus are thought to be instruments of West, real enemies for Turkey, obstacles for the Turkish “Megalo Idea” a mistake that Greece has made in the beginning of the 20th century, but Greece has payed dearly for that mistake which was made by certain politicians and the change of interests after the October communist revolution and the shifting of interests in Europe.

At the same time there is lack of true leadership all around including Turkey, Europe and USA.

No good will flourish with Turkey supporting authoritarian regimes not abiding by human and civil rights as well as democracy. It is not Religion that separates people these days it is interests that create the conflicts and interest can be negotiated under international law that can also help as a compromising platform. This is the root of the problem and the road to avoid wars.

Also, the West needs to forget its colonial and imperialistic past.

This will create the environment to compromise, not with more “Big ideas” from USA or China, Russia, Turkey or Europe.

No more atomic power plans no more the right of the stronger or religious or political fundamentalism no more the right of one man, no more nationalism.

 

Eros_bow_Musei_Capitolini_MC410.jpg

Όταν οι καταρράκτες, τα ποτάμια και οι χείμαρροι γλιστρούν ανάμεσα  από τα σφικτά αγκαλιασμένα δάκτυλα των χεριών ενός ζευγαριού που βαδίζουν χέρι-χέρι, τότε αναγνωρίζεις την ύπαρξή του.

Όταν ένας δροσερός άνεμος χαϊδεύει το σώμα σου, μέσα στην λαύρα του καλοκαιριού, τότε αναγνωρίζεις την ύπαρξή του.

Όταν τα ροδοπέταλα της άνοιξης γίνονται λουτρό για να ξαποστάσεις, τότε αναγνωρίζεις την ύπαρξή του.

Όταν αυτός ο μυθικός θεός, υιος της Αφροδήτης και του Αρη, που με το τόξο του στοχεύει και το βέλος του εισβάλει τόσο γλυκά και απρόσμενα μέσα στο κάστρο της ύπαρξή σου, προσπερνώντας τις άμυνες σου, τότε είναι αργά.

ΝΚ

Αργοπεθαίνει (Muere lentamente)  – Martha Madeiros

«Αργοπεθαίνει όποιος γίνεται σκλάβος της συνήθειας, επαναλαμβάνοντας κάθε μέρα τις ίδιες διαδρομές,

όποιος δεν αλλάζει το βήμα του,

όποιος δεν ρισκάρει να αλλάξει χρώμα στα ρούχα του,

όποιος δεν μιλάει σε όποιον δεν γνωρίζει.

Αργοπεθαίνει όποιος έχει την τηλεόραση για μέντορα του

Αργοπεθαίνει όποιος αποφεύγει ένα πάθος,

όποιος προτιμά το μαύρο αντί του άσπρου και τα διαλυτικά σημεία στο “ι” αντί τη δίνη της συγκίνησης

αυτήν ακριβώς που δίνει την λάμψη στα μάτια,

που μετατρέπει ένα χασμουρητό σε χαμόγελο,

που κάνει την καρδιά να κτυπά στα λάθη και στα συναισθήματα.

Οι συνθήκες που βιώνουμε τη περίοδο εξάπλωσης του κορωνιού  είναι πρωτόγνωρες  που μας υποχρεώνουμε να βιώνουμε τον πόνο του περιορισμού, της αρρώστιας, της στέρησης της κοινωνικότητας της επικοινωνίας, αλλά ακόμα περισσότερο τον φόβο του αγνώστου και της ανασφάλειας, ακόμα και του θανάτου, ανεξάρτητα από την οικονομική κατάσταση που βρίσκεται ο κάθε ένας από εμάς.

Το χειρότερο από όλα αυτά φαίνεται να είναι ο φόβος του αγνώστου και η ανασφάλεια για το μέλλον.

Σαν πρώτη αντίδραση της όποιας δημόσιας εξουσίας αποτελεί η επίκληση προς το κοινό να υπακούσει στις εντολές και οδηγίες για την διαφύλαξη της δημόσιας υγείας μαζί με την εξαγγελία μέτρων για την ανακούφιση των επιχειρήσεων και του ανθρώπινου δυναμικού.

Όμως  τα πάντα είναι προσωρινά τονίζοντας το άγνωστο των επιπτώσεων όσον αφορά την συμπεριφορά του κορωνοιού και της οικονομίας.

Οι θυσίες λοιπόν που είναι επιβεβλημένες δεν μπορούν να οροθετηθούν και αυτό τις κάνει και περισσότερο δυσβάσταχτες και δυσεφάρμοστες.

Πάντως, όσο περνά ο χρόνος, γίνεται και περισσότερο αντιληπτό και συνειδητοποιείται  ότι οι επιπτώσεις θα είναι, σε βάθος χρόνου, ριζικές όσον αφορά τον τρόπο διαβίωσης και των αλλαγών που θα προκύψουν στην κοινωνία και την οικονομία.

Οι τάσεις που υιοθετούνται στην παγκόσμια οικονομία για την αντιμετώπιση της κρίσης είναι αντιφατικές και διαχωρίζονται σε τάσεις απομόνωσης για την επίτευξη αυτονομίας ή τάσεις λειτουργίας σε συνθήκες παγκοσμιοποίησης λόγω της αναγνώρισης των συνθηκών αλληλεξάρτησης των οικονομιών.

Όλοι αναγνωρίζουμε ότι η κρίση προσομοιάζει με ένα παγκόσμιο πόλεμο με την διαφορά ότι σε ένα παγκόσμιο πόλεμο υπάρχουν νικητές και ηττημένοι , στην περίπτωσή μας ο διαχωρισμός νικητών από τους ηττημένων είναι δύσκολο να καθοριστεί.

Νικητές θα αποδειχτούν εκείνες οι κοινωνίες που θα προσαρμοστούν ταχύτερα στις νέες συνθήκες που θα προκύψουν.

Ίσως το μόνο θετικό στοιχείο που μπορεί να θεωρηθεί ότι θα προκύψει είναι ακριβώς η ταχύτερη προσαρμογή στις νέες συνθήκες. Δηλαδή ο κορωνοιός μπορεί να λειτουργήσει σαν καταλύτης αναγκαίων εξελίξεων που θα ήταν επιβεβλημένες ούτως η άλλως λόγω των γηγενών προβλημάτων της παγκόσμιας οικονομίας.

Βλέπε ρύπανση, κλιματικές αλλαγές, υπερπληθυσμός, μετανάστευση, προσφυγικό. κλπ.

Το όφελος που θα μπορούσε κανείς να διαπιστώσει εστιάζεται στην μερική αναστολή των παραγωγικών διαδικασιών η την αλλαγή των υφισταμένων διαδικασιών όπως η τηλεργασία, η μείωση του γραφειοκρατικού κόστους, και η αναγκαστική βελτιστοποίηση των μεθόδων εργασίας, και η μείωση των δαπανών διαβίωσης από τον εθισμό  του υπερκαταναλωτισμού.

Όμως όλα αυτά είναι κατά κάποιο τρόπο γενικότητες η διαφοροποίηση θα πρέπει να γίνει από την εφευρετικότητα των παραγωγικών στρωμάτων των κοινωνιών.

Ο στόχος είναι δύσκολος και παγκόσμιος για την Ελλάδα πολύπλοκος λόγω της ιδιαιτερότητας της Ελληνικής οικονομίας που εξαρτάται από εξειδικευμένους τομείς όπως ο εποχικός τουρισμός , μεταφορές και μικρό εξαγωγικό εμπόριο βασισμένο σε πρωτογενή αγροτική παραγωγή και πολλές παρεμφερείς δραστηριότητες.

Εξαρτώμεθα λοιπόν σε σοβαρό βαθμό από ταχύτητα με την οποία θα αποκατασταθεί η ομαλότητα όχι μόνο της Ελληνικής οικονομίας αλλά και της παγκόσμιας.

Νικητής λοιπόν θα είναι αυτός που θα βρει λύση πως θα αξιοποιήσει την τουριστική  υποδομή συμπεριλαμβανομένης και της ακτοπλοΐας σε περίπτωση που επεκταθεί η περίοδος κρίσης του κορωνιού.

Ίσως να είναι και αδύνατο, εδώ έγκειται και ο κίνδυνος του λαϊκισμού, διότι η μόνη λύση που παραμένει για την Ελλάδα είναι η διατήρηση της υποδομής ολόκληρη  την διάρκεια της παγκόσμιας κρίσης με συμβιβασμούς όσον αφορά το κόστος λειτουργίας και συντήρησης.

Μετά από την διαπίστωση αυτή μας μένει η ελπίδα για την  ταχύτερη δυνατή ολοκλήρωση των ερευνητικών εργασιών της επιστημονικής κοινότητας.

Νικητές λοιπόν θα είναι  οι πραγματικοί Μαραθωνοδρόμοι.

 

Grafics on Coronavirus.jpg

I am honored to publish  a report written by my Canadian cousin GEORGE MAHMOURIDES, PH.D., MBA. The report is focused mostly on Canadian issues but it also includes information related to international markets and can be used as guide for other countries including Greece.  

COVID-19: PANDEMIC PANDEMONIUM AS A DARWINIAN WINNOWING OF THE WEAK UNFOLDS. HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS! BY GEORGE MAHMOURIDES, PH.D., MBA

(KAPTA CAPITAL NEWSLETTER. VOLUME 20, ISSUE 03), A Gauthier Investments Service

PREAMBLE:
In less than 3 months, COVID-19 has become a global, deadly, highly contagious form of viral pneumonia. COVID-19 has killed more than 6,600 people and sickened over 167,000 in more than 150 countries. The outbreaks are elusive and require extreme measures. It is notorious. Even though there is no pharmaceutical backup or vaccine available, in less than 2 months, scientists worldwide have combined forces to identify and sequence the virus responsible and suggest medical procedures to limit the rate of infection. This is an amazing achievement1. Several homebrew diagnostic tests are in place, but their numbers are limited. Cooperation is further witnessed by the fact that Chinese medical teams and supplies are onsite in Italy helping Italian authorities deal with their COVID-19 challenges.
Experts, analyzing China’s and Italy’s efforts to stymie the spread of COVID-19, however foresee that the pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. Containment has not worked. All sorts of collateral damage are expected; the Darwinian winnowing of the weak is in full force. This winnowing factor is not only impounding health infrastructure but also the economy. Unfortunately, it is too early to ascertain what the long-term impact will be. We all have been caught off guard by the severity of government measures to limit social contact; e.g., stay home whenever possible, keep a minimum space of 2 meters with others and to consistently wash our hands after using items of repeated use, especially at work. As would be expected, public anxiety levels are at all time highs as we witness the paring back of daily social activities, being quarantined, being rerouted or being urged to return back to Canada before borders close. We can not escape from being bombarded daily by coronavirus stats. Canada is under siege and is being transformed; we are not alone as we see other countries around the world marshal the same restrictions. The average citizen cannot fully grasp the magnitude and near-inevitability of the national and global systemic burden beyond the current imposed 2-week quarantine period. If we succeed in defeating this threat, this virus episode will become an important punctuation mark in our global history, in much the same way that we view the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
The financial markets are swinging wildly in response to worrisome daily stats on the spread of the disease, projected economic slow-downs, and anticipated recession scenarios. On March 12, 2020, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crashed – its biggest plunge since the Black Monday crash of 1987. Global financial markets have lost nearly $20 trillion in wealth during the course of a brutal selloff; this is certainly more than the estimated $40 billion loss of global economic activity from SARS. Almost a trillion dollars has been wiped off Canadian stocks in a month. It is pure madness: the COVIDS-19 market crash is doing the unspeakable by turning major stocks into pennies2. Even the recently announced C$82 billion fiscal stimulus package unveiled by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 18 did little to comfort investors. When everyone wants to sell and almost nobody wants to buy, stock prices suddenly stop having much to do with
the underlying value of the company. Both companies and households, holding record amounts of debt, are devastated by this dramatic economic downturn and are grinding their teeth as enormous uncertainty looms large and long. The governments are exhausting their fiscal and monetary aid measures to resuscitate economies; billions of dollars are being poured in the system. The US Federal Reserve has slashed rates to near zero using up all of its ammo to head off the financial crisis. To add to the worries, the market reaction has left many citizens feeling uneasy about their long-term employment and retirement prospects. At a minimum, economic activity in the second quarter of 2020 is likely to fall. If the downturn continues for two more quarters, by definition, the world will be in a recession. Whatever the economic scenario, the recovery from a coronavirus-triggered pandemic will usher in a new era in which how we live, do business and invest will fundamentally change.
This pandemic has also introduced new terms into the layman’s vocabulary: ‘community transmission, social distancing, flattening the curve, reproduction number’. While these terms describe the non-pharmaceutical strategies to protect healthcare institutions and the more vulnerable, the same terms provide a glimpse into a new world that will sustain a prolonged period of uncertainty and why any return to normality may be delayed indefinitely. Behemoths like Google, Microsoft, Manulife, IBM, Ernst &Young, Novartis, BASF and Amazon, etc. have all announced that they are closing offices and/or asking employees to work from home in affected areas. Countries are closing down borders to thwart incoming flights from infected areas of the world. As a consequence, countries are trying to isolate themselves and temporarily undo all globalization accomplishments.
We are viewing the repeat of history. Viruses are killers, not just of humans, but of powerful civilizations. It appears the Athenian Empire fell during the Peloponnesian Wars not only because of the powerful Spartans, but possibly because of a pandemic which killed more than half its population. Both the Western Roman Empire, Eastern Roman Empire, and their rivals like the Huns, were severely ravaged by plagues. Feudalism, the Vikings and the Aztec Empire were devastated respectively by the bubonic plague, smallpox and the measles.
The coronavirus episode will not only test our leadership but also our values about what is important going forward. Is it about either ensuring our own survival or collectively working together to help ensure the entire global is safe? The light at the end of the tunnel is that many countries, especially their scientific communities, are overlooking national differences and cooperating. Cooperation, rather than divisiveness,is helping us wrestle with this pandemic. Unlike previous pandemics, the world today has a fast-modern communication network in place, the teamwork of a well-educated global scientific community and advanced health care technologies. We are on the right road as it took only two weeks for the scientific community to identify and sequence the virus (SARS-CoV-2). There is hope as there is strength in numbers.

  1. Community mitigation is especially important tactic to tackle community transmission before a vaccine or drug becomes widely available. When a novel virus with pandemic potential emerges, nonpharmaceutical interventions, (which are also known community mitigation strategies) are a set of actions that persons and communities can understand to help slow the spread of respiratory virus infections.

  2. Social distancing is a term that epidemiologists are using to refer to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully reduce community transmission of the virus. Social distancing includes at the individual level, such tactics as self-isolation and self-monitoring, and at the community level, such measures as the closure of schools, community centres, bars/ restaurant and public transit, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

  3. In epidemiology, the idea of slowing a virus’ spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time is known as «flattening the curve.» It explains why so many countries are implementing «social distancing» guidelines

    The speed of an epidemic depends on two things — how many people each case infects and how long it takes for infection between people to spread. The first quantity is called the reproduction number; the second is the serial interval. The short serial interval of COVID-19 means emerging outbreaks will grow quickly and could be difficult to stop, the researchers said.

NOMENCLATURE
The world medical authorities have recently established a collective terminology for this new disease. This disease is identified as ‘coronavirus disease 2019’, abbreviated as COVID-19. On 11 February 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) named the virus responsible for this disease as ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)’. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. While related, the two viruses are different. At this point in time, there is no specific pharmaceutical treatment or vaccine available for COVID-19.

EPIDEMIOLOGY OF CORONAVIRUSES
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals (including camels, swine, cattle, cats, and bats). Animal coronaviruses rarely infect people or visa versa. Nonetheless, coronaviruses are considered zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted between animals and people. Animal-to-person spread does occur. Several known coronaviruses circulate in animals that have not yet infected humans. CoV cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Human coronaviruses that cause common colds usually have mean illness-incubation periods of about three days before symptoms appear.
SARS-CoV-2 spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. Each infected person can infect two – three individuals on average. It spreads more easily than flu but less than measles, tuberculosis or some other respiratory diseases. COVID-19 infection takes longer, and some asymptomatic carriers may never show any symptoms. Tests have found high amounts of virus in the throats and noses of infected people a couple days before they show symptoms.
Flu viruses also mutate quickly, requiring new vaccines to be made each year. A few reports from China say some people had COVID-19, recovered and then fell ill again. It’s unclear if that’s a relapse, a new infection, or a case where the person never fully recovered in the first place. Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle say the 30,000-letter genetic code of the virus changes by one letter every 15 days. It’s not known how many of these changes would be needed for the virus to seem different enough to the immune system of someone who had a previous version of it for it to cause a fresh infection.
SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. As such, unlike the flu, there is no latent immunity for this virus in the global population. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it is quickly spreading worldwide. Widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is being translated into large numbers of people being infected and needing medical care at the same time. The percentage of people who die from this illness is currently estimated at upwards of 3.4 per cent, according to the World Health Organization, which is significantly higher than the seasonal flu at less than one per cent. In China, slightly more males have been diagnosed with COVID-19 than females, which might be because roughly half of Chinese men smoke but only 5% of females do. It is understood that the overall mortality rate is always going to depend on the demographics of a population. In patients aged 70 to 79, that fatality rate increases to eight per cent, and for those above 80 years old, it rises to almost 15 per cent. With more morbidity and mortality statistics, epidemiologists will eventually be able to assess the impact on different segments of the population.
There are 3 routes of infection for SARS-CoV-2:
• Hand to mouth / face
• Aerosol transmission
• Fecal oral route
The virus can live in the air for several hours, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The virus can be killed with common anti-bacterial cleaning agents: bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol-based soaps and gels. Health authorities have recommended that all citizens wash their hands frequently, self-isolate when they’re sick or suspect they might be, and start «social distancing” right away.
The clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is evolving. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for individuals:
• aged 65 and over
• with compromised immune systems
• with underlying medical conditions
According to John Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Medicine, the COVID-19 symptoms begin approximately 5 days after exposure. Researchers believe that a 14-day quarantine period is a reasonable amount of time to monitor individuals for development of the disease. The analysis suggests that about 97.5% of people who develop symptoms of infection will do so within 11.5 days of exposure. The researchers estimated that for every 10,000 individuals quarantined for 14 days, only about 101 would develop symptoms after being released from quarantine. Authorities found that time between cases in a chain of transmission is less than a week and that more than 10% of patients are infected by somebody who has the virus but does not yet have symptoms.
Current methods to detect infections of SARS-CoV-2 rely on identifying unique genetic sequences found in the virus. WHO lists seven different approaches — including that of China, the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, France and Germany — each country targeted different parts of the SARS-CoV-2 genetic profile. The German prototype became the approach that WHO circulated as its preferred model for a diagnostic test. Germany released its protocol on Jan. 17.
• The U.S. decided to have the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention develop its own diagnostic test. The CDC protocol was published Jan. 28. The CDC’s test was different and more complicated than the German test. It worked in the CDC lab, but when the materials went out to state labs, results were inconsistent. The CDC had to resend packages with new chemical reagents.
• In Wisconsin, Promega Corporation and Utah-based Co-Diagnostics, Inc. partnered in the rapid development and launch of the new Logix Smart COVID-19 Test. Co-Diagnostics’s coronavirus test received CE mark approval and is now available in Europe as an in-vitro diagnostic (IVD
• Roche and ThermoFisher have recently received approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration to produce their own tests.
Several epidemiological studies suggest that a doubling of cases will occur every six days. The rate at which a population becomes infected makes all the difference in whether there are enough hospital beds (and doctors, and resources) to treat the sick. Even though the impact of community transmission by asymptomatic patients can not be assessed, it should not be summarily dismissed. Nonetheless, an avalanche of uncharacteristically severe respiratory viral illness cases is expected to overwhelm healthcare system capacity of most infected countries, unless drastic measures are taken to slow down the community transmission rate (reducing the infection rate = flattening the curve). The growing number of travel restrictions around the globe have done little to stem containment. At this point, the world has moved beyond the containment effort.
We are witnessing governments transitioning from a strategy of containment to ‘care’ and more emphasis on ‘social distancing’ as a means of interrupting locally-acquired community transmission to lower the peak care demand that will hit healthcare providers. These mitigation strategies to minimize morbidity and mortality will hopefully ensure that sufficient medical resources remain available for those with severe cases of COVID-19. Even though the WHO estimates that 80% of those infected with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and not require hospitalization, medical authorities are desperately trying to save and protect:
(1.) those individuals at increased risk for severe illness (including older adults and persons of any age with underlying health conditions) and
(2.) the healthcare and critical infrastructure workforces. A slower infection rate would result in a less stressed health care system, fewer hospital visits on any given day and fewer sick people being turned away.
Horror stories emerging from disease-stricken areas, e.g., Italy, are highlighting just how difficult it has become to care for those more severely afflicted patients and the ethical challenges being faced by healthcare practitioners in deciding who can be spared when hospital resources are finite. This rapid infection rate in Italy has already filled some hospitals to capacity, forcing emergency rooms to close their doors to new patients, hire hundreds of new doctors and request emergency supplies of basic medical
equipment, like respirator masks, from abroad. This lack of resources contributes, in part, to the outsize COVID-19 death rate in Italy, which is roughly 7% — double the global average.

BACKGROUND HISTORY:
Word of this new infection in China erupted in mid-December 2019. The first reported death was a worker from the wholesale Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China. On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization was alerted to several more cases of pneumonia in Wuhan. On January 6, 2020, the Wuhan health authorities confirmed that unexplained viral pneumonia that had infected 59 people was not due to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The spread of this novel virus infection did not match any other known virus. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission subsequently linked the pneumonia cases to the wholesale Huanan Seafood Market, suggesting that infection was due animal-to-person exposure. There afterwards, it became apparent that the growing number of infected patients did not result from any contact with animal food markets, indicating person-to-person spread (locally-acquired community transmission). Chinese authorities subsequently discovered that I in 10 infections were from people who had the virus but did not yet feel sick or showed any symptoms. The fact that people without symptoms were transmitting the virus (known as pre-symptomatic transmission) complicated containment matters. This asymptomatic aspect explains why that COVID-19 outbreaks are elusive and why extreme measures are required.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19, a pandemic. As of March 16, 2020, WHO reported 167,515 confirmed cases in 150 countries, raising the total number of reported deaths to 6,606.
The global spread of coronavirus continues to be fluid and evolving rapidly; no country seems fully prepared to address the impact of this virus, even though countries are sharing information and best practices.
CANADA
On Dec. 30, artificial intelligence platform BlueDot, based in Toronto, picked up on a cluster of “unusual pneumonia” cases happening around a market in Wuhan, China, and flagged it. BlueDot had spotted COVID-19, nine days before the World Health Organization released its statement alerting people to the emergence of a novel coronavirus. It was exactly the type of situation that Dr. Kamran Khan, founder and CEO of BlueDot and professor of medicine and public health at the University of Toronto imagined when he had the idea for his company BlueDot: “Spread knowledge faster than the diseases spread themselves,” he says. In February 20, 2020, Canada confirmed its first case related to travel outside mainland China. On March 10, 2020, B.C. health officials confirmed that a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions, died after becoming infected with the illness at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver. As of March 15, 2020, the official Canadian tally of confirmed cases is 300. Two days later, the number of confirmed cases is double, approximately 6007 and the number of deaths is 10. OThe number of confirmed cases is like just the tip of the iceberg; the statistic does not indicate how many Canadians are currently infected. That infection rate, scary as it sounds, hides just how much the out-of-control virus has spread, especially when it is not known how many asymptomatic carriers there are.
Initially, Canada did not have cause to worry about COVID-19 as there were no locally acquired viral outbreaks within Canada borders. The first COVID-19 cases were introduced by infected Canadian returning from China, Iran and Italy, where the disease had taken hold. Authorities are now worried about the local community transmission of the disease among Canadians who had not travelled abroad. To complicate matters, there is not enough testing capacity to be broadly useful in identifying which Canadians are already infected from those that are not. Diagnosis is hampered by the number of testing sites, the PCR testing methods and the time required to conduct each test. Self-quarantining, although valuable, does not eliminate infection but only slows down the probability of spread. As the healthcare system scrambles to deal with the surge in confirmed cases, it will become increasingly difficult to detect, track, and contain new transmission chains. In the absence of extreme interventions like those implemented in China, the Canadian Federal Health Minister, Ms. Patty Hajdu said, based on the new cases that have been identified, that she ‘expects between 30 to 70% of the Canadian population could become infected’. Assuming the lower estimate of 30%, this statistic suggests that at least 11 M Canadians may be infected in short time. Moreover, if the mortality rate is truly 1%, then 110,000 Canadians may die from COVID-19 in a short time. (This is a conservative mortality statistic, which will only increase if patients are unable to access health care services.) The fatality rate for COVID-19 is 10 times the rate for flu.
In response to the growing emergency, the federal government has rolled out a $1-billion package to help the country’s healthcare system and economy cope with the outbreak. Approximately half of that amount, or $500 million, will be transferred to the provinces and territories so they can prepare for and react to the spreading virus. There is no accepted treatment for COVID-19. Hospitals may only supply supportive care (e.g., IV fluids, oxygen, ventilators, …) to help keep patients alive in order that their own immune systems can overcome the virus. Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne has urgently advised Canadians overseas to return home before travel routes become further disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 16, 2020, the Canadian government closed its borders to noncitizens. The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens “for the moment.”

Seventeen years ago, by the end of the SARS outbreak, there were 438 probable and confirmed cases of the virus, most contained within Toronto and the GTA. SARS resulted in 44 deaths in Toronto alone
The healthcare situation in Canada has become more dire when the current hospital infrastructure is examined. On March 6, 2020, the national advocacy group for health care organizations and hospitals warned the federal government that the national health system is already stretched thin and that it may not be able to cope if the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen. The hospitals said they need help now to “dramatically scale up” respiratory virus testing, to collaborate on laboratory analysis to quickly share data with other hospitals, and to protect staff from COVID-19. Physicians still have concerns about supplies and their ability to keep themselves healthy and able for when the peak really hits.
In terms of preparedness,
• The Public Health Agency of Canada has also sent out a job posting for additional nurses needed to handle the COVID-19 outbreak.
• Canada has a National Emergency Strategic Stockpile with equipment including ventilators, medicine and social-service supplies, such as beds and blankets. The stockpile has been used to respond to health emergencies such as the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, as well as during major natural disasters including the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016. The Public Health Agency of Canada declined to provide details on the stockpile’s inventory, citing national security concerns.
• A large study published in 2015 after the 2009 H1N1 pandemic put the number of Canada-wide ventilators as 5,000. The study found 14.9 ventilators for every 100,000 people; the number was as low as 10.1 per 100,000 people in Alberta and as high as 24.4 in Newfoundland and Labrador.
• Thirteen years ago, Ontario stockpiled some 55 million N95 masks and other medical equipment after the province bore the brunt of the SARS epidemic in Canada in 2002 and 2003. Even though Canadian hospitals have been told by provincial officials to maintain a four-week supply as standard policy, provincial officials now confirmed that the masks in the stockpile have passed their expiration date. The spread of the coronavirus has triggered a global shortage of N95 respirator masks.
• The number of hospital beds (per 1,000 people) in Canada was reported at 2.7 in 2012, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators. With a Canadian population of 37.6 million, it is estimated that there are about 90.5 thousand hospital beds. Authorities report that hospitals are operating at 105%, leaving little or no beds available to redirect to COVID-19 patients. More recent data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development indicate Canada ranks near the bottom of OECD countries when it comes to availability of acute-care beds, which includes intensive care. Canada had 1.95 acute-care beds for every 1,000 people in 2018, and that number has been decreasing steadily since the early 1980s.
• Doctors are also using telehealth and virtual medicine to assess people remotely so they don’t flood clinics and hospitals.

• Paul-Émile Cloutier, president and chief executive officer of HealthCareCan, which represents hospitals and other medical facilities across the country proposes that there should be designated hospitals for coronavirus patients and registries of healthcare workers who have had the virus and recovered who can now work safely with patients.
• The Jewish General is one of two designated response hospitals in Montreal. A portion of one floor was renovated in 2016 to handle pandemic diseases following an outbreak of Swine Flu. Twenty-four rooms in the hospital’s K Pavillion are equipped with specialized ventilation systems designed to ensure virulent diseases cannot spread.
Asymptomatic locally-acquired community transmission is justifying the implementation of extensive and aggressive control measures including isolation, quarantine, school closures, travel restrictions and cancellation of mass gatherings. On March 13, 2020, the Quebec Ministry of Education made the decision to close all school [elementary and high schools, CÉGEPs, and universities] across the entire province for two weeks starting Monday, March 16, in an attempt to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick have become the latest provinces that will temporarily keep children out of class in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19, following Ontario’s lead. Unfortunately, the provinces have not harmonized their efforts to tackle COVID-19, and this failure may prove to be a liability in minimizing the impact of COVID-19 across

Canada.
In addition, provincial governments have recommended banning visitors from hospitals, long-term and senior care facilities.
COVID-19 has significantly disrupted markets around the world; the aviation, energy and cleantech sectors have been adversely affected.

AVIATION
With the number of global travel bans / advisories growing and suspension of non-essential travel, all means of travel have been affected. Travellers who decide that they still need to travel abroad are reminded of the increased risks of doing so. That includes the risk that they may not be able to get home, if travel restrictions are put in place and if they get sick abroad. Governments are urging their citizens to return home quickly before return flights are cancelled at short notice or other travel restrictions by foreign governments strand citizens.
Aside from the obvious cruise ship hardships, air travel has also suffered. In response to government decrees and mandatory public health measures, cash reserves are running down quickly as air passengers are asking for refunds and flights are operating much less than half full. Carriers around the world are freezing recruitment, implementing voluntary leave options, temporarily suspending employment contracts and reducing working hours, reducing executive pay, and slashing the number of flights, including those of lucrative transatlantic routes. Forward bookings are far outweighed by cancellations and each time there is a new government recommendation it is to discourage flying. It is expected that only the biggest and best-government supported airlines will survive this crisis. According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, it took almost three years for the airline industry to fully recover from the demand shock created by 9/11. The prospect of losing spring and summer bookings is another blow. Far smaller shocks have caused weak airlines to go under; but even the big players are likely to have their wings clipped by the coronavirus. Action on climate change may have restricted aviation; higher fares from reduced competition might yet do more. Now, societies forced to do without flying may also start to question whether the habit was worth it.

Few sectors of the travel industry have been more upended than the cruise industry. Lines have canceled or significantly altered more than 100 sailings in Asia, with some lines entirely leaving the market until at least next year.

Starting early February 2020, 59 airline companies suspended or limited flights to Mainland China and several countries including USA, Russia, Australia, and Italy have also imposed government issued travel restrictions. The International Air Transport Association warned on Thursday that airlines could lose up to $113 billion in 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak. IATA now sees 2020 global revenue losses for the passenger business of between $63 billion (in a scenario where COVID-19 is contained in current markets with over 100 cases as of 2 March) and $113 billion (in a scenario with a broader spreading of COVID-19). Data published Thursday by analytics firm ForwardKeys showed international flight bookings to Europe were down 79% year-on-year in the final week of February. No estimates are yet available for the impact on cargo operations. Coronavirus-related cancellations and route suspensions could tip already struggling airlines over the edge into insolvency. The global aviation consultancy firm, CAPA, predicts that airlines in the world will be technically bankrupt, (or at least substantially in breach of debt covenants) by the end of May unless coordinated government and industry action is marshaled to avoid the catastrophe. U.S. airlines are requesting upwards of $60 billion in bailouts and direct assistance from the government.
• Air Canada says it will “gradually suspend” the majority of its international flights by the end of March amid Canada’s and other countries’ moves to close their borders over the coronavirus pandemic. The airline said Wednesday that they will still serve a “small number of international and trans-border destinations” from select Canadian cities after April 1. Employees of Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, have said the company is not doing enough to inform customers and staff of their exposure to passengers infected with Covid-19. An Air Canada flight attendant tested positive for the coronavirus in Hawaii, and was the first of that state’s 16 current COVID-19 patients.
• Travel company Transat AT Inc. has seen daily bookings drop off since late February, with a steep year-over-year decline this month as travel fears spread with COVID-19. Daily bookings fell 50 per cent year-over-year in the last few days.

• On March 15, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines stated that it would be grounding 300 aircraft in its fleet and reduce flights by 40 per cent.
• American Airlines said it would reduce all international capacity by 75 per cent, while competitors Delta and Southwest Airlines plan to strip back flights.
• By March 16, IAG, owner of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, announced it would slash flight capacity by 75 per cent during April and May owing to the COVID-19 outbreak.
• Britain’s Virgin Atlantic added that it has decided to park 75 per cent of its total fleet — and in April this will rise as high as 85 per cent.
• In Germany, Lufthansa has been forced to scrap around two thirds of its flights in coming weeks as several countries including the United States ban travellers from Europe.
• Air France will meanwhile slash flight capacity by 70-90 per cent over the next two months, while Austrian Airlines will suspend all flights from Thursday, and Finnair is cutting 90 percent of capacity until the situation improves.
• United Airlines said it would announce a cut in capacity of around 50 per cent for April and May, as the United States ramps up restrictions to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus.
In response to these changes, airline share prices have fallen nearly 25% since the outbreak started, far more than during the same period of the 2003 SARS epidemic, reports the IATA. By March 16, The London-based carrier, iAG’s share price crashed nearly 27 per cent in mid-afternoon deals. Other airlines tumbled, with Germany’s Lufthansa erasing almost 11 per cent in value and Air France wiping out 17 per cent on similar announcements.
The global coronavirus outbreak has triggered one of the most uncertain times ever in the airline industry. Airlines have such high fixed costs for planes and staffing that even a small loss in business causes a much bigger gap in profitability. Debt is not a problem for most major U.S. carriers, especially with low interest rates. Most U.S. airlines have about $3 billion in cash on their balance sheets, with the smaller Spirit and JetBlue having $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion respectively, as of Dec. 31. The average airline has 15 times the cash flow it needs to cover interest payments. Indeed, American was able to sell $500 million in debt at full value as recently as Feb. 20. Debts, empty planes and no idea as to when air travel will return to normal levels is small consolation for the shareholders of airline carriers.
Demand for new aircraft is inevitably drying up as customers wary of the coronavirus shun air travel. COVID-19 will may result in an increase defaulting on existing airplane payments. Other airlines were also seeking a temporary holiday from lease payments. Cathay Pacific Airways is among the growing number of airlines (Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airline Holdings, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA) asking manufacturers to put its deliveries on hold. Analysts suggested that the impact of deferrals on Boeing could be mitigated by the year-long grounding of the 737 Max after two fatal crashes. In a month, the tumult has clipped about $175 billion in market value from the U.S. aerospace industry, a critical source of American exports. As a result, the plane maker is putting hiring on hold and planning to tap all of a $13.8 billion loan. Airbus has not decided to cut its delivery target but one person with knowledge of the situation said “there are several airlines trying to defer deliveries. It is probable that guidance will have to be reassessed before the end of March.” Airbus declined to comment. Boeing and Airbus were rolling in cash while airlines went on a $1.15 trillion buying binge stretching back to 2008. They’re now intently focused on preserving capital and avoiding making “white tails,” the industry term for buyer-less aircraft.
At a large annual conference for airplane financiers and lessors in 2020 (Dublin), speakers outlined the tremendous hit already dealt to airlines in Asia, and attendees expressed growing concern for the likely impact ahead in Europe and the U.S. All agreed that although the air travel business will recover in the long-term, this year looks set for a significant downturn.

ENERGY
OIL
As major economies go into lockdown, oil demand continues to fall off a cliff. The coronavirus crisis is affecting a wide range of energy markets – including coal, gas9 and renewables – but its impact on oil markets is particularly severe. As community transmission mitigation strategies are applied to stop the travel of people and goods, they deal a heavy blow to demand for transport fuels.
China’s need for oil remains subdued as a result of the COVID-19 driven economic contraction. China is the world’s top oil importer; it bought 41.24 million tonnes of crude in 2019, equivalent to 10.04 million barrels per day (bpd). It accounted for more than 80% of global oil demand growth in 2019. But just two months after the outbreak of the virus, Chinese oil demand is down sharply because of dwindling air travel, road transportation and manufacturing. In response to the oversupply, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently cut supply by 400,000 barrels a day, but it is a question of whether this is enough to make an impact on global prices.
As the virus spread globally, oil demand is expected to decline in 2020 further as a result. Pierre Andurand, who runs oil hedge fund Andurand Capital Management, said that oil demand could fall by 10 million barrels per day (mb/d) for a period of time, a contraction with no historical precedent. By April 2020, crude oil supply could reach record high levels, according to Goldman Sachs. Travel restrictions that limit the use of jet fuel, that slow down supply chains / industrial activity and that send workers home—mean less oil and oil-based products are being used and produced. The pandemic is expected also to cause extensive staffing and supply shortages in the oil and gas industry, as well as a fall in investment of around $30 billion (£23.4bn) in 2020. These trends have very direct effects on oil consumption patterns and inform near-term calculations of real oil demand.
The benchmark price for oil has fallen by its fastest rate since the 1991 Gulf war to lows not seen in four years, wiping billions from the market value of companies across the energy sector. The slump in the price of crude put a downward pressure on the stock prices of almost every company related to the oil sector. That will make it even tougher for the sector’s financially weakest players to stay afloat, which is why so many are selling off today. An emergency rate cut by the US Federal Reserve also failed to calm global financial markets as a price war rages on between the top oil producers.
As broader market sentiment about the health of the global economy declines, so do projections about the future oil demand curve, prompting flight away from oil and energy stocks and further drawing down prices.

(Natural gas prices recently tumbled to historical lows and are down nearly 15% since the start of 2020 with excess supply and inventory build up pressuring prices. The coronavirus outbreak is not helping the situation, either. The global LNG leader Royal Dutch Shell has warned that the coronavirus outbreak is already hurting LNG demand and forcing it to reroute supplies previously earmarked for mainland China.)

Normally, drops in the price of oil were largely viewed as positive because it lowered the price of importing oil and reduced costs for the manufacturing and transport sectors. The coronavirus epidemic has eradicated such positive prospects as the economy has been placed on-hold to contain the spread of a super virus.
Oil could fall below $20 a barrel and stock markets could easily shed another 30-40% of their values after April 1 2020, when Saudi Arabia and Russia ramp up their crude production after a previously-agreed Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)+ alliance deal expires. Saudi Arabia has slashed its oil prices to buyers and will be maxing out its production, as will Russia, as the two major producers engage in an all-out price war to fight for greater market share. Saudi Arabia has announced plans to increase its daily production to 12.3 million bpd in April, compared to roughly 9.7 million bpd in February. The global market oversupply is driving lower prices for consumers at the pump. Although the coronavirus is not responsible for the oil wars, but it plays into a perfect scenario to collectively collapse the world economy.
The price crash hurts oil-exporting countries and is a particular blow for U.S. shale producers who are already deeply in debt. Market analysts are predicting defaults on billions of dollars worth of debt, and a major risk for up to a million people employed directly and indirectly by the shale industry. If U.S. shale was struggling at $50, drilling at sub-$30 makes sense for no one. White House officials are alarmed at the prospect that numerous shale companies could be driven out of business if the downturn in oil prices turns into a prolonged crisis for the industry. Oil prices bounced back a bit after President Trump tried to throw a lifeline to oil prices last week when he announced that the Department of Energy would buy up oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and “fill it right to the top.” It is predicted that if there is less drilling, there will be less associated gas, which means natural gas prices will increase.
The story is much worse for Canadian oil producers10. Canada’s oil and natural gas sectors contributed more than $100 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (10 % of GDP) in 2018, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). It sustained 530,000 jobs across Canada in 2017 and provided $8 billion in tax revenue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenny initially prepared a new provincial budget which pegged oil prices at US$58 per barrel. Unfortunately, the price of Western Canadian Select fell from US$38 a barrel in February to US$16.33 a barrel on March 16, a 43% decline in value. Low-priced oil means there’s much less incentive for producers to ship crude by rail. The premier is heading to Ottawa with a list of demands as he is worried about layoffs as the oil and gas sector struggles with coronavirus. In the past two days, Canadian oil and gas producers MEG Energy Corp., Seven Generations Energy Ltd., and Cenovus Energy Inc. announced ($3B) cuts to 2020 spending. Mr. Kenney said he expects other companies to follow suit, and also cut jobs in the next two to three weeks. He will be pressing the need for emergency support for those workers with the federal government. Teck Resources, B.C.’s largest publicly traded mining and energy company, took a 21 per cent hit to its share price.

(Globally, Canada is the fourth-largest producer and fourth-largest exporter of oil and the energy sector accounts for more than 11 per cent of its gross domestic product)

According to Deloitte Canada, 2020 was expected to be a lot more constructive for oil and gas producers in Canada than it was in 2019. This has not been the case. Aside from the fact Canada’s oil patch has been already struggling with pipeline shortages that prompted the province to impose production limits on its largest producers at the start of last year, the global oil price war is taking an even heavier toll on the Canadian energy industry. The oil patch still hasn’t fully recovered from the last crash that started in 2014. “At these commodity prices, nobody is making money and everybody is going to be free cash flow negative,” said Laura Lau, chief investment officer at Brompton Corp. in Toronto. “It’s going to be tough.” Alberta’s government could mandate further cuts to oil production if rising crude supplies and falling prices threaten the survival of drillers in the province. Alberta’s government has pledged to do what’s necessary to shore up its oil-dependent economy after world crude prices fell the most since 1991 this week amid a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Premier Kenney said he’s also considering payroll tax relief and using the province’s balance sheet to help companies with their current liquidity crisis. Every $1-a-barrel drop in the average price over the entire year costs the Alberta treasury $355 million in lost revenue.
The oil price decline has hammered Canadian energy stocks. Most large producers, including Suncor Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. also experienced double-digit declines in their share prices as did junior and intermediate producers’ such as Schmidt’s Tamarack, which lost hundreds of millions of dollars in value as its share price declined 30 per cent on Monday. Among the biggest decliners were Cenovus Energy Inc., which dropped as much as 49 per cent, and MEG Energy Corp., which tumbled as much as 47 per cent. The largest producers, including Cenovus, Suncor and Canadian Natural, are actually well-positioned to withstand the downturn, because of the lack of pipeline access, they have spent the past few years paying down debt and buying back shares. Equity markets that were once a lifeline for oil firms in times of distress have started to dry up as investment giants such as BlackRock Inc. pull back from the sector, forcing producers to rely on debt instead. Although Canadian energy companies are considered to be better equipped today than their U.S. counterparts, any severe, prolonged downturn in prices would hurt Canada. Collectively, the industry is holding its breath to see what actions the Federal government will take.
Canadian oilsands producers will rarely shut in operations amid depressed prices because many of their costs are fixed and shutdowns can damage reservoirs. The low oil prices make the economics of oil sands mining projects however more difficult to work, and this situation may provide the rationale for Teck Resources’ decision to withdrawn

Warren Buffett has pulled out of a liquefied natural gas project in Quebec last week — and left the smallest companies on precarious financial footing.

CLEANTECH
The pivotal target of the Paris Agreement is to keep temperature rise well below 2 °C above the pre-industrial level and pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 °C. According to an alarming 2018 study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in order to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial averages within this century, worldwide carbon emissions need to decrease by 45 percent by 2030 and be slashed all the way down to zero by the middle of the century—this is no easy feat.
COVID-19 is indirectly, via its effect on slowing down the global economy, reducing air pollution and carbon emissions. Lockdown has an unintended benefit — blue skies. Satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency show a dramatic reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions — those released by vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities — in major Chinese cities between January and February. A fall in oil and steel production, and a 70% reduction in domestic flights, contributed to the fall in emissions, according to the CREA. But the biggest driver was the sharp decline in China’s coal usage. Pollution levels have similarly decreased over Italy. Analysts believe this could be the first fall in global emissions since the 2008 financial crisis However, experts warn that these reductions may only be short-term, and that as countries and economies bounce back, so too will emissions — unless major infrastructure or societal changes are adopted. «There is nothing to celebrate in a likely decline in emissions driven by economic crisis because in the absence of the right policies and structural measures this decline will not be sustainable,» warned IEA executive director Fatih Birol, adding that governments should «not allow today’s crisis to compromise the clean energy transition.»
Currently, response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been at the top of all political agendas – and rightly so. As such, the momentum and awareness generated by the climate strikes movement over the past year has subsided and tackling climate change is seemingly slipping down the priority list for global leaders. It will be interesting to see if the climate change agenda is supported after the COVID-19 episode is over and whether the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) goes forward with its scheduled meeting in Glasgow this November. At COP26, countries are expected to draw up with more stringent plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions, as the current plans under the Paris agreement are inadequate. The UK was hoping to bring many countries to the table with pledges to hit net zero carbon by 2050, a target that the UK has already enshrined in law. This summit is central to advancing the climate agenda after COP25 talks in Madrid failed.
The International Energy Agency, or IEA, has warned the virus outbreak will likely undermine clean energy investment and is urging governments to offer economic stimulus packages that invest in clean energy technologies. There is an opportunity to invest the stimulus money in well-designed structural changes leading to reduced emissions after economic growth returns, such as further development of clean technologies.

The maintenance of a carbon tax makes no sense if the economy is in a recession; it may be rolled back.

WIND & SOLAR
The coronavirus has highlighted the dangers of complex and highly fragmented value chains. Analysts report that factories in China are all at differing stages of restarting production and manufacturing which may well ease supply pressures on key renewables components. After a wild few days of escalating infection numbers and increasingly frantic government responses in Europe and the U.S., the focus is quickly shifting to demand, as the reality dawns that a global economic slowdown may be inevitable. An economic slowdown could dent the demand for energy or reduce the amount of finance available. Industry conferences are being canceled or postponed, hampering networking and deal-making. Workforce shortages could knock project timelines off course.
Many manufacturers of wind turbines and their critical components (Goldwind) as well as producers of photovoltaic panels and batteries (particularly lithium) are based in China. Production delays for both wind turbines and solar panels will be felt throughout the year, as COVID-19-driven production delays impact supply chains and order fulfilment. Eight provinces in China announced work stoppages as a result of the outbreak, which has negatively impacted multiple solar manufacturing campuses.
• The top solar manufacturers in the world are in China, with some of the stocks to watch; JinkoSolar Holding Co (NYSE: JKS), and Canadian Solar (NASDAQ: CSIQ).
• Solar demand could fall by as much as 16% due to a reliance on production in China, which has imposed limits on movements and trade activity to halt the spread of COVID-19.
• Wind generation is set to cope better due to a more harmonised rental, construction and delivery systems. However, BNEF has warned that it’s previous estimate that wind capacity could surpass 75GW this year could now be at risk.
In addition, it is anticipated that the impact on China’s residential renewable market will be significantly reduced, with Wood Mackenzie anticipating a decrease of as much as 50% in turbines. It is further anticipated that as much as 6GW of wind power capacity in the US could be impacted by the virus this year.
According to a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, solar represented almost 40% of new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. last year. The U.S. solar market installed 13.3 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2019, a 23% rise compared to the year before, new figures show. The cumulative operating photovoltaic capacity – the running total – in the U.S. now stands at more than 76 GW. The full impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on the US solar industry are still developing. Late last week, Bloomberg New Energy Finance lowered its 2020 global solar demand forecast to a range of 108 to 143 gigawatts — a drop of 9 percent at the low end compared to the market research firm’s prior estimate. That could mean the first down year for global solar installations since the 1980s.
Global wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, have reported that the impact on their business is still being assessed. Manufacturing of blades and other components for Vestas wind turbines is undertaken in China.

Some alternative energy stocks have taken a beating. In late February, SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG) was at $143. Recently it fetched $78. Similarly, Vestas Wind Systems (VWS.Denmark), the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, was at 734 Danish kroner ($110). Today it’s at 522 kroner.
BATTERY & ENERGY STORAGE
Cleantech Icon, Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO, Elon Musk @elonmusk tweeted Friday, «The coronavirus panic is dumb.»
Insiders have warned that battery manufacturing will be impacted as Hubei province, where the virus originated and has struck hardest, and surrounding provinces are responsible for manufacturing almost 60% of China’s batteries. China also happens to be home to most of the world’s lithium-ion battery manufacturing. Utility Dive has warned that the country’s battery storage production capacity could contract by 10%–or 26 GWh–compared to earlier forecasts.
The China Photovoltaic Industry Association reported that overseas plants could be hurt as they will be unable to receive components from China due to flight restrictions. Should the epidemic of the virus continue beyond the first trimester and extend to a larger number of regions, as is currently the case in Korea and Italy, then the world’s use of renewable energy could very well be slowed down.
Electricity remains a minor fuel for the world’s transportation energy use, although its importance in passenger rail transportation remains high: in 2040, electricity will account for 40% of total passenger rail energy consumption. BloombergNEF (BNEF) analysis suggests that the ramifications of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will lead to downgrades in forecasts for renewables deployment and electric vehicle (EV) development, with solar capacity set to fall 16% compared to previous estimates.
Overall, the coronavirus crisis and resulting economic impacts, particularly on China, focus on the need to diversify supply chains and strengthen the case to localize manufacturing in Asia, Europe and the U.S., especially for batteries.
RENEWABLE BIOFUELS
Biofuels have been considered as an option to supplement fossil fuels for transportation since the oil crises of 1973 and 1979. Interest in biofuels resurged in the early 2000s because of concerns about climate change, long-term oil supply security and oil price volatility, and a political desire to subsidize farmers. But the growth of the biofuel sector is being tested both by COVID-19 and the dramatic drop in oil prices.
• Global biofuels production grew by approximately 20% per year between 2000 and 2010, owing to a combination of supportive policies and increasing oil prices. By 2010, biofuels were providing around 3% of global transportation energy use. In 2019, it was reported that over 92% of the energy for transport is provided by oil, 3% by natural gas (NG), 1% by electricity, and other fuels contribute 4%.

The production of biofuels has contributed to food price increases, including the 2007–2008 global food crisis, and was increasingly seen as a threat to food security. The potential contribution of biofuels to climate change mitigation has also been challenged. These concerns have caused many countries to reduce their policy support for biofuels, particularly those derived from crops. Many biofuel programs have been redesigned to avoid negative impacts on food supply, and there has been an increased focus on second-generation or advanced biofuels.
• Technological breakthroughs with second-generation biofuels however have been slow to emerge, and it may be some time before they become competitive against their petroleum counterparts.
• Worldwide, petroleum and other liquid fuels remain the dominant source of transportation energy, although their share of total transportation energy is predicted to decline.
The implementation of renewable biofuels to replace petroleum-based fuels was based on the premise that they would be carbon neutral and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also would be instrumental in promoting and increasing the use of clean, abundant, affordable, domestically- and sustainably-produced biofuels to diversify Canada’s energy sources and reduce its dependence on oil. Biofuels can be easily substituted for traditional fossil fuels without the cumbersome necessity of revamping the energy systems we already have in place.
• According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, approximately 28% of all energy used in the United States is currently in the transportation sector. Of that used, approximately 96% is in the form of petroleum, 2.6% is natural gas, and less than 1% is biomass, electricity, or other fuels.
• Transportation accounts for about 27% of anthropogenic emissions of CO2, according to the draft Inventory of the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990–2006, which the EPA put out for public comment on 7 March 2008.
• The biofuels industry faces challenges, though. One is the need to make production economically viable without heavy government subsidies. Another is to produce biofuels from crops that wouldn’t otherwise feed people and on land that isn’t needed to grow food.
Biofuels worldwide are supported by governments in multiple ways including blending mandates or targets, subsidies, tax exemptions/credits, reduced import duties, support for research and development and direct involvement in biofuel production, as well as other incentives to encourage the local production and use of biofuels.
The growth of the renewable biofuels market in Canada has been be supported by three pieces of federal legislations:

 (2019. Global Transportation Demand Development with Impacts on the Energy Demand and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in a Climate-Constrained World. Siavash Khalili *, Eetu Rantanen,Dmitrii Bogdanov and Christian Breyer.* Energies 2019, 12(20), 3870; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12203870)

1. In 2010, the Canadian government introduced the Renewable Fuel Regulations12,13.
2. In 2016, the Canadian government developed a Clean Fuel Standard to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through the increased use of lower carbon fuels, energy sources and technologies. The objective of the Clean Fuel Standard is to achieve 30 million tonnes of annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, making it an important contribution to the achievement of Canada’s target of reducing national emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
3. In 2018, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act[a] (French: Loi sur la tarification de la pollution causée par les gaz à effet de serre) is a Canadian federal law establishing a set of minimum national standards for greenhouse gas pricing in Canada to meet emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement. The carbon pricing in Canada is implemented either as a regulatory fee or tax levied on the carbon content of fuels at the Canadian provincial, territorial or federal level. The Canadian government levied a carbon tax14, a levy applied to fossil fuels based on how much carbon dioxide they release when burned. The federal and provincial governments (with the exception of Saskatchewan) previously agreed to establish a consistent Canada-wide price on carbon pollution. The agreement gave provinces flexibility to devise their own policies, as long as they covered the same sources at the same carbon price. If they didn’t, the federal government would step in. In 2018, all provinces satisfied the federal government’s conditions except for Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, where the federal “backstop” carbon tax is being applied. In 2019, the carbon price starts at $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide released. That translates to an additional 4.4 cents per liter of gasoline. The tax will increase annually, reaching $50 per tonne in 2022. By then the gasoline tax will be 11 cents per liter. The federal government has committed to returning all carbon tax revenues to the province from which it is collected. The carbon tax is not punishment for bad behaviour. Rather, it’s a price signal to encourage people to lower their fossil fuel consumption.
Aside from Canada’s legislative incentives, the production costs for biofuel remain high and are dependent on both the price of oil (and feedstocks15) for long-term sustainability. This is true also for biofuel production in other parts of the world. Initially, pundits liked the World Economic Forum (in 2015) argued that biofuels would only be economical if and only if the price of oil was over $140 per barrel, without any subsidies or mandates. Alternatively, the Renewable Energy World (2015) proposed making biofuels at a competitive price at $60-$70/barrel. The efforts to decrease the production costs for biofuels will be greatly threatened if current oil prices remain low.

(These regulations require fuel producers and importers to have an average renewable fuel content of at least 5% based on the volume of gasoline that they produce or import into Canada and of at least 2% based on the volume of diesel fuel and heating distillate oil that they produce or import into Canada. The regulations include provisions that govern the creation of compliance units, allow trading of these units among participants and also require record-keeping and reporting to ensure compliance.
13 Unfortunately, these regulations did not oblige petroleum producers and importers to buy and supplement their fuels either bioethanol or biodiesel sourced from Canadian biofuel producers.
14 The carbon tax doesn’t apply to hydroelectricity and other energy sources that don’t release any carbon pollution.
15 The latter generally account for 60–90% of the total production costs of first-generation biofuels [23,24]; thus, the costs of biofuels are closely tied to the prices of feedstock commodities, whereas the available price depends on crude oil prices)

Unfortunately, the price of oil has dropped significantly during this month, and this spells doom to the growth of renewable biofuels both here in Canada and the United States. With falling gasoline prices and lower expected gasoline demand, some market participants said it’s only a matter of time before ethanol / biodiesel producers decide to cut rates or shut down. Equipment auctioneers will be shortly lining up a lot of distressed assets. The investment landscape for advanced biofuels is expected to become increasingly challenging, with few new projects moving into construction or implementation, especially without the significant backing by large multinational players (hopefully by petroleum producers in the pursuit of renewable diesel production). With the current crisis of COVID-19, it is likely that most environmental concerns, especially those linked to mitigating climate change will be either indefinitely postponed or cancelled.
Renewable energy companies are distressed that nobody in the Trump administration has called to offer them a share of Coronavirus economic stimulus cash. Meanwhile, Democrats on both sides of Capitol Hill are pushing to add climate change provisions to the third aid package for people and industries affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. House Democrats, meanwhile, are looking at clean-tech tax credits. Those include incentives for electric vehicles, battery storage, offshore wind and solar energy that were left out of a December tax extenders package.

 

border-greece.jpg

Η κρίση του Κορωνοιού ανάγκασε την Τουρκία να  αποσύρει τις ομάδες μεταναστών και προσφύγων από τα σύνορα Ελλάδος Τουρκίας, όμως ο κ Ερντογαν φρόντισε να μας προειδοποιήσει ότι η απομάκρυνση είναι προσωρινή και οφείλεται στον Κορωνοιοό και αμέσως μετά θα τους ξαναστείλει….

Ας μην ξεχνιόμαστε λοιπόν, αμέσως μετά την κρίση θα αναβιώσουν σοβαρότατα προβλήματα στη παγκόσμια οικονομία αλλά και τις γεωπολιτικές διεκδικήσεις της Τουρκιας.

Με την απότομη ανάπτυξη του  κουμμουνιστικού καπιταλισμού της Κίνας, η Αμερική αποφάσισε να μην διακινδυνεύσει  μία ακόμα εμπλοκή στην Μέση Ανατολή.

Οι εμπλοκές της Αμερικής στην Κορέα, στο Βιετνάμ, στο Ιράκ, στο Αφγανιστάν και στην Συρία όπου οι ΗΠΑ στήριξαν τους Κούρδους εναντίον του ISIS, φαίνεται να ήταν αρκετές.

Η απομάκρυνση αυτή  και  η αδράνεια της Ευρώπης έδωσε την ευκαιρία στην Τουρκία να υιοθετήσει εντονότερη επεκτατική πολιτική  στην Συρία και στην Μεσόγειο γενικά μέχρι και την Λιβύη και τη Κύπρο αλλά και να οξύνει την επιθετικότητα  απέναντι στην Ελλάδα με πολλούς τρόπους, επίθεση με την προώθηση μεταναστών και προσφύγων στην Ελλάδα αλλά και παραβίαση των διεθνών κανόνων όσον αφορά το δικαίωμα των νήσων να έχουν την δική τους ΑΟΖ.

Οι προφάσεις είναι πολλές, η μεγάλη ακτογραμμή της Τουρκίας στην Μεσόγειο και το Αιγαίο,  ο πληθυσμός και η γεωγραφική έκταση της της χώρας αγνοώντας την ακτογραμμή της Ελλάδας που μαζί με την ακτογραμμή των νήσων στο σύνολό τους  ξεπερνούν την ακτογραμμή ολόκληρης της Ευρώπης.

Τα κυριαρχικά δικαιώματα της Ελλάδας δεν μπορεί να αγνοηθούν διότι σημαντικό μέρος του κράτους είναι νησιωτικό. Τα δικαιώματα των νησιωτών δεν είναι μειωμένα έναντι την Ελλήνων της ηπειρωτικής Ελλάδας.

Η Τουρκία φαίνεται να αγνοεί την σημασία της διεθνούς νομιμότητας γιατί δεν έχει η ίδια προσχωρήσει και υπογράψει τον διεθνή νόμο, αυτή η άρνηση όμως δεν προσδίδει καμία νομιμότητα. Επίσης αγνοεί την υπόσταση της Κύπρου σαν αναγνωρισμένο κράτος από τον ΟΗΕ.

Από την άλλη πλευρά αναγνωρίζει την κυβέρνηση της Λιβύης που έχει την αναγνώριση του ΟΗΕ παρά το γεγονός ότι αυτή είναι σε εμφύλιο πόλεμο και το κοινοβούλιο βρίσκεται στο αντίθετο στρατόπεδο. Αγνοεί επίσης τις απαγορευτικές διακηρύξεις του ΟΗΕ για μη ανάμιξη με στρατιωτική υποστήριξη. Δηλαδή εφαρμογή  των όρων του ΟΗΕ κατά περίπτωση.

Είναι απόλυτα εμφανές ότι όλες οι ενέργειες της Τουρκίας αποσκοπούν στη κατάλυση της διεθνούς νομιμότητας και την αναθεώρηση της συνθήκης της Λοζάνης, συνθήκη βάση της οποίας ιδρύθηκε το Τουρκικό κράτος.

Το ποιο εμφανές γεγονός κατάλυσης της συνθήκης αυτής είναι η εισβολή στην Συρία με πρόφαση την δημιουργία μίας ζώνης ασφαλείας μέσα στο έδαφος της Συρίας για την μεταφορά των προσφύγων κάτω από τον έλεγχο της Τουρκίας αλλά με χρήματα της Ευρώπης η οποία θα αναγκαστεί να συμβάλει κάτω από την απειλή του προσφυγικού και μεταναστευτικού προβλήματος.

Όλα αυτά θα αλλάξουν και την τοποθέτηση του Κουρδικού που είναι και η μεγαλύτερη εκκρεμότητα που παραμένει από το τέλος του Β Παγκοσμίου πολέμου.

Αλλά βέβαια η αποχώρηση των Αμερικανών από την περιοχή διευκολύνει και την εγκαθίδρυση βάσεων της Ρωσίας που και αυτή αποκτά ιδιαίτερη γεωπολιτική επιρροή στην Συρία και Λιβύη.

Αυτά τα θέματα θα επανακάμψουν, μετά το τέλος της κρίσης του κορονοιού, μαζί με τις σοβαρές οικονομικές δυσκολίες.

Ας μην ξεχνιόμαστε.

αυνορα 2.jpg

 

 

 

Οπου δεν πίπτει λογος.jpg

Δεν νομίζω ότι είναι δόκιμο η αποδεκτό, κατά οποιονδήποτε τρόπο, να μιλήσει κανείς για κανένα παράπλευρο όφελος από την δράση της πανδημίας του Κορονοιού.

Αποτελεί όμως γεγονός ότι ‘Όπου δεν πίπτει λόγος πίπτει  ράβδος’ !!!!

Ποιος θα φανταζόταν ότι η ΔΕΗ θα επιτρέψει διακανονισμούς χρεών χωρίς προσωπική παρουσία.

Η επιτάχυνση της διαδικτυακής  επικοινωνίας  του κράτους με τον πολίτη και η απλοποίηση των γραφειοκρατικών διαδικασιών  γίνεται πραγματικότητα, κάτω από την πίεση των γεγονότων, τα παραδείγματα είναι πολλά και θα γίνουν περισσότερα αντιληπτά συν τον χρόνο. Ποιος θα φαντάζονταν εξουσιοδοτήσεις και βεβαιώσεις χωρίς παρουσία στα ΚΕΠ.

Ηλεκτρονική συνταγογράφιση χωρίς προσωπική επίσκεψη στον ιατρό, ηλεκτρονικά υπουργικά συμβούλια με ηλεκτρονικές υπογραφές και πρακτικά.

Απλές διαδικασίες στις τράπεζες κλπ

Η αναδιάρθρωση του Δημοσίου τομέα, συμπεριλαμβανομένου του τομέα  υγείας γίνεται με σχεδόν βίαιο τρόπο ανεξάρτητα από τις ιδεο-πολιτικές προκαταλήψεις.

Η αλληλεγγύη στην Ευρωπαϊκή ένωση έρχεται πάλι στο προσκήνιο, ο κίνδυνος της παγκόσμιας οικονομικής ύφεσης γίνεται το πραγματικό φόβητρο, η εξάρτηση της κάθε οικονομικής εθνικής  οντότητας από το σύνολο και της μίας οντότητας από την άλλη γίνεται η συγκολλητική ουσία.

Στην σκιά της υγειονομικής κρίσης, τα δόγματα αναθεωρούνται, είτε αυτά είναι οικονομικά  ή πολιτικά ακόμα και θρησκευτικά που καταλήγουν τελικά να αποκτούν  και γεωπολιτικά  χαρακτηριστικά που  καταλήγουν να εντείνουν  τριπλό ανταγωνισμό μεταξύ Ασίας, Ευρώπης και Αμερικής.

Ποιος θα φανταζόταν ότι θα έρχονται κινέζικα αεροπλάνα με εξοπλισμό και προϊόντα  βοήθειας προς την Ιταλία και την Ελλάδα αντί αντιστοίχων   Αμερικανικών.

Συνοπτικά, μπορούμε να πούμε ότι η επιζητούμενη ταχύρρυθμη προσαρμογή στις νέες συνθήκες και η εφαρμογή αναγκαίων καινοτομιών που πολλοί ήδη κατάφεραν να υιοθετήσουν, λόγω ευέλικτης προσέγγισης,  μπορεί να επιτευχθεί και από  τους υπόλοιπους, αλλά με νέο πολύ βίαιο τρόπο.

Ας παρατηρήσουμε, γύρω μας, πως ανταποκρίνονται τα διαφορετικά τμήματα της κοινωνίας μας, η νεολαία, οι ηλικιωμένοι, οι εργαζόμενοι, οι άνεργοι, επίσης πως αλλάζει η διαβίωση, ο τρόπος διασκέδασης, ο τρόπος εργασίας κλπ.

Αλλά ακόμα  και οι θετικές επιπτώσεις στο περιβάλλον δεν περνούν απαρατήρητες, όπως, η πρόσκαιρη μείωση του καυσαερίου στην ατμόσφαιρα από τον περιορισμό της κυκλοφορίας των αυτοκινήτων λόγω των περιορισμών αλλά και της υιοθέτησης εργασίας από το σπίτι, επίσης, θετικές συνέπειες εμφανίζονται  με τις καθαρότερες θάλασσες  από την μείωση των δραστηριοτήτων , ας μην ξεχνάμε και τα ψάρια που επανήλθαν στα νερά της Βενετίας.

Είναι βέβαια ακόμα άγνωστο τι θα ακολουθήσει μετά την λήξη της περιόδου της κρίσης αυτής τόσο στον τομέα υγείας αλλά και στην οικονομία. Πόσο θα επηρεασθεί στο μέλλον η τοπική οικονομία;

 

Τι θα γίνει με το μεταναστευτικό, πως θα αντιδράσει η οικονομία, θα επικρατήσει ο ανελέητος  αυθαίρετος,  άγριος ανταγωνισμός η  θα δούμε πνεύμα  συνεργασίας και αυτοπειθαρχίας, όπως φάνηκε να επικρατεί την περίοδο τις κρίσης;

Πόσα από τα πλεονεκτήματα της βίαιης προσαρμογής θα μπορέσουμε να διατηρήσουμε μετά την λήξη της κρίσης;

Αλλά και τι καινούριες καινοτομίες θα εμφανιστούν για την αντιμετώπιση μελλοντικών κρίσεων γιατί πιστεύω ότι η κρίση του Κορονοιού ήταν μία προειδοποίηση από τι κινδυνεύουμε στο μέλλον. Η Ελλάδα λόγω εξάρτησης από τον τουρισμό και τις μεταφορές αυτόματα είναι περισσότερο εξαρτημένη και από τους παγκόσμιους οικονομικούς και άλλους παράγοντες.

Ίσως το επίπεδο και η ετοιμότητα των υπηρεσιών υγείας και επικοινωνιών να αποτελέσει τις σημαντικότερες επενδύσεις για το μέλλον.

change.jpg

Ίσως μερικοί θα θυμόσαστε ότι η Amazon ανακοίνωσε ότι το βιβλίο  “Who moved my Cheese” πέτυχε ρεκόρ πωλήσεων με 21εκ. αντίτυπα μέσα σε πέντε χρόνια, κερδίζοντας το τίτλο του “best seller’ όλων των εποχών μέχρι το 2015.

Το μικρό αυτό ‘παραβολικό’ βιβλίο του Δρ Σπένσερ Τζόνσον έκλεψε το ενδιαφέρον του κοινού γιατί οι περισσότεροι ταυτίζουν τον εαυτό τους με τους δύο ήρωες, τα μικρά ανθρωπάκια, τον Χάου και τον Χεμ που ξαφνικά αντιμετωπίζουν απότομες αλλαγές στην ζωή τους, όπως η εξαφάνιση του αγαπημένου τους τυριού.

Ο ένας από τους ήρωες ο Χάου αποδεικνύεται πιο ευπροσάρμοστος στην αλλαγή και προσαρμόζεται στην κατάσταση και ξεκινά στην αναζήτηση νέου τυριού ενώ ο δεύτερος, ο Χεμ παλεύει να αλλάξει το σκεπτικό του και κολλάει.

Το δεύτερο βιβλιαράκι που πρόσφατα εκδόθηκε Έξω από τον λαβύρινθο’ αποκαλύπτει τι αναγκάστηκε να κάνει μετά και πως οι εμπειρίες του μπορούν να βοηθήσουν τον αναγνώστη να ξεκλειδώσει τους αδιέξοδους που ενδεχομένως αντιμετωπίζει ο καθένας στον λαβύρινθο της  ζωής.

Το τυρί  αποτελεί την μεταφορική έννοια για οτιδήποτε επιθυμεί κανείς στην ζωή, την επιτυχία στην επαγγελματική ανέλιξη, ο έρωτας, χρήματα, περιουσία, καλή υγεία, πνευματική ισορροπία και ηρεμία.

Ο λαβύρινθος αποτελεί την μεταφορική έννοια όποιας  πρόκλησης η δύσκολης περίστασης αντιμετωπίζει κανείς και στερεί την ικανοποίηση να γευτεί  το αγαπημένο τυρί.

Τα δύο αυτά παραβολικά βιβλία εκφράζουν  εκπληκτικά τα σημεία την καιρών μας χωρίς να περιορίζονται σε ατομικά στοιχεία, επεκτείνονται σε ευρύτερα θέματα όπως η κοινωνία η πολιτική τα έθνη, η επιστήμη, η οικονομία. Όλοι μας έχουμε να κερδίσουμε από τις παραβολές και τις αλήθειες που αναβλύζουν από τις σελίδες και των δύο αυτών βιβλίων που έφθασαν σήμερα να γίνουν σχεδόν προφητικά.

Δεν είναι βέβαια να συνοψίσω την σοφία που περιλαμβάνεται απλά θέλω να προτρέψω τους φίλους και συνεργάτες να τα διαβάσουν γιατί είμαι βέβαιος ότι θα βοηθήσουν να ξεφύγουν πολλοί από εμάς από πολλές προκαταλήψεις με τις οποίες ζούμε και πεθαίνουμε σε αναζητήσεις μέσα στον λαβύρινθο τρέχοντας σαν τα ποντίκια και μάλιστα κουβαλώντας όπως ο Χεμ ακόμα και άχρηστα βαριά εργαλεία που ποτέ δεν χρησιμεύουν.

NK

 

 

mporoume-svisoume-anamniseis-ponoun (1).jpeg

 

Λένε ότι για κάθε άνθρωπο, την στιγμή τ ου κινδύνου,  η ζωή περνά από το μυαλό σαν μια ταινία η ένα όνειρο λίγων δευτερολέπτων.

Ίσως αυτό να μην είναι απόλυτα ακριβές αλλά ίσως η ζωή που τελικά αποτυπώνεται στην μνήμη να  αποτελείται από σκηνές σαν από ταινία που πάντα μένουν χαραγμένες στο μυαλό του  διότι παίζονται ξανά και ξανά έτσι που τελικά δεν σβήνονται και αποτελούν τον σκελετό της ύπαρξής σου.

 

Γιατί πραγματικά, αν αναλογιστεί κανείς τι μένει, από εκείνες τις εκατομμύρια στιγμές, είναι εκείνες που παραμένουν αναλλοίωτες μέσα στην μνήμη και ανακαλούνται πάντα ίδιες και ξεχωριστές χωρίς να γίνεται συνειδητά κάποια επιλογή όταν κανείς ανατρέχει σε διάφορες φάσεις και περιόδους της ζωής του, από την πρώτη στιγμή που σαν νήπιο θυμάσαι μέχρι και την στιγμή που θα νιώσεις το τέλος σου να έρχεται.

 

Είναι στιγμές σε μορφή εικόνας, ήχος ή φωνές, αισθήσεις ή αφή αισθήματα, αλλά και μορφές, ονόματα που πολλές φορές δεν μπορείς συνειδητά να  αποδεχθείς ότι αποτελούν μέρος, σημαντικό ή μη της δικής σου ζωής και ύπαρξης.

 

Κι’ όμως  αυτές είναι οι στιγμές  που τελικά αποτελούν το εσύ και εγώ της ύπαρξης σου. Οι υπόλοιπες χάνονται στο άπειρο του χρόνου και είναι σχεδόν σαν να μην υπήρξαν.

ΝΚ