Archives for category: Πολιτικές Σκέψεις

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cyprus EEZ

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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.

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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.

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The Turkish EEZ in Aegean and Black Sea

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Turkish EEZ in Mediterranean Sea.

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

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

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The conflict in Libya seems to acquire symbolic importance in the period we are going through today.

This conflict transcends the geographical boundaries of the Mediterranean and extend to a global scale, signifying the ongoing conflict of two worlds.

It contains both elements of geopolitical rivalries but also elements of socio-political principles established after two world wars and the post-communist changes in the Soviet Union, but also after the developments in the «Arab Spring», the war in Iraq and Syria in particular, which coincided with the initial consequences of climatic changes that have contributed to the creation of millions of refugees and illegal immigrants who are trying to shelter in Europe.

It is really rare, even unique to observe Libya gaining legitimacy from the UN with a government that does not represent the country’s parliament, which, in turn, supports a military government supported by the majority of the country’s population.

At the same time, foreign forces, supporting different factions. intervene, i.e. Turkey and Russia, the former intervenes on the side of the government, while the latter supports the military government, both intervene in violation of UN bans.

So what’s going on at the Berlin meeting, and why was Greece not invited to that meeting?

It is quite clear that Germany and Greece belong to separate camps, while Germany depends heavily on oil supplies from Russia, the rest of Southern Europe and mainly France and Italy depend on Libya oil and the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

At the same time, Germany has special economic ties with Turkey as well as it accommodates 5 millions of Turkish immigrants who naturally are influenced by their mother country.

These two reasons put Germany at odds with the rest of the European Union, and in particular with the countries of the South and the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean countries.

But the worst consequence of Germany’s behavior is not economic, under these pressures, Germany is dragged by Turkey, which violates the principles of international law established after the bloodshed of two world wars. Turkey does not recognize the UN,  neither international law nor maritime law. Instead, it adopts a tactical approach “pick and choose” according to its individual interests.

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Η σύγκρουση στην Λιβύη φαίνεται να αποκτά συμβολικά χαρακτηριστικά των σημείων και καιρών που διανύει ο κόσμος σήμερα.

Τα χαρακτηριστικά αυτά ξεπερνούν τα γεωγραφικά όρια της Μεσογείου και επεκτείνονται σε παγκόσμια κλίμακα και υποδηλούν την σύγκρουση δύο κόσμων που βρίσκεται σε εξέλιξη. Εμπεριέχει τόσο στοιχεία γεωπολιτικών ανταγωνισμών  αλλά και στοιχεία αμφισβήτησης κοινωνικοπολιτικών αρχών που καθιερώθηκαν μετά από δύο παγκόσμιους πολέμους και των ανακατατάξεων μετά την πτώση του κουμμουνιστικού καθεστώτος στην Σοβιετική Ένωση, αλλά και των εξελίξεων, της Αραβικής Άνοιξης, των πολέμων στο Ιράκ και την Συρία. Ειδικά ο πόλεμος Στην Συρία  συν έπεσε με τα πρώτα δείγματα των επιπτώσεων της κλιματικής αλλαγής  που συνέβαλαν στην δημιουργία εκατομμυρίων προσφύγων και παράνομων οικονομικών μεταναστών που προσπαθούν να επιβιώσουν με καταφύγιο την Ευρώπη.

Είναι σπάνιο σχεδόν πρωτοφανές να βλέπουμε στην Λιβύη  να αποκτά νομιμότητα από τον ΟΗΕ μία Κυβέρνηση που δεν εκπροσωπεί το κοινοβούλιο της χώρας το οποίο, αντίθετα, στηρίζει μία στρατιωτική κυβέρνηση που υποστηρίζεται από το μεγαλύτερο μέρος του πληθυσμού της χώρας.

Ταυτόχρονα επεμβαίνουν ξένες δυνάμεις που στηρίζουν διαφορετικές παρατάξεις, Τουρκία και Ρωσία, η πρώτη στο όνομα της νόμιμης κυβέρνησης που παρέχει ο ΟΗΕ, ενώ η δεύτερη στηρίζει την στρατιωτική κυβέρνηση, και οι δύο κατά παράβαση των απαγορεύσεων που επιβάλει ο ΟΗΕ.

Τι συμβαίνει λοιπόν στην σύσκεψη του Βερολίνου, και γιατί δεν προσεκλήθη η Ελλάδα στην σύσκεψη αυτή;

Είναι απόλυτα εμφανές ότι η Γερμανία και η Ελλάδα ανήκουν σε ξεχωριστά στρατόπεδα η μεν Γερμανία εξαρτάτε απόλυτα από την τροφοδοσία πετρελαίου από την Ρωσία, ενώ η υπόλοιπη Νότια Ευρώπη και κυρίως η Γαλλία και Ιταλία  εξαρτάτε από την Λιβύη και  Ανατολική Μεσόγειο και Μέση Ανατολή. Ταυτόχρονα η Γερμανία έχει ειδικούς οικονομικούς δεσμούς με την Τουρκία. Αυτοί οι δύο λόγοι φέρνουν την Γερμανία σε αντίθεση με την υπόλοιπη Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και κυρίως τις χώρες του Νότου και τις υπόλοιπες χώρες της Ανατολικής Μεσογείου.

Η χειρότερη όμως συνέπεια της συμπεριφοράς της Γερμανίας δεν είναι οικονομική, κάτω από τις πιέσεις  αυτές, η Γερμανία σύρεται από την Τουρκία που παραβιάζει τις αρχές της διεθνούς νομιμότητας που καθιερώθηκαν μετά από την αιματοχυσία δύο παγκοσμίων πολέμων. Η Τουρκία δεν αναγνωρίζει τον ΟΗΕ ούτε το Διεθνές Δίκαιο ούτε το Δίκαιο Θαλάσσης. Αντίθετα υιοθετεί την τακτική ‘κατ’ επιλογή’ εφαρμογή του νόμου ανάλογα με τα κατά περίπτωση   συμφέροντά της.

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The problem with Turkey is the fact that insist to pursue destructive and not constructive policies.

Turkey is not trying to cooperate with its neighbors but to force every nation to accept  Turkey’s  ambitions to  play the role of a regional and global superpower.

Turkey is trying to exploit all strengths and weaknesses of players in the international and local power game irrespective of any issue, that bears  no respect to any right of other members.

The most obvious aggressive policy, is demonstrated with Turkey’s position against the rights of the Greek islands to have their own EEZ.

We all understand why Turkey has not signed conformance to international law of the sea, but this does not mean that a country consisting of a major part from a group of islands looses all is rights to have their own  EEZ.

This attitude will not help Turkey to play the role of even a regional power not to mention the role of a global super power.

It is also obvious that Turkey wants to capitalize on the weaknesses of a country in the middle of a civil war, as in the case  of Libya. They claim they support  a crippling government, which is recognized by UN while at the same, it totally discards UN resolutions against Turkey as well as the government of Cyprus.

Turkey is taking advantage of the Russian interest to maintain a monopoly in being the main energy supplier.

At the same time Turkey is trying   to protect its interest to provide the only alternative  to forward   gas and oil supplies from Middle East.

Finally, Turkey is also capitalizing on the fear of EU to accommodate millions of Muslims refugees from Syria, Africa and Afghanistan,  who may include a number of Islamic Terrorist.

Nobody is claiming that Turkey should not participate, in many ways, to share the profits of East Med project on the basis of International law regarding EEZ even if the profits may take into account Turkey’s position as a large mainland country that would abandon some of  its own alternatives, in preference of joint cooperation with the rest of Mediterranean  neighbors.

East Med project would have  brought closer Turkey to EU, USA, NATO , Italy, Israel and the rest of its Mediterranean countries.

 

 

 

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Όπως για πολλά χρόνια η Ελληνική πολιτική εικόνα μέσα ατο 2019 εξακολουθεί να είναι αντιφατική και να προκαλεί σοβαρό σκεπτικισμό.
Ένας πραγματικά ουδέτερος παρατηρητής προβληματίζεται.
Ο τρόπος που ερμηνεύει η κάθε πολιτική παράταξη τα γεγονότα είναι αντιφατικά τόσο που είναι αδύνατο ο απλός πολίτης να βγάλει κάποιο συμπέρασμα.
Ο εορτασμός του Πολυτεχνείου στις 17 Νοεμβρίου έχει μετατραπεί από μια εορτή ηρωισμού της Ελληνικής νεολαίας κατά της φασιστικής δεξιάς σε εκδήλωση μίας αναρχικής μειονότητας η οποία ενισχύεται από πολλαπλές ομάδες διαφόρων πολιτικών αποχρώσεων που περιλαμβάνουν αντιφρονούντες αντιστασιακούς, ακροαριστερούς άτομα της εξωκοινοβουλευτικούς αριστεράς, τραμπούκους κλπ΄
Το λυπηρό είναι ότι αρκετά κόμματα της κοινοβουλευτικής Δημοκρατίας για λόγους κάποιας περίεργης σκοπιμότητας στηρίζουν τις ομάδες αυτές.
Σαν αποτέλεσμα δημιουργούνται παράπλευρες επιπτώσεις όπως κατηγορίες των πολιτικών αντιπάλων ότι επιβάλουν αστυνομοκρατία σε κάθε προσπάθεια καταστολής σε άνομες πρακτικές.
Σε ένα τέτοιο περιβάλλον είναι πολύ δύσκολο για τον απλό πολίτη να βγάλει ξεκάθαρα συμπεράσματα.
Αναρωτιέμαι ποια θα πρέπει να είναι τα όρια της νομιμότητας ΄΄ώστε να μην αμφισβητείται η κάθε προσπάθεια της αστυνομίας και να μην θεωρείται υπέρβαση εξουσίας.
Πως είναι δυνατόν να λειτουργήσει αποτελεσματικά η αστυνομία αν στο επίπεδο της πολιτικής αντιδικίας υπάρχει διαφωνία;
Είναι ή δεν είναι απόφαση της συγκλήτου ενός Πανεπιστημίου να κλείσει προληπτικά συγκεκριμένες μέρες το πανεπιστήμιο όταν υπάρχουν ενδείξεις για επερχόμενες παράνομες πράξεις;
Εάν αμφισβητεί η αντιπολίτευση την δικαιοδοσία της συγκλήτου στο δικαίωμα αυτό πως είναι δυνατόν να επιβληθεί η έννομη τάξη στους παραβάτες;
Και αν αμφισβητείται το δικαίωμα της πλειοψηφίας από την μειοψηφία , να ψηφίζει νόμους πως θα λειτουργήσει η δημοκρατία;
Έτσι παρέχεται στήριξη και δικαιολογία σε κάθε είδους παραβατικές ομάδες να επιλέγουν πότε θα εκτελούν παρανομίες και πότε όχι.
Αυτό δεν είναι δημοκρατία.

ΝΚ

FROM CANDIA TO CRETAN ‘BOW’ TO OTTOMAN TURKS AND UNION WITH GREECE

(OR CRETE THROUGH THE AGES.)

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El Greco, Dominikos Theotokopoulos  a famous Cretan painter

A historical overview of the centuries covering the description of characteristics  of Cretans and their efforts to retain their identity, after being attacked and occupied by Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Venetians, Egyptians and Ottomans. At the same time it is worth noting the Cretans ability to absorb and exchange cultures with all invaders including exiles who found refuge in the island, like exiles from Andalusia or even Greek refugees from Asia Minor after the defeat of the Greek army during 1922.  Finally a bird’s eye view is given to the complex situation that led to the existence of Turkish Cretans who many of them still speak the Cretan dialect, as well as the causes that created the Crypto-Christians.

The following report contains enough details that can be used as a source of reference to support credible conclusions. I would ask to be excused for making this article too long but it was necessary to include extensive chronological details to support events that took place over extensive periods which had special importance for historical developments for Crete, Greece and Turkey.  

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Arabs arrive in Crete exiles from Andalousia to join Sarakynes already occupying Hadakas

The recent Turkey’s attempts to question the sovereignty of Cyprus and its rights to its own EEZ as well as it’s attempts to extend Turkey’s EEZ in Aegean Sea violating Dodecanese’s EEZ even Crete’s EEZ, motivated me to recollect in this article historical events for the benefit of every person who is interested to learn about Cretan history through the ages including medieval period.

This may also be of interest to Turkish people with origin from Crete, after all, these are their roots as well.

I have heard many Turks of Cretan origin stating:

“Turkey shouldn’t allow the same thing to happen in Cyprus, and become a Greek island like what happened in Crete ”.

The history of Cyprus resembles very much to the history of Crete exempt for the origin of Turkish minority of Cyprus and the cultural difference developed during renascence.

To properly understand the history of Crete and its current position as a purely Greek island one needs to go through from the Roman and Byzantine time, and three periods of foreign occupations the Arab, the Venetian and the Ottoman.

The name Crete comes from the Mythical “Kourites” the first inhabitants of Crete according to Greek Mythology.

Crete during the Roman period

Crete as a part of the Roman Empire managed to retain some independence but became part of the Eastern Empire, during 396 AD, due to its geographical position, yet, remained under Pop’s jurisdiction for a longer period.

With the exception of an attack by the “Vandals” in 457 AD the island remained peaceful and prosperous for centuries.

The population at this time is estimated at 250,000

The “Vandals” were an East Germanic tribal group that moved throughout Europe establishing kingdoms in Spain and later in North Africa during the 5th century.AD

Before that during the 2nd century BC the Vandals migrated from southern Scandinavia to the area between the Oder and Vistula rivers around 330 AD. They were confined by the Goths to Pannonia, where they were licensed to settle by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great.

Around 400 AD the Vandals were driven west again, this time by the Huns, crossing the Rhine towards Galatia, In 439 AD after many struggles, they conquered “Carthage” and made it their capital.

They built a fleet and began pirate raids that reached as far as Greece, where they tried to invade Peloponnese, but were defeated by the Greeks.

The “Vandals”, in 455, came to Italy with a powerful pirate fleet and occupied Rome. Their troops plundered the city for two weeks and brutally destroyed all works of art: buildings, statues, artifacts, etc. This act remained in history under the name of «vandalism».

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Many Vandals embraced “Arianism”. Eventually they were defeated by the Byzantines.

The remains of the “Vandals” were mixed with other tribes of North Africa (Berbers, etc.) and gradually disappeared.

Many of the captives were incorporated into the imperial army and assimilated into the multinational Byzantine Empire

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The relationship between Crete and Byzantium.

The relations between Crete and the Byzantines were not always smooth, the problems were generated due to Saracens who occupied part of Crete and the religious conflicts within Christianity at the time.

It is most important to appreciate the effect that the internal conflicts, within the Christian world had on Crete, at the time.

To make Christianity more easily accepted in the Greek and Italian peninsulas, hagiography and sculpture were originally developed as part of Christian worship, as the peoples of these areas had pagan origins and the form of ancient religions included worshiping of cults and sculptures in their temples.

This approach caused animosity from Byzantine Emperors coming from regions of the East where purely Jewish religions with the anti-icon typical prevailed. Such Emperors thought of worship of Western images as a remnant of ancient religions that had to be eliminated.

Byzantines, eventually, failed to impose “iconoclasm” on the Italian peninsula, hence Constantinople-Rome relations deteriorated.

After the issue of an “iconoclastic” decree, which made iconoclastic teaching an official doctrine of the state and the Church, rupture was inevitable. The Pope urged the faithful to revolt against the Byzantine authority

The Cretans who were mostly influenced by the Pope, revolted against Constantinople.  With the help of other Greeks, from other areas, ranged an attack against Constantinople using a fleet from Crete and the Cycladic islands. The fleet was, eventually, completely destroyed by “liquid fire” off Constantinople.

Religious disagreement was followed by political alienation. The first political consequences of the iconoclasm were the widening of the gap between Constantinople and Rome and the weakening of the eastern Roman state’s position on the Italian peninsula. This had a serious effect in the coming years during the renascence.

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Nikiforos Focas Byzantine Emperor that Liberated Handakas from Sarakynes

Foreign Occupations of Crete

Crete, situated at the crossroads of three continents, has a history of 3000 years and has experienced three main periods of foreign occupation in medieval and later times.

 

  1. The Arab occupation

The Arab occupation, from 827 to 961, left almost nothing in the way of material remains and little or no evidence of cultural interchange.

The Arabs fortified the main town with a deep defensive ditch which gave its name to the town: El Khandak, or in Greek Chandax. Later the name prevailed as Candia. This appellation came to be applied to both the town and the whole island in the later Middle Ages.

During the iconoclastic internal Christian conflict period, a group of exiles from Andalusia landed in Crete with their families, having a long history of wandering in the Mediterranean.

Legend has it that after their arrival in Crete, they burned their ships. They were the survivors of the failed coup against Emir al-Hakam I of Cordoba.

The exiles of Andalusia, who were mostly Mozartes of Roman origin, led by Abu Hafez, established the city of Chandaka in a possibly uninhabited area, with no reaction from the local Cretan Greek population, as the exiles did not move to the rest of the island. In addition, Roman rule was characterized by corruption and heavy taxation as well as extreme persecutions against the island’s iconoclasts such as St. Andronicus and the martyred Saint Andrew

The story of the Arab emirate inside is not clear as very few survived the Byzantine attack during 961.

However, it is certain that Crete was not a colony of pirates as described by some Byzantine sources. Archaeological findings and references from the Arab world show that Chandakas was the only town that. Islam appears to be confined and does not spread in other areas of the inland.

The existence of leading Greek personalities suggests the involvement of many Greeks, collaborated with the exiles from Andalusia during the 9th and 10th centuries.

Gradually these exiles were totally assimilated by the Cretans

It is interesting to note that the exiles of Andalusia helped the Cretans react against Byzantines, not so much with their numbers, which was insignificant in comparison with the Byzantine Empire as in their alliances with the Arab world.

So Crete, a sparsely populated island at the time, became part of a larger whole and de facto autonomous state that survived as such for one and a half centuries. This also indicates the capacity of the Greek population and culture to absorb alien groups due to culture and language.

Finally the Byzantines, defeated the Arab Satakynes the sprig of 96i.

At this time, the Byzantine Emperor Romanos II, of the so-called Macedonian dynasty (867 – 1056) – many historians claim that he was Armenian,   launched a huge campaign, under general Nikiforos Fokas who also was false fully referred as Armenian and managed to concur Chandakas and finished the Emirate state.

Nikiforos Fokas was later celebrated by Cretans as a liberator from the Arabs.

 

 

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  1. Venetian occupation.

The second occupation, by the Most Serene Republic of Venice, is by far the longest of the three, it lasted 440 years, from 1211, when the Venetians finally succeeded in taking possession of the prize for which they had paid 1,000 marks to Boniface of Montferrat, until the Fall of Candia in 1669, following a siege lasting twenty-one years.

The Republic of Venice was a rally of citizens of the Western Roman state that has ceased to exist since 476 AD. It was the last Roman occupation of the eastern Roman state in the Italian peninsula, with the Goths plundering Rome until 726 AD, at the time of the issuance of the iconoclastic decree of the Byzantines.

Since then it has enjoyed autonomy from the Byzantines due to the regular military assistance they were giving.

This historical coincidence will prove valuable, in the future, for the island of Crete, as the presence of the Venetians in the Aegean and the extensive fortifications carried out on the island during this period which kept Crete unaffected from most developments in the East over the next centuries, especially the early years of the Ottoman Empire, which were the darkest for the whole area.

The Venetian occupation of Crete was not free of numerous revolts and fighting from the Cretans.

The first Venetian Duke of Crete, Jacob Tiepolo, settled in Chandakas in 1209.

Two years later, while the Venetians were still in the process of trading with Malta’s Genovese Count, Errico Pescatore, the «Saint’s» revolution broke out.

It was a Cretan family who took up arms. The Cretans united around them, occupied the fortresses of Mirabellos and Sitia and dominated Eastern Crete.

The efforts to liberate Crete from Venetians was going on with intervals of piece especially because the aristocrats of Crete did not always rebel in search of national restoration but in order to regain their own feudal privileges when they happened to be affected.

As a result aristocrats from Crete assimilated with the Venetian feudal lords, as they preferred to be subordinate to Venetian aristocracy.

A characteristic example took place after a revolt, in 1299, the Venetians were forced to propose peace.

The treaty included 33 articles. Among them:

  • The Venetian and local people are free.
  • The re-establishment of the Orthodox Bishop is permitted.
  • The release of slaves is permitted.
  • Moving and creating a home is free throughout the island.
  • Feudal property may be transferred to third parties.
  • The purchase and possession of horses by local feudal lords is permitted.
  • The leader of the revolt himself and his descendants are recognized as Venetian nobles (and not merely equals) he acquire new lands (12 feudal lords).

The main message is that a new mixed society was evolving that included a unified aristocracy and middle class, Venetians were becoming Cretans and Cretans were becoming Venetians.

The Cretans secured the right of local aristocrats to marry Venetian or to give wives of their families as wives of Venetian feudal lords.

At that time, the Venetians of Crete were fewer than 10,000, with locals were  at least ten times more. The Cretans hoped that by mixed marriages, the Venetians would soon be absorbed.

Most Venetians were already speaking Greek!!!

Progressively, the metropolis of Venice itself functioned as a federation center with its holdings administered by the Venetians, but operating as federations. In the Ionian Islands, the Venetian presence seemed suffocating, because the Ionian Islands were regarded as advanced guardians of the Venetian Aristocracy, guards at the entrance to the Adriatic.

Crete, however, as a location, as an area and as a composition of the population, functioned differently. The Venetians there were Hellenized.

The feudal lords lived in their world in the countryside but in the cities the nobles were few, the bourgeois more, the people even more so.

The cities were transformed into great ports that allowed free contact with all strangers, the opening of society to more flexible morals, the marriage of nations. The few Venetians brought with them the western lifestyle. The Cretans seeking higher education in Venice went on to study in addition to the education that the island was already providing.

They came back enriched with their knowledge of Venetian culture. Such «educational exchanges» led to the creation of at least one theater in the city of Heraklion during the last century of Venetian rule.

Hagiography and organized bibliographic laboratories testify to the existence of an advanced cultural level. Names of prominent Greeks signify the existence of spiritual infrastructure on the island that brought them to life.

The first popular songs about local heroes must be traced back to the time when “Nikephoros Fokas” recovered Crete from the Arabs.. The verse from the epic poem «the tombstone” sounds similar to the epic for the Greek hero, protector of remote frontiers, “Digenis Akritas”.

Battle events were transformed into folk songs but at the same time, during   night, in the taverns, people were singing songs of joy and entertainment «The young man seeks a kiss and the daughter asks for a ring». And then, the composers envied the glory. All signs of a happy and quite period.

The boom in commerce, the transformation of cities into big and busy ports, the creation of a banking system have helped for freed morals to evolve.

The wind of the Renaissance made religion change its heavy and dark side. Faith remained deep, but the faithful did not associate “life after death” transition to paradise with forced abstinence from the joys of life. There, around 1600 AD, Numerous “Cultural Academies» sprang up in Crete, including private literary associations, with member subscriptions of high society, Venetian lords, officers, and public officials. The Cretans stared to organize «evenings» of culture, in mansions either with theatrical performances or with simple recitations. In Italian. These theatrical plays and poems did not claim literary laurels. They were mainly guided by the elements that would make the evening enjoyable.

Yet there were no theatrical works written in Greek. But soon Cretans started writing works themselves. Initially based on Italian standards which were converted in Greek, European morals were gradually replaced by the ones prevailing in Crete, at the beginning the started with foreign successes. Subsequently, works began to be written fully in Greek, original or abstracted from foreign works but adapted to Greek reality.

Some works, admittedly, were naive, others had some artistic value, and some reached the level of masterpieces: Tragedies, dramas, comedies.

Clubs of amateur actors were created. There were performances of Greek works, for, the first time since the time of the ancient drama, everywhere, in houses, in open squares.

Erotokritos modern performace l ink

The competition of the authors created what we call the «flourishing of Cretan literature».

Even the existence of one theater in Handaka makes us suspect that there was also a professional effort.

Subsequently, works began to be written, as original or extracted from foreign works but adapted to Greek reality.

This was the period many works of Greek literature, poems and theatrical plays were written by Greek personalities of literature and art, realizing the passage from the dark years of medieval times to renascence. We could refer to many names that acquired international status in art and literature including names such as El Greco and others.

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El Greco- Dominikos Theotokooulos

The golden age of Cretan literature was abruptly interrupted on its take-off, when Crete bowed to the Turks. When the Greek consciousness was also consolidated.

It is worth emphasizing that this was taking place at the same time the rest of Greece was deep in dark ages under the Ottoman occupation that even basic Greek schooling was suppressed and taking place underground in secret.

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Secret schooling in Greece under Turkish ocupation

All this under the umbrella of Ethnic or religious imperialism.

Crete represented, excluding the islands of Ionian Sea, the only case of retaining Hellenism in culture and identity that was influenced by renascence.

 

 

 

  1. The Ottoman occupation

Thus began the third period of occupation, by the Ottoman Turks, which was to end only in 1897. In fact was the smallest period

In the 17th century, and after the Ottomans had secured the preservation of Constantinople in their hands, they turned their eyes to new conquests.

It was the time of the plots in the Ottoman Empire. One-time sultans descended on Constantinople. In 1640, Ibrahim succeeded Murat II, who had just abolished child molestation. He managed to prevail.

Crete has assumed a central role in their expansionist policy because of its strategic position in the Mediterranean.

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After fierce battles, the Ottomans managed to conquer Chania in 1645 and Rethymnon in 1646, but the last fortress, the Grand Castle of Chandaka, remained in the hands of the Venetians and Cretans who jointly defended the island until 1669, when it fell out of betrayal. After 21 years siege, Handaka surrender to the Ottomans and this marked the beginning of a martyrdom for the islanders and interrupted the commercial and cultural progress achieved over 400 years with integration of Cretans and Venetians as described above.

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Battle between Venetians and Turks over Crete.

( Two donkeys were quarreling in a foreign barn)

After the fall of Chandaka, in September 1669, a dark period begins, full of turmoil, for Crete.

While enlightenment followed in the western world, medieval regeneration followed, in Crete, for almost two centuries.

The existence of the fortress of Chandaka was one of the reasons why the Ottomans did not attack Crete earlier than 1644 and did not move populations to the island, as they had done in Cyprus and other areas.  .

Chandakas was the strongest fortress in the Mediterranean of its time, allowing the island of Crete to be controlled with a small number of troops, as it could withstand a threat until reinforcements would arrive.

It is noteworthy that for the fall of Chandaka fortress, after the last rebuilding from the Venetians, it took an Ottoman empire at its peak, 25 years of effort and thousands of dead to concur.

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Handakas fell to the Turks on September 27, 1669, when the Turkish occupation in Crete was already a quarter century behind.

The Ottoman Empire counted 70,000 thousands of dead soldiers in total during the Cretan war of 1644-1669, many of which fell outside the walls of Chandaka.

The island of Crete was proclaimed a province of the Ottoman Empire in 1646 after the Ottomans occupied its western part during the Great Cretan War.

The Venetians retained control of the capital, Heraklion, until 1669, when Francesco Morosini , famous for the bombing of Athens Parthenon, handed over the keys to the city to the Ottomans. The sea forts of Souda, Gramvousa and Spinalonga remained under Venetian control until 1715, when they also fell under Ottoman control.

After the conquest of Crete by the Ottomans, the economy and trade of the Venetians, in the East, suffered a great blow, while the prestige and influence of Venice, as a world great power, declined dramatically.

The refugees from Crete, who fled to the Venetian controlled Ionian Greek Islands, transplanted elements of Cretan culture there.

The formation of the social structure of the Ionian Islands will be greatly influenced by the vibrant cultural presence of Cretan refugees, carriers of long-standing cultural traditions..

 In Crete, a new period full of martyrs begins for the island, the «Turkish occupation» with disasters, oppression and heavy taxation.

Trade and economic activity declined, the locals lost their land and most of them became slaves, and the majority of Christians fled to the mountains, where living conditions were difficult, but there was no Turkish oppression and occupation.

The island of Crete, since its conquest, was the worst ruled province of the Ottoman Empire.

The power during the Turkish occupation was exercised by the so-called «Turkish Cretans». They were Greeks of Cretan origin and speakers in most cases only of the Cretan dialect who were converted to Islam for economic and social reasons but mainly because of the role played by the Orthodox Church during the great Cretan war. They were referred to as shameless believers in Islam and oppressors of Christians, often autonomous and in conflict even with the «High Gate». Some were superficially presenting themselves as Muslims and some not, they reached, even 47% of the island’s population, at one time or another.

On paper, the Turkish occupation was perfectly designed.

Crete was a separate vilayet with a general commander based in Chandaka.

The Venetian administrative division was maintained and the four districts (Sitia, Chandaka, Rethymno and Chania) were simply renamed

The settlements were supposed to be taxed in five tax categories:

The tax system was based on the «sharia», the sacred law of the Ottomans.

In practice, nothing of above worked, there was only the head tax (percentage of income and the «property») as the sultan prohibited any other taxation, which was supposed to make the island one of the most privileged areas of the Ottoman Empire.

Yet, non-Muslim residents were required to pay a head tax and two land taxes, one of which was the so-called harac-I mucaseme,  which typically accounted for 1/5 of production which in practice ended up to 60% of production.

The countryside was obliged to provide other products such as animals, wool, hay, firewood, cheese, oil, honey, raisins, etc. In the summer they had to carry 6,500 cargo of snow from the mountains.

In order to avoid the tax, the Cretans stopped cultivating their fields.

To overcome this problem, a tax was levied on uncultivated land, based on former year’s volumes of production!

The most privileged, however, were the Sfakians who maintained their autonomy, as did with the Venetians, and had the sole obligation to send two snow loads each year to the Valide Sultana (the mother of the king). And later, they paid a token and 5,000 “grosia” a year.

In practice, the Turkish occupation proved cruel and merciless.

The Turks who settled there were the army and the administration staff itself. And any pasha sent (commander) who did not agree with the local power and administration, was either persecuted, slaughtered, or forced to resign. This behavior was such as to annoy even the fanatical Islamists. But no one dared object the local Ottoman status quo, which was even aided by ordinary clerics.

Life, property, family, women and children were at the mercy of the Turks.

Violence was on the agenda.

The Christian was at the disposal of any random Muslim.

The Cretans sent an embassy to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, asking what would happen if they were to pretend that pretending to be Muslims, to save themselves. The answer was a verse taken directly from the Gospel:

«If you deny me in front of people, I deny that in front of my Father in Heaven.»

The Cretans were desperate. Many have decided to voluntarily join Islam.

Some Cretans also remembered the Cretan Patriarch of Jerusalem, Nektarios Pelopidas (1664 – 1682), and thought to put the same question to him. Nektarios replied that in order to save their heads, tit was ok to pretend. As a result, entire villages seem to have changed their faith.

Many of their decedents managed to remain secretly Christians. Others did not find the reason to have an obvious and hidden religion and remained Muslim.

It was the Turks who grabbed and made their own whatever Christian women liked. Their children became Muslims.

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Ethnic map of Crete during Turkish occupation

A few generations later, Muslims constituted almost the majority on the island. Greek Christians and Greek Muslims, however, were waiting for the first opportunity to rise against Ottomans.

The «revolutionary activities» was never lacking in Crete.

In the remote mountains, the Cretans lived freely and always armed. There were those who co-existed with the Venetians who lived in the three fortified islands.

At every opportunity, either in collaboration with «Cretans from the mountain» and «islanders» or on independent initiatives, these guerrillas organized attacks against the most brutal of the Turks and annihilated them.

On the other hand the Turkish «Pasha» was tolerant to any Turkish aggressiveness but he had also to face the cruel punishment from the Cretans. These disobedient Cretan rebels were called: “Chainides”: by the Turks.

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“Chainides”

The Venetians had not totally abandon Crete.

The Venetian admiral appeared with his fleet off the coast of Crete in 1692. He landed on the island and besieged Chania, telling the Cretans that it was time to expel the Turks from the island.

Plenty of Cretans from the mountains and islands of the Venetians rushed to step up the siege. Others, , besieged and took the castle of Kissamos. And as the revolution began to spread, the Venetians dismantled the siege and left.

The Turks took back the fortress of Kissamos. Turkish reprisals broke out with massacres against Christians. By1715, the Venetians had decided that they would not recover Crete.

They also abandoned the fortified islands of Spinalonga and Souda.

The Turks rushed to take possession of them.

The Venetians of Spinalonga became Muslims. The Greeks of Souda were scattered back to the mountains.

 

The Russians

The next who promised Cretans freedom and convinced them to revolt were the Russians.

In 1768, another war between Russia and Turkey broke out. The Russian fleet came out to the Mediterranean, Russian agents promised everything to the Cretans, as well as the rest of the Greeks. The revolutionary wind blew on the island.

On March 25, 1770, Cretans raised the flag of the revolution at Sfakia. The Russians never came to help.

The revolution was confined in Sfakia. It lasted a whole year. They gave up after the death of their leader’ : 3,600 Sfakians were killed or sold into slavery, 1,500 died of the hardships of war, over 2,000 migrated to the Ionian Islands,  Cyclades, Italy and Russia. The remaining 4,000 were ordered to pay an annual Charats tax. They never paid it.

Using this revolt as an excuse, the Turks ranged savage persecutions against the Christians who suffered terribly. The atrocities were such that the sultan himself was obliged to send an army twice to suppress the atrocities:

In 1812, Hatzie Osman succeeded Kyoutachi. They both hanged many Turks as an example to prevent further atrocities, but were forced to flee, chased by their own furious compatriots.

The Cretans took to the mountains.

The situation after 1821. The Greek revolution in the Greek mainland

In 1821, Crete numbered 120,000 Turks and 140,000 Greeks. The Turks had 20,000 well-armed soldiers and the Greeks had 1,200 weapons (eight hundred Sfakians and four hundred, other villages at the foot of the White Mountains).

A first meeting of Greek leaders at Sfakia (April 7, 1821,) gave the message that it was time for Crete to rise.

A letter was sent to Hydra and Spetses requesting the grant of 2,000 rifles and 15 ships.

The first battle took place on June 14, when the Turks of Chania came out for “head haunting”. The Greeks fell on them and forced them to flee.

The Turks were throwing away their weapons that the attackers had devotedly collected as they desperately needed them. Greek successes continued in July.

In August, Serif Pasha, launched a combined campaign.

He lost many battles but managed to reach Sfakia, his first conquest after half a century (since the revolution, of 1770).

The civilians paid for it as the armed population scattered in the mountains.

Serif Pasha returned to his base. The Cretans took up arms again.

By the end of 1821, all of Crete was free except for the castles, where the Turks had fled.

In May 1822, a sultan fleet of forty warships ships arrived in Crete. In Souda, an army of 10,000 Albanian mercenaries landed under General Hassan Pasha. In the summer of 1823, there were also fifty Egyptian war ships, and a number of carrier ships under Ismail Gibraltar, also in Souda. Egyptian troops landed on the island under Hussein Bey.

In 1824, Crete was again under Turkish control.

Greeks continued fierce fighting within Crete as well as moved to Peloponnese, forming Cretan fighting units, in support of Peloponnese, hundreds of Cretans fought and were sacrificed there.

Out of the Cretan civilian population, 2,500 women and children were sold by Turks in Egyptian slave markets.

The Cretans, however, were not kept quiet. In July 1825, the Cretans of “diaspora» reunited, came back to Chania, they took over the fortresses of Gramvousa and Kissamos and hence, revived the revolution.

Soon the Turks confined themselves in the fortresses of Chania, Chandaka, Rethymnon and Ierapetra.

More victories of the Greeks in Sitia, Heraklion, Rethymnon, and Kydonia liberated the rest of the island, except for the coastal fortresses where the Turks were concentrated.

Crete, however, was not on plans to reunite with Greece.

By letter (June 6, 1830), the first Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias announced that the great powers had left the island to Turks.

In September 1830, 3,000 men of the Egyptian Regular Army under Nurendin Bey arrived on the island, accompanied by French, English and Russian officers. They occupied Crete. In 1831, the Sultan assigned the island to Mohammed Ali of    Egypt. The sale price reached 25,000,000 grossia. Crete became an Egyptian province.

The «Egyptian» parenthesis:

Nurettin Bey was appointed military commander of Crete with Albanian General Mustafa Pasha in command.

Local councils were established with Turkish and Greek councilors according to population ratios in each region (30 members in Chandaka, 12 members in Rethymnon, 17 members in Chania etc.).

Civil courts were set up, policing was organized by Albanians to restrict the arbitrariness of the Turkish population and all would go well unless public works that needed money to be executed started.

Properties were confiscated, and Cretans were cruelly taxed once again.

Dissatisfaction reached Egypt. Mohammed Ali visited Crete (1833) to see closely the problems. He left with no result, and a new law was published: The best estates were confiscated and the inhabitants were lead to poverty

In Mournies, Kydonia, 7,000 Cretans gathered and, at a convention (September 1833) decided to send a report to the consulates of the great powers demanding autonomy of Crete under international protection.

Instead of great powers, the Egyptian army arrived, hanged fifty on the spot and began marching in the province, setting up hangers without even questioning.

Mohammed visited Crete again. He found it all right.

Fight for independence against Turks once again.

In 1840, a war was launched against the sultan for self-determination.

It achieved independence from Egypt. Crete, came under Turkish rule once more (July 15, 1840).

On the island, nothing had changed. Even Mustafa Pasha remained general commander.

Greeks started organizing their revolutionary units, as many volunteers had come down to the island.

Letters were sent to the consuls of the great powers. In April, while the Cretan assembly had invited and was expecting Admiral Stewart of the English squadron to arrive from Souda, he came with Mustafa Pasha and his Turkish counterpart, Admiral Tahir Bey. He brought them to listen to the Cretans’ request to bring the island under English protection.

That’s how he thought. The Cretans, instead, called for union with Greece.

Stewart allowed Mustafa to «do whatever he wanted». This reminded me the Cyprus situation during 1955,

On May 14, a Turkish army of 15,000 men, after a three-hour battle, killed the 250 Cretans who were defending the Apokoronas Provence.

On the 17th the same month, at Wafe, the Turks were defeated.

On the 23rd, in the village of Kastamonitsa, Heraklion, a thousand Cretans defeated 3,000 Turks.

Turkish aid arriving from Istanbul reversed the situation.

After repeated battles, the Cretans were repulsed to the mountains.

The great powers proved indifferent and the revolution ended peacefully.

Sultan Abdul Mejit visited Crete in 1850.

On leaving, he also recalled Mustafa, who had spent 20 years as governor of Crete.

His replacement was Salih Vamik. He allowed the establishment of schools,   stopped illegal interest bearing practices, controlled  Turkish arbitrariness at the expense of the Greeks, and, like the «good old days», was expelled by his local Muslim compatriots after four years of good administration (1854)

In 1856, the Sultan published Hati Humayun («Brilliant Document») in which he established freedom of religion, recognized the privileges of Christians and granted them equality in civil rights.

But the Turks soon forgot their signature and oppressed the Cretans with arbitrariness and heavy taxation.

In May 1866, about 4,000 Cretans gathered in Perivolia, near Chania, demanding that the terms of the treaty to be applied. The Turks refused.

Revolution broke out once more. Official Greece maintained a neutral stance but its government Dimitrios Voulgaris  formed guerrilla corps of volunteers and sent them to the island, while two  vessels were used to provide supplies to the rebels.

It was the vessel «Arkadi» that broke the naval blockade of the island, by the Turkish fleet, 23 times and the vessel «Enosis», which managed to make 46 routs, until the Turkish fleet, in December 1868, blocked it at the port of Syros.

Revolutionary heroism was not enough for the struggle to win.

In a decisive battle, the Turks won.

The blow up of Akadi Monastery

Three hundred fighters together with 643 women and children retreated and closed themselves in Arkadi Monastery in Rethymnon. 28,000 Turks besieged them.

An Officer from Tripoli, a volunteer in the Cretan revolution, Ioannis Dimakopoulos (1833 – 1866) organized the defense of the ancient monastery that tradition wanted to have been built by the Byzantine emperor Heraclitos  (575-641).

The Turks attempted to take the monastery with attacks in groups.

They were all repelled. They also brought cannons to bring down the monastery.

On November 9, 1866, a rift in the building allowed the Turks to brake in.

Dimakopoulos fell dead. The abbot of the monastery, Gabriel Manesis, did not want to fall into the hands of the invaders. The women and children agreed. They gathered on the side where they kept the gunpowder.

When the Turks arrived, Gabriel gave the sign. Constantis Giamboudakis shot the barrels with the gunpowder. They were all blown up in the air, along with the Turks. The up rise was extinguished in the spring of 1869.

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The blow up of the Monastery of Arkadi which was blown up and 700 people killed together with the Turkish troops so that they would  not fall in the hands of Turks

In 1878, Crete gained a kind of autonomy that guaranteed the equal coexistence of Turks and Greeks with a Treaty Yet Turkey was fighting unconventionally by trying to change the population composition in Crete

Settlement  of new foreign Muslims in Crete in the 18th century

During the 18th century,  the settlement of foreign Muslims in Crete from Asian, African and Albanian regions began to increase.

Ethiopian Muslims, Arab Muslims from Egypt, and Benghazi settled in the three major cities of Crete and mainly in Chania.

Of course, the settlement of the island with foreign Muslims was part of an organized plan to change the population composition of Crete and to contribute to the Islamization of the island.

 

The end of Ottoman Crete

The Ottoman reform, which took place in Crete during the last period of the 19th century, attempted the introduction of new institutions , along with existing ones.

The new institutional framework brought about the relative liberalization of the regime, partial autonomy of the island which allowed limited political domination of Christians over the Muslims, which was accompanied by their growth, in economic and   social terms.

Moreover, limited liberalization and limited democratization also shaped the conditions for the collapse of the intermediate regime. As, in the wake up of the economic crisis of the last three years (1887-89), socio-political conflicts between social groups were intensified.

The failure of the intermediate regime constituted the end of any attempt at consensual reform and brought about the end of Ottoman occupation of Crete, which was formally confirmed in 1898, by the establishment of the new regime of Autonomy.

The 1866 Revolution

The 1866 revolution was the most significant of a series of 19th-century revolutions where the Ottoman Empire lost control of much of the island, bringing Crete to a period of lawlessness and anarchy that predicted the independence that was to follow.

The blast of Arcadius Monastery, where more than 700 women and children were blown up sacrificing themselves, sparked international sentiment and attention, and volunteers from Italy, Serbia and Hungary arrived on the island in 1866.

Money and equipment received from the United States gave substantial aid, while the newly formed Greek state expressed support for this effort.

The short lived Cretan State

The Cretan state is the state created after the intervention of England, France, Italy and Russia in Crete in 1898 separating the island from the then Ottoman Empire on the grounds that it could no longer maintain control.

The Cretan state lasted 15 years until it joined the Greek republic in 1913.

The 1905 summer revolt against Prince George of Greece, who held power on the island, highlighted Crete’s most important politician, Eleftherios Venizelos, who was elected 7 times prime minister of the Greek republic. Under his leadership, the Greek Republic reached the largest territory in its history, but much of it was lost after his defeat in the November 1920 elections. However, much of the hatred of the present-day Greek Republic was annexed to his leadership. .The Cretan Gendarmerie (1907) was the military corps of the Cretan state, which was tasked with defending the island and policing the cities, while also serving as an expeditionary force. It participated, in the Balkan wars and in the national defense movement of Eleftherios Venizelos.

Union with Greece

After the end of the First Balkan War in May 1913, Crete joined Greece with the Treaty of London.

The union took place on 1 December 1913 with a formal ceremony in the fortress of Firka, Chania.

 

Islamization Islamisms

Islamization was a common practice during the prime years of Ottoman occupation

But Islamization of part of the Cretan population is a different and more complex phenomenon whose main characteristic is its early start before the island’s total conquest.

The most important reason for achieving such large dimensions was the preservation of local Greek speaking language and the local identity. This helped to create a a solid core of the Muslim population

All of the above make the case of Crete special and perhaps only analogous to that of Bosnia .

Islamization in Crete had two main forms, individual Islamism and Islamism originating from mixed marriages.

The process of individual Islamization took place before “Ierodikia” (Religious courts, juries), where the devotee proceeded to proclaim the Muslim symbol of faith and obtain a new Muslim name.

For mixed marriages, Islamization could have arisen if the spouse preferred to maintain custody of the child in the event of the marriage’s dissolution or death. Considering Jennings’ report that in the case of a woman converting to Islam and her husband unwilling to follow the marriage dissolved, we might suppose that an incentive for many women to Islamize was their desire to leave a marriage. , a desire that could hardly be fulfilled, if ever, under normal circumstances.

On the other hand, the cases of mass Islamization were not uncommon, at least during the period of Cretan war, as reported by Evliya Celebi and Naima.

Islamism in Crete was accompanied by the phenomenon of crypto-Christianity

Cretan Islam took a more mystical direction with renowned representatives such as Izz ed-Din Wall and Saint and founder of Haggi Bectasi Teka of Chandaka .

Otherwise there were no major Islamic shrines as created in Cyprus.

The above phenomenon may be explained by the fact that in Crete the overwhelming majority of the Muslim population were converts of Cretan origin whose acceptance of Islam was mainly driven by the improvement of their living conditions.

In Cyprus, however, the Muslim population came from a movement of people from the Ottoman interior who were already familiar with the Muslim Religion, its principles and theology, which would probably allow it to grow further in the new territory.

Adding to the above could be the fact that Cyprus is closer to the major Muslim centers of the Middle East and Egypt and therefore closer to the influence of Arab theological thought.

The Islamized Cretans had no ritual relationship with the religion they adopted.

An important part in this was evidently the conservation of Greek-speaking worshipers (in addition to the mechanical reproduction of prayers in the Arabic language) which cut them off from Islamic theological philosophy.

Whatever the main motives for Islamization, the desire to improve living conditions and to gain opportunities for social development remained.

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Note: This article consist a collection of historical information from various sources selected from published articles in respected news papers