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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.  


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

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.

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.

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.

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.
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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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.
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;

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.



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





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.





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.


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.


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.




17 Νοέμβρη.jpg

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.




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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.  

Arabs in Crete.jpg 

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».


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


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.


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.





  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.

220px-El_Greco_-_Portrait_of_the_Artist' Theotokopoulos_.jpg

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.


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.

Turks v Venetians.jpg

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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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




It is obvious that discussions or even negotiations between representatives of opposing sides coming from East and West cannot help but reflect the conflicts of two different worlds and their historic evolution.

It is inevitable that each side will try to interpret events and facts that have taken place during different periods in history to defend each other’s point of view, especially when we go through major evolutionary changes due to major conflicts between national powers which maintained different cultures and religions which have played important roles.

In order to arrive at a credible evaluation and conclusions one requires patience and deep investigation of reports of historians and make such investigations with no prejudice, as much as possible.

It is almost impossible to investigate and derive totally impartial conclusions about the influence that major civilizations had on human history especially if the periods we are trying to investigate include vast periods that start from the Hellenistic times, pass through Roman, Byzantine times, Arab expansion into Europe, Ottoman expansion from Asia to Africa and Europe, periods that included also large number migrations of mostly North European and Asian tribes  which took place in waves, mainly among 6th and 11th century.

These migrations evolved to the rise of Balkan and other areas, states which naturally conflicted with indigenous populations existing for thousands of years, which tried to maintain their local culture, rights to their land, religion and traditions.

barbarian ivations.jpg

The coexistence among new comers and indigenous populations resulted in mutual exchange of cultures, religions and traditions. This exchange in some cases  influenced new comers or the other way arround, from more advanced civilizations that had been established in previous years, except in cases where the ivadors applied strong military forces.

It seems that each Empire, as it was expanding, from Alexander the Great, to Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and Ottomans tried to do the same thing, using their military or caltural assets. which were different each time. In every case the same denominator had always been military strength and power.

Byzantium, an empire that had mainly conveyed Greek culture and national identity, became the vehicul that accepted and distributed Christian religion, survived for 1000 years against attacks from every side, East and West, North and South, during medieval periods.

So, understanding the Byzantines can bring us closer to understand the historical background of the conflict between East and West and certainly appreciate the conflict between Turkey and Greece, as well as the conflict between Christianity and Islam.

Rome was not effected, Konstandinouple and Geece was mostly effected.

Byzantine was a part of Roman Empire that broke out from the Western Roman part and survived ruling over numerous national entities, especially during the centuries of great migrations  defending against raids from many tribes that gradually formed new states arround it as well as survived attacks from ancient nations such as Persians and Arabs.

Among the new states that were formed some survived and others disappeared. An example of a state that disappeared is the Eastern Franky Empire of the Great Moravia of Croats and Serbs who continuously formed different alliances that failed.

Further tribes that formed various temporary states include the «Chazars», a  semi nomadic Turkish or Touranic group which was a family of various nomadic tribes from Mongolia and South Eastern Siberia which were migrating, in waves, during medieval period,  mainly between 6th and 11th century.

They were speaking some ancient Turkish dialects which later evolved to modern Turkish versions. Their religion was “Samanism” worshiping God Tengri the God of the “blue sky”. The majority of these populations, especially the ones which moved south, adopted Islam under Arab and Persian influence which had already been converted to Islam, a vigurus new religion inspiring and encuraging expamsion.

The meeting of Turks with militand tradition with Arab  civilasation and Islam generated the power that confronted Byzantines and West.

During the period of their migration, some Turkish tribes stretched along   a huge area from Asia Minor and the Black Sea to the coasts of the Arctic Ocean, establishing their own state structures, controlling the trade routes between Europe, Persia and China. Most of them were short-lived and over the centuries they were annexed by stronger kingdoms (Russia, Georgia, and China), some survived and created the foundation of six currently existing states: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

Bulgarians were also of Turkish origin, but after settling in the Balkans (late 7th century), although they dominated the state they created, they were influenced by Slavs to the extent that the only Turkish caracteristic they held was their name, “Bulgarians”

The Turkish tribes should not be confused with the modern Turkish nation, the second is just a branch of the original tribes. The new Turkish state is implementing a policy of reunifying all these states as a nation or the same ethnicity under the Muslim religion.

In spite of this migration that compares with migrations of other tribes such as Serbs  and other including Germanic and Norwegian tribes,  the core of indigenous population, and administration of the Byzantines was of Greek national identity by far, in spite of internal population shifts that were taking place, from time to time, as new tribes and races were appearing.

The most recent and controversial situation discussed today is Macedonia, which eventually became  a region of Ottoman Empire, as most Balkan regions including Mainland Greece, the Aegean Islands, Thrace and Cyprus became.

The original indigenous population in Macedonia was Greek with populations remaining in the area from raids that took place from various entities including Venetians from Western attempts to acquire parts of Greece, the islands and Crete, Slavs, Bulgarians, Romanians, Turks and Arabs, Albanians etc.

The Byzantine Army was strong enough to stand up and oppose attacks from most raids for more than 1000 years.

It is worth making historic references to Macedonia if one wants to understand how and why Macedonian populations maintained their Greek national identity, in spite all tribal population movements during medieval period

Macedonia during Roman period.

The Battle of Pydna, in 168 BC, constituted the most decisive battle of the Third Macedonian War (171-168 BC), a battle that marked the demise of the Macedonian kingdom and opened the way for the conquest of Greece by the Romans.

Macedonia during Byzantine period

The Macedonian Dynasty (867-1081 AD)

The era of the Macedonian dynasty is divided into two uneven periods, in terms of importance and duration. The first period lasted from 867 until 1025, the year of the death of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, while the second and short period lasted from 1025 until 1056, when Queen Theodora, the last member of this dynasty, died.

There is no question about the existence of Greek population during the period of Macedonian Dynasty

The struggle in the East and the North with the Arabs, Bulgarians and Russians was crowned by the brilliant success of the Byzantine army in the last 50 years of the 10th and early 11th centuries. This was done despite the failures at the end of the 9th and early 10th centuries. The triumph of Byzantium was great, especially during the times of Nikephoros Fokas and John Tsimiskis, in order to reach its peak during the reign of Basil II. At the time of the latter, the separatist movements of Asia Minor were suppressed, Byzantium’s influence in Syria was strengthened, Armenia was partially annexed by the Empire, and partly became Byzantine, Bulgaria changed to Byzantium and Russia, taking Christianity from Byzantium, has gained closer religious, political, commercial and cultural relations with the Empire.

The Macedonian Dynasty was accused and persistently denied that it was Greek Macedonia but instead propaganda insisted that it was controlled by Armenian Emperors, therefore non-Greeks.

All of this Dynasty was presented, by propaganda, as Armenian because of its alleged origin. The joke of the whole hypothesis is that Basil I the Macedonian (not Basil II Bulgaroctonos),  who  was declared Macedonian,  was born in Thrace from Greek parents and not in Armenia

Nor is the  allegation true that the Macedonian dynasty was of Slavic origin, since the war conflicts within almost all of the Empire, with the Slavic tribes, were known to be very serious.

The maps show Bulgarian or Serb acquisitions in the general area in the Balkans are the descriptions of locations referring to raids that gave names to locations that were occupied for small periods that were later recaptured from the Byzantine armies. This, inevitably, created mixed populations areas that eventually created new indigenous populations. Many Slavs were absorbed by Byzantines to a degree that in some cases Slavs became Byzantine Emperors.


The reality was that the basic Greek culture survived and maintained a dominant position within the Byzantine Empire that influenced most of nationalities that existed within the Empire. Many Slavs that setle in areas of Greece were totally absorbed by the locals over the years the same way Bulgarians were absorbed by Slavs.

This, together with Christianity, that merged with Greek language and culture helped to distribute both Christianity and Greek culture to extend that Slavic populations and Slavic states, including Russia were strongly influenced.

A most striking evidence is the creation of Cyrillic alphabet.

It is known that Cyrillos and Methodius two Greek Monks from Thessaloniki   created the Slavic alphabet, on which the Russian-language alphabet was based.

It is, however, important to clarify how Slavs and Bulgarians appeared, and how the two Greek Monks, who became Saints, ended up influencing, so significantly, the course of Slavic history including Russia and Bulgaria.


In the last 50 years of the 6th century, the Slavs after their arrival were not only plundering the Balkan possessions of the Byzantine Empire but also reached Chanak Cale (Hellespontos), Thessaloniki, Southern Greece and the coasts of the Adriatic Sea, where many of them settled.

The Avaro-Slavic ( Avars was a nomadic tribe of warriors  from Euro Asia of Altaic mountains-Turkish origin) invasion against the Byzantine capital took place in 626 AD, while Thessaloniki was besieged by Slavic tribes, which brought the city into a very difficult position.


At the same time the Slavs descended to the Aegean Sea striking with their ships the Byzantine fleet and often cutting off the capital’s supplies for food.

The oldest references to the Slavs appear in Byzantine documents of the early 6th century.

At the time of the Great Migrations (5th-6th century AD) the Slavic people began to claim the eastern European area. These migrations were completed by the late 8th century AD.

According to historical sources, there are three main migratory streams: a) the first one took place in the second half of the 4th century: because of the demographic increase, their first migrations were to the east where they settled among the native peoples; b) is associated with the invasion of the Avars (The Avars are a Northeast Caucasian native ethnic group who are the predominant of several ethnic groups living in the Russian republic of Dagestan). in the 5th century AD. The Slavs traveled west and central Europe from the Alps to the Baltic Sea, replacing several German tribes; c) the third migratory stream moved southwards into the Balkans and Byzantium.

At the beginning of the 8th century AD more than ten major associations of Slavic tribes were created in the territory of Eastern Europe, which were no longer based on their racial qualities, but slowly advanced to the creation of states.

The diversification of the levels of growth and strength of the various peoples  led to intense conflicts.

This was due to the instability of the newly formed states.

This situation gave the Varangians (a name given by Greeks to Vikings) the opportunity to invade their lands and intervene in their affairs.


At that time, the Varangians were already known in Western Europe either as robbers or as capable merchants-sailors. The Goran-Normans also came to the territories of the Slavic areas, where they tried to enslave and impose taxes on the Slavic tribes.

These contacts of the Varangian Slavs played a decisive role in the creation of Russia of Kiev.

The Eastern Slavs were the dominant group along the central axis from Russia to Kyev to Novgorod, at least until 800 AD, and continued to move north and east, settling in new lands.

In 862 AD, one of the few manuscripts was found describing the beginning of Russia, The document was called «Description of the Old Times» and mentions  that the Slavs from the area of Lake Ilmen visited the town of Novgorod, the Varangians, and asked for Prince Rurix to become their ruler.


In this way he became the founder of the Royal Dynasty of the Rurricides and the State of Rus (now known as Russia), which retained power for more than 600 years.

The Russian people, until the end of the 10th century, were still pagan and did not incorporate the alphabet into their language. The change took place the end of the 10th century, when the state of Kiev accepted Christian religion, when it eventually adopted the Cyrillic alphabet, on which the Russian language is currently based.


The last 50 years of the 7th century are also characterized by the fact that during this time the new Bulgarian kingdom was formed on the northern border of the Byzantine Empire along the Danube’s river shores.

A kingdom, whose later history was extremely important for the fate of the Byzantine Empire. In this period, mainly the old Bulgarians, a people of Turkish origin, who were very close to the Hun race, are mentioned. From 650 ac Bulgarians had serious conflicts with the Byzantines

The newly formed kingdom, recognized by violence by the emperor of Byzantium, became a dangerous neighbor.

After the Bulgarians were politically recognized, they slowly began to increase their aquisitions and collided with the Slavic population of the neighboring provinces.

Bulgarians as newcomers introduced the military organization and discipline among the Slavs.

Acting as a unifing factor among the Slavs of the peninsula, who had previously lived in separate groups, the Bulgarians slowly developed a dynamic state, of course, a great threat to the Byzantine Empire. Later, many military operations had to be organized by the Byzantine emperors against the Bulgarians and the Slavs. The Greek element was protected by the Byzantine troops.

Numerically smaller than the Slavs, the Bulgarians, soon found themselves under the strong influence of the Slavs. Large tribal changes took place among these Bulgarians, who, while the time passed, lost their ethnic Turkish (ethnic) ethnicity to become almost completely Slavs in the middle of the 9th century, although still bearing their old name: «Bulgarians» .

The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed between 1185 and 1396.

It was the successor state of the First Bulgarian Empire that reached the peak of its power under Tsar Kalogiannis and Ivan Asen B before being gradually conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.


The successor states were the Principality and later the Kingdom of Bulgaria in 1878.

Until 1256, the Second Bulgarian Empire was the dominant power in the Balkans, defeating the Byzantine Empire in many great battles. In 1205 Emperor Kalogiannis defeated the newly established Latin Empire in the Battle of Adrianople.

Ivan Asen’s nephew II defeated the Despotate of Epirus and made Bulgaria a regional power again. During his reign, Bulgaria spread from the Adriatic to the Black Sea and the economy flourished. By the end of the 13th century the Empire had fallen under constant raids by Mongols, Byzantines, Hungarians and Serbs, as well as internal upheavals and uprisings.

In the 14th century, there was a temporary recovery and stability, but with the peak of Balkan feudalism, as a central authority, gradually their power in many areas was lost.

On the eve of the Turkish invasion, Bulgaria had been split in three.

The period between 13th and 14th century population ratios and national identities was mixed between Greeks Slavs and Bulgarians.

In spite of great animosity and fighting there is evidence of great Byzantine influence to Bulgarians in administration cultures, religion, architecture and art. Later alot of Bulgarians prefered to move to Greek side due to religious reasons. Populations were still mixed with towns having Muslim, Greek, Slavs  Bulgarians, Pomaks, Vlachs Albanians.

Many Slavs and Albanians were totally absorbed by Greeks and became the stronger fighting forces against Ottomans during the Greek uprisal during the19th century.



The mixed papulation problem in the Balkans is still evident with existing minorities in Albania North Macedonia even in Bulgaria Greece and Turkey although the numbers in Turkey have been sosmall due to national cleansing that took place in Turkey the 20th century.


The question that still remains in my mind is, to what extend Muslim populations migrated to Greece or they were Greeks converted by force or persuation to Islam.





 It is definitely very interesting to exchange views with Turks that can convey the points of view of the other side. By studying such exchange of points of view, that have marked the lives of millions of people for hundreds of years, one can see the influence that the roots, traditions history, and culture of each nation including religion that can exert on individuals and groups of different nations.

So this article is another attempt to appreciate the roots of the problem and eventually bring opposite sides closer, so that animosities can be reduced.

So, I, here under, display one more of numerous conversations which is published during a period that the conflict among Turkey Greece and Cyprus have reached a real and dangerous peak.

A message from my Turkish friend Sukan


Hallo Nick best greetings from ayvalık.

I was also in izmir.and found a Greek book ın Turkısh about the Genocide of the Pontus Greeks. Bought it. 600 pages! I have started readıng ıt and found the approach strange.

The book goes on and on about how Greek speakıng Muslıms suffered. Really? Why dıd my famıly some whıch still speakıng Greek not notıce anythıng? Erdogan? How come he ıs presıdent ıf there ıs prosecution? He also tells of centurıes of prosecutıon, whıch Greeks survıved thanks to theır beıng Greek. ın the hıstory we lıved the ottomans were proud of protecting all relıgıons. He does talk of a 1910 law whıch would have eased lıfe for Greeks, thıs was ın the tıme when the unıonısts were tryıng to accommodate all ethnıcıtıes, and that ıt was not ımplemented. After 1912. he says Greek secessıonısm was a response to unıonıst (young Turks as he calls ıt) government, on the next page he tells of secessıonısm ın the 1860ıes! That all does not fıt.

What also does not fıt ıs hıs hıstory. Greeks ımmıgrate, Hellenizing, after whıch comes Christianity. Wonderful. Then come Turks and Islam horrıble! People come, relıgıons change that ıs how hıstory works. Why should one be better than the other?

Later on, he quotes, an English polıtıcıan sayıng the target was eradıcatıng the Turks. He then saId thıs faıled. He thınks Turkish history after 1923 had proven we are barbarıans. Compare Turkey and Greece for the same perıod, we lıved ın peace wıth each other, the Greeks who could no longer trouble Turks butchered each other ın a cıvıl war. At present Greece lıves a better lıfe thanks to the EU. Turks ındustrıalızes, Greece does not. We dıd have a Kurdish rebellıon, wıth 40 000 dead. Compare that wıth the French response to the Algerian rebellıon wıth 1 mıllıon dead Arabs. Amerıca ın Iraq wıth 2 to 4 mıllıon dead.

He also defınes as Pontus one fıfth of Turkey. West Anatolıa ıs naturally also Greece. Around half of turkey ıs Armenia and then Kurdistan et6c. And where exactly we Turks supposed to lıve? These people were tryıng to kıll us all. That was clear after 1912. That ıs the reason why the unıonısts panıcked and got brutal.

We do not talk about young Turks after 1908. Some of them organızed the party for unıon and progress whıch then took over untıl the end of WW1. That party was disbanded after WW1 but evolved ınto the republıcan people’s party, now the opposıtıon. These are referred to as unıonısts ın English or the CUP. Committee for unıon and progress.

My response:

Dear Sukan,

Before I proceed to a more detailed response based on historical references I specifically quote a part of your statement that found very interesting.

You say:

“He also defınes as Pontus one fıfth of Turkey. West Anatolıa ıs naturally also Greece. Around half of Turkey ıs Armenia and then Kurdistan etc. And where exactly we Turks supposed to lıve? These people were tryıng to kıll us all. That was clear after 1912. That ıs the reason why the unıonısts panıcked and got brutal.”

 I believe it is interesting at this stage to quote a recent statement of the Turkish President:

“The year 1453 is the beginning of the conquests of our heart”. Conquest is the key word to appreciate the Turkish philosophy regarding the treatment of indigenous people of countries conquered by Turkish raids. Nowhere else worldwide indigenous people were treated the way Turkish people behaved.

I have learned a lot about how a Turkish person thinks from our discussions.

To summarize my understanding I will quote  the following:

  1. Turks consider all western world as an enemy because they have continuously attacked Muslim interests around the world, thus Turkey has to develop defenses to protect itself from the West, now and for the future, as long as this attitude from West is maintained.
  2. As a consequence most international organizations which are controlled by West cannot be credible for their rules, directives and decisions where they have to do with Turkey and Muslims in general. This includes organizations such as UN, EU, International Jury of Hague, or International laws such as laws regarding EEZ and air and Sea frontiers.
  3. Turks consider that Ottoman Empire inherited both Roman and East Roman Empire which was Byzantium, as well as all preexisting civilizations that had developed in the area prior to the arrival of Turkish tribes.
  4. The establishment of Ottomans in Europe and North Africa was a natural expansion of Islam that was privileged to convert other Christian nationalities to Muslims and hence subjects to a great new progressive Empire. Such populations converted by force or proselytizing generated a true indigenous population that losT any link to its previous national identity and culture.
  5. This is particularly important for Greeks that lost their right to inherit, as a nation, the identity or link in any way to what ancient Greece was.
  6. In that sense modern Greeks could only exist as subjects of the Ottoman Empire and the ones they did not convert were an obstacle and a threat to the newly formed Turkish state hence they had to be exterminated or expelled to make room for the homogenization of the Turkish State, otherwise they were terrorist and rebels against the Turkish state.
  7. The invasion of the Greek army in Macedonia and Asia Minor was not an act of liberation or protection of Greek lands and population which have lost their right for independence due to 400 years of survival as Ottoman citizens.
  8. Greeks during their liberation fighting and during the Balkan wars were committing atrocities that forced Muslim populations to evacuate huge areas that changed the ratios of national characteristics of many areas in Greek mainland Crete and many of the Aegean islands.
  9. Turks are proud they managed to introduce true freedom of religion and economic activity better than western nations even after French revolution. The proof of this is the financial progress of Greek populations in many areas in Asia Minor including Pontus.
  10. The Turks are excused for their behavior and atrocities as the reacted against aggression experienced during the Balkan wars and the invasion of the Greek army during 1919-1922
  11. Regarding the end of the 1922 war and the relevant agreements that led to the various treaties including Lausanne Treaty the Turkish position is that many f the islands which have not been included my name in the treaty remain the ownership of Turkey which inherited the Ottoman Empire including Cyprus which is not an independent state but a state under the three guarantor powers of Turkey Greece and UK.
  12. Finally there is a lot of resentment against Greeks considering Turks as barbarians.

This is more or less what I managed to understand from our discussions.

It will be a very long document to reply to each one statement although some of them have been discussed over our long period of exchanges of arguments, I will concentrate on some historical facts that will help both of us establish some common ground in appreciating the causes of this continuing animosity. I also hope it help you understand the 600 pages book you have recently acquired with information about Pontus.


map_pontos_large 3.jpg

The name Pontus, as a geographical area, in ancient times included the coastal areas of the North Asia Minor as seen on the map above..

Pontos, according to Herodotus, Xenophon and other ancient historiographers, is called the long and wide coastal country on the Black Sea, which includes the lands between River «Phase» near which is the present city of Batum of Georgia and Heraclea.

Many geographers and historians defined its western border from the estuary of the River Ali, near Sinopi, the first Greek colony in the Black Sea.

Inside, the area extends to a depth of 200 to 300 kilometers, bounded by the very nature that separated it from the rest of Asia Minor with the inaccessible mountain ranges of Scydis, Paridas and Antitiros.

The mountainous and barren territory of the Pontus has flourished from the rivers of Aly, Iris, Melanthio, Thermisdon, Xarsioti, Reaton, Pyxitis, Kalopotamos and many rivers, which are a blessing and a source of life for the country.

The presence of the Greeks in the Pontos region dates back to ancient times. The Greek seafarers, having conquered the coasts of the Aegean Sea from the Copper Age, with their improved ships, ventured to discover the inhospitable sea of Pontus with the remote and inaccessible beaches and mountain ranges.

Around 1,000 BC historians place the first commercial trips in this area to search mainly for gold and other minerals.

Two centuries later these temporary commercial stations are converted into permanent housing centers.

Miletus first launched the colonial policy in the Black Sea by setting up Sinope, in a very advantageous position due to its good harbor and smooth communication with the surrounding areas.

As it is known every time the Greek cities of Greece and Ionia were facing overpopulation problems, they sent the surplus of their demographic growth to this distant yet productive country,

Pontus during the Roman period



During the Roman period, Christianity prevailed. Based on the new religion and without persecution, the inhabitants of Pontus were able to grow. The administration was more relaxed and the Hellenism of Pontus was great and the Greek language spread.

The Greeks continued for decades under the domination of the Romans, enjoying their freedom, independence and autonomy.

This cosmopolitan change had positively influenced the political climate of that era.

Without great changes, controlling only the government, the Romans adopted the effective complex scheme of the organization of the state and the power of the «Mithridates».

Thanks to this policy, Greek culture, Greek tradition and Greek philosophy were strengthened.

The absence of central Roman power enabled the Greeks to develop their diverse capabilities.

At Pliny, Trebizonde could freely regulate internal affairs and conduct trade . Its geographical location helped her to become the first port of Black Sea

Pontus during the Byzantine period


In Byzantine times, administratively the empire was divided into sections named «themes».

Some Pontus theorists tried to make Pontus autonomous. The one who remained, in history, was Theodore Gavras.

On Aug. 26, 1071, Matzikert’s historic battle took place, changing the map of the area.

The Seljuks defeated the Byzantine army and settled permanently in the area.

Then nothing was the same.

From raiders Seljuks became permanent residents and settled, initially, in the area of ​​Bithynia.

They named Pontus Turum, which means, Romans, because all forces of the time had the dream of appearing as heirs of the Byzantine and Roman Empire.

Seljuks had tremendous power. Principe Turum gradually captured all of Asia Minor and Pontus. Thus, the gradual collapse of the structures of the Byzantine state and the Christian Orthodox Church were gradually destroyed.

The spread of Islam


The spread of Islam and the disputes over more territories have led to terrible conflicts at all levels.

The goal of the Ottomans was to spread Islam, but also to conquer territories.

Particularly during the first period of the Ottoman administration, persecution against Christians was tougher.

Violent Islamism, cruelty and devastating measures were on the agenda.

The Christian Orthodox began not to enjoy the same privileges as Muslims. They could not build churches, wear fancy clothes, horsemen.

Typical is the case of Theodore Gavras. Theodoros Gavras was one of the most prestigious «theorists», that is to say, the region’s masters. He effectively protected the boundaries of the Byzantine Empire from the raids.

At some point in the chaos and power vacuum, he sought the independence of his region. His move failed but he managed to re-enter the structure of the Byzantine Empire. But he did not save the martyr’s end. He was murdered in a raid by Turkish ruler Amir Ali. As a trophy of victory and his power over the Christian master, the ruler turned his skull into a bowl, invested it with gold and said that he was drinking his wine.

Western Christians have responded to the religious struggle with Muslim leaders by organizing crusades.

However, the end of the fourth crusade had the opposite effects, which led to the enslavement of Pontian Hellenism and its long-term extermination.

Besides, the crusades, which were the West’s response to the expansion of Islam, led to the defeat and weakening of the Byzantine Empire in 1204 after the Crusades

The Crypt Christian populations in Pontus in Turkey.


The story of Crypt Christians in the Black Sea started during 1650s, due to the fanaticism of certain «Derebais», when the Ottoman Empire was divided into Derembeilks, that is to say, in areas or themes. The heads of these areas, in many cases, have shown fanaticism, which was expressed by the oppression of Christians and their suppression to converse to Islam. The first islamization of the Greek populations of Pontos is recorded in the area of Ofeos, followed in the areas of Surmene, Argyroupoli, Tonia and others.

The crypto-Christians, appeared In public dressed as Muslims, participating in Islamic ceremonies as if they were genuine Muslims.

At the same time, however, they were meeting in places where secret priests did their functions and all the ceremonies of Orthodox Christian faith.

The Crypto-Christians avoided affairs with Muslims with various pretenses, so the marriages continued among themselves.

This lasted until February 1856.

At the time, under the pressure of the European forces, the Sultan signed “Hati-Humayoum” decree, with which every Ottoman citizen was free to change religion without endangering his life.

The first individual, who took advantage of this, to recapture Christianity, was the guardian of the Italian Consulate of Trebizond, Pechil Tekoglu in May 1856.

From 1856 to 1910, when this policy changed, with the pan-Muslim politics of the New Turks, all the Crypt-Christians of the Pontus were revealed and whole villages turned back to Christianity.

Pontus the 20th century


In the 20th century Hellenism of Pontus finds a spectacular lead compared to the other ethnicities of the wider region in the economic and intellectual spheres.

In Samsun in 1896, out of 214 businesses, 156 are Greek.

In Trebizond from the 5 banks, 4 are also Greek.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, as Antony Bryer mentions, the smaller Greek village had its own school, where Greek children go to learn Greek history, starting with the lessons from the Argonauts campaign and the Myrties of Xenophon.

The Greek printing press set up in 1880 in Trebizond also contributed in its own way, through publishing of books, magazines, newspapers and brochures, to the inalienable right of every individual to compete and to claim his national identity and memory.

The Greek-centered orientation, under the leadership of the newly emerging midle class, is confirmed by concrete events that testify to its patriotic action, especially during the 1828-1829 Russo-Ottoman War, when eastern Greek Hellenism welcomed the Russian occupation army in Argyroupoli as a liberator.

The Greeks of Pontus are not absent from the Cretan uprising of 1866-1867.

There are also cases of patriotic behavior in the subsequent Greek-Ottoman wars, with the participation of many volunteers and the support of generous economic offers.

For example, the Greeks of Samsun offer in 1912 to the Greek Navy 12,000 pounds. We have some examples from Greeks and other cities.

This activity together with the bitter feeling that the Turks were feeling because of the losses of the First World War and the Balkan wars reacted aggressively

The policy of the New-Turkish governments aimed at exterminating the Greeks with the economic, educational, military and religious measures they receive for Christian nations in the first phase, and the genocidal measures in the second, mainly led the Pontians of the Diaspora to the great decision to fight to create an autonomous Pontian republic.

The delivery of Trebizond by Vali Mehmet Tzemal Azmi Bey to Bishop Xrisanthos with the historical words «from Greeks we take Trebizond to the Greeks and give it back …» a few days before the Russian occupation of the city, April 1916, and the wise policy of the Bishop towards the Muslims in the region who feared similar reprisals for the crimes they committed, persuaded the Russians and the consular representatives of the other states that Bishop Xrisanthos had all the leadership qualities to bring back peace in the sensitive area where the blood of innocent Armenians and Greeks was still fresh.

His two-year presidency was a true interval of democracy and harmonious coexistence of Christians and Muslims.

But the situation changed when the Bolsheviks prevailed in Russia.

The Russian army left the city of Trebizond and the area returned to New Turks in February 1918.

At these difficult times, thousands of Greeks of the Eastern Pontus and Kars, in order to escape from the Turks, took the road to escaping towards the civilized Russia.

The stories of the relatives of uprooted Greeks and the refugee issue in general, made the Greeks of Russia sensitive, who, already, since the A’ ‘Panhellenic Conference of the Greeks of Russia in July 1917, took the historic decision, with the most important election of the Central Council for the creation of an independent Pontian State with  temporary headquarters in the town of Postib.

For the first time, Pontians of Diaspora   were organized in all major cities of Greece – Athens, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Volos – and abroad.

During the years from 1918 till 1921 The Pontians tried to convince the world including Russia and Greece to help them gain independence by creating an Independent Hellenic state.

They were betrayed by all.

The political event that served as the tombstone of the pontian issue was the Kemal-Bolshevik Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation signed on May 1916.

The weak Kemal Pasha strengthened by Lenin economically, militarily and morally, continued his audience with his audacity. At the same time he appeared at the London Conference with many unreasonable demands, which were not rejected by the winning, allied, Forces.

Instead, they each showed that they were willing to cooperate with Turkey in return for maintaining the old privileged status.

The behavior of the English submarine chief Perrin, who demanded that the Bishop of Amasia Germanos Karavangelis leave his metropolis as a troublemaker because «… devotes all his activity to political purposes and propaganda …», this reveals the hypocritical English policy.

At the same time, the Italian-Kemalic and the Franco-Kemalic agreements sealed the verdict.



After her defeat in the First Balkan War (1912-1913), the Ottoman Empire lost all European lands west of the Ainou-Medeas line in Thrace.

In July 1913, however, the Turks recaptured all the Eastern Thrace, from the Bulgarians, up to Adrianople and Didimoticho.

Just at this time, Turkey was even more closely associated with the policy of the German Empire.

– The Germans, in order to secure the Turks’ involvement anticipating a future conflict – which did not take long to happen – promised the return of the lost Balkan provinces to Turks.

The young Turks again, on the pretext of Turkish defeat in the Balkan Wars and the massive voluntary exodus of Muslim refugees from the Balkan lands, tried, in every way, to implement their nationalist plans, at the expense of the ethnicities that had remained in their already impoverished Empire.

The slogan «Turkey for the Turks» found very strong support from Germany.

The Greeks were the first victims and Armenians the most tragic victims of this policy and of Turkish nationalism.

From 1913 to 1924, with the guilty tolerance of the European states and  US, about 2,500,000 Greeks and Armenians were exterminated, and another 2,000,000 were expelled from their ancestral homes to make Turkey a unified pure Turkish national state.

During1913-1914 Germany was preparing for its final confrontation with the Entente Powers.

The German policy in the Ottoman Empire had triumphed.

The Germans, in the framework of the ‘Drang nach Osten’, had infiltrated so much in Turkey that they had transformed the country into their protectorate.

The young Turks had almost given totally the administration to the Germans, and the Sultan had succumbed to the political will of Kaizer Gulirlm, who, through that by using the German ambassador to Constantinople, Vangenheim, could promote Turkey’s full submission to serve the political, economic and military aspirations of Germany in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Thus the Ottoman Empire had become a prey to German politics and captive of the worldly views of Pangermanism.

The Persecution and the Genocide of Christians during 1913-1918


In December 1913, a German high-level mission headed by Liman von Janders arrived in the city  aiming at reorganizing the Turkish army.

The ultimate goal was, in fact, the complete military control of the Ottoman Empire, in view of the Great War, which would not be delayed. It was not the first time that German military experts were called from the «High Gate».

Previously, the Germans were organizers and advisors to the Turkish army. But in January 1914 the following paradox was happening:  The chief of the Turkish army staff was General Zelendorf, general inspector of the army was Liman von Janders, and twenty other  senior German officials held key positions in the army!

These military officers, by inspecting several strategic parts of the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Thrace, Propontida and Western Asia Minor, noted the existence of hundreds of thousands of Greeks who possessed impressive economic and spiritual superiority over  Muslims.

Liman von Zanders suggested the expulsion of the Greeks from the areas of the 2nd and 3rd Army Corps of Turkey (Thrace, Bithynia, Mysia, Troad, Ionia), because the existence of so many Greeks in these provinces was a serious disadvantage in case of war.

Later on, during the war, German Admiral Ouzentem stated unequivocally that «the Germans have indicated to the Turks the expulsion of the Greeks for strategic reasons.»

Generally, the Germans considered the Greeks and the Armenians of Turkey as a serious obstacle to their aspirations and a barrier to the policy of ‘Drang nach Osten’ policies. That is why they strongly suggested the expulsion of the solid Greek and Armenian populations from their homes.

Ambassador Vangenheim, who was terribly dissatisfied with the Greeks, and von Zanders Pasha, urged the Young Turks to displace Christians because they believed they were  supporters of the English policy in the region, advancing the interests of the Entente Agreement and hence enemies of Germany and  the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

From their point of view, again, in the middle of 1913, the Young Turks sought, in every way, the Ottoman Empire’s independance from the economic influence of the Christian populations.

They were also seeking the recupture of the Aegean islands from Greece and Thrace from Bulgaria.

They planed the full Turktification of the western and northern coasts of Asia Minor, as well as the Armenian villaets of  East.

To ensure the integrity and unification of the Turkish state, the Young Turks had to adopt  tactics, with no sentiment or sensitivity, towards their heterodox or different racial fellow citizens.

Medieval ideas about slaves and masters were put into effect.

Islamic perceptions of the widespread opening of paradise to the «believers» to kill Christians reappeared after centuries.

A basic argument of the Young Turks was the pretention that the other ethnicities, Greeks, Armenians, Syroaldians, Bulgarians, even  Arabs, always conspire against the state with a view to its dissolution.-The desire and outburst for Tuttification of the country was paid dearly by the Christians.

The Greeks were collectively accused as unbelievers in the government and as spies who were working secretly to realize the Greek ‘Great Idea’.

The Armenians, the biggest population among the Christian Ottoman citizens, were considered suspects of conspiracy, rebellion, and subversive actions.

With such arguments, the Young Turks tried to get rid of multi-ethnic nations who had been subjects of their empire for five or six centuries.- Eventually something unprecedented happened.

The state itself organized and directed looting, displacements, persecution, grabbing, rape, extortion, embezzlement, murder, massacre and genocide of millions of its citizens. This was the only way to succeed the main motto of the Young Turks «Turkey to the Turks».

The Turkish peoplebecame  fanatical to  extreme.

The young Turks attributed the defeats and losses of the Balkan territories, the poverty and misery of the rural masses, the misery of the Muslims to the Greeks and the Armenians.

Thousands of Muslims, Muhammadi (or Macedonians, ie refugees) from the European lands occupied by the Balkan allies, resorted to East Thrace and Western Asia Minor.

Immortalized as they were, they became subterfuge of the Young Turks and broke out on the Greek populations, committing all kinds of violence, grabbing and looting.

At the same time, the fanaticism of the local Muslims, who regarded their non Muslim neighbors as the culprits of the suffering suffered  in the Balkans, flickered.-

The persecution began in Eastern Thrace  late 1913.

Since January 14, the Greek government was warned by its ambassador  Dimitrios Panas of the intentions of the Turks to  expel the Greeks from the Asia Minor coasts.

By pursuing a stumbling policy, on April 6, 1914, the Turks suggested to Venizelos the exchange of the Greeks of the Villaet of Aydin ( Smyrna) with the Muslims of Macedonia. Venizelos initially accepted voluntary rather than forced immigration, but the New Turks had already launched systematic persecutions.

At that time Venizelos denounced threats from the parliamentary stage and threatened Turkey with war, because, during these negotiations, Turks had already started persecutions against Greeks

The climate, due to persecutions, was so bad that in June the diplomatic relations between the two countries were almost interrupted.

As early as May 14, the Turkish government had sent all commanders, even to the mercenaries of the villages, orders to prepare the persecution of the Greeks in the rural regions of Thrace and Western Asia Minor.

In a telegram from Interior Minister Talat to the Smyrna administrator Rachmie Bey explicitly states that «the Greek Ottomans … work day and night to realize the Great Idea. Therefore, the … existence of the Greek-Ethnologists is a nasty disgrace for the state … To give our Muslim brothers a verbal instruction, to use all kind of deeds, to force Greeks out willingly or not … «Two days later, Talat sent a new order to Rachmis to displace the Greeks of the Villaet of Smyrna in Theodosioupolis (Erzurum) of Ottoman Armenia.

Fortunately, in the course of things, this order changed and it was considered more expedient to expel the Greeks from Ionia.


The conflict between Greece and Turkey is continuing even after 100 years from the establishment of the modern Turkish state.

This conflict reflects the greater picture of relationships between Turkey and West.

I don’t object that many of the conflicts had to do with financial interest, mainly for the control of energy resources. But there is also a second reason that has to do with the spread of western democratic culture against a Theocratic or oligarchic political culture.

There is no comparison between these two cultures, we cannot compare Sadam Hussein of Iraq, a real dictator or even Kaddafi of Libya with western democracies, so there is no comparison between these two cultures. This is part of the problem that cannot be overlooked in many cases.

Turkey has very good trade relationships with West. The real distance that Turkey is taking from West and specifically from EU has more to do with human rights and International low, that Turkey does not want to comply with,  than any other reason.

It will take years till Turkey could become a real member of EU and coexist with West in general, in spite it’s membership to NATO, which is coincidental, and in spite it’s industrial development which has been achived due to its relationshio with West and the low cost production.

Greece cannot be compared with Turkey in terms of industrial development and defence expenditure  due to huge population difference. Turkey has critical mass while Greece can only specialise in certain vertical sectors such as high quality tourism and services .

Till the time Turkey will approach West,  Turkey will always be an unstable, unreliable, dangerous neighbor or partner for Greece Cyprus EU and USA.

This may be the opposite than what Turkey aims for, which means further distance from West, which will mean very difficult times for the world in general. Many analysts believe that the real conflict will  evolve to a conlict between USA and China.

Cyprus is an ideal opportunity to proove that such coexistance is possible even under such negative circomstances.