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Κάθε μέρα που περνάει με ανησυχούν μικρά και μεγάλα άσχημα νέα που με αναστατώνουν:

Με ανησυχεί πρωτίστως η μακροχρόνια στασιμότητά στην οικονομική ανάπτυξη της Ελλάδας με επίπτωση τις αυξανόμενες απειλές εναντίον της ανεξαρτησίας της, από μία ενισχυμένη Τουρκία.

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Με ανησυχεί ο τρόπος που λειτουργεί το πολίτευμα που επιτρέπει την διοίκηση του κράτους από συγκυριακές και αντιφατικές ιδεολογίες κομμάτων που αντιπροσωπεύουν  μειοψηφίες.

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Με ανησυχεί η επιβίωση του πολιτικού λαϊκισμού  και αμοραλισμού που επιβιώνει παρά τα ψεύδη που διατυμπανίζει και χρησιμοποιεί για προσωρινή  εκμετάλλευση της πολιτικο-οικονομικής εξουσίας.

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Με ανησυχεί η απώλεια του παραγωγικού νέου επιστημονικού δυναμικού που αποδυναμώνει την Ελλάδα από το σημαντικότερο μέσω διαχρονικής επιβίωσης και ανάπτυξης.

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Με ανησυχεί η εθνική διαχρονική διχόνοια που ενισχύει την υποκρισία απέναντι σε σημαντικούς  θεσμούς όπως η ανεξαρτησία των εξουσιών.

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Με ανησυχεί η υφέρπουσα συγκάλυψη τρομοκρατικών τάσεων όπως ο  Ρουβίκωνας σε ρόλο ανεξέλεγκτου παρακράτους – «Θα κάψουμε τον ΣΚΑΪ» ανακοίνωσε.

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Με ανησυχεί η αλλοίωση του εθνικού φρονήματος με την κακώς εννοούμενη διεθνιστική αντίληψη. Βλέπε απώλεια της Εθνικής υπόστασης της ονομασίας Μακεδονία που μετετράπη από Εθνική έννοια  σε τοπωνυμία με απρόβλεπτες εξελίξεις.

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Με ανησυχεί η γήρανση και περιθωριοποίηση τα Ελλάδας που συντελείται στα πλαίσια ακόμα και μίας Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης που αποτελούσε μέχρι πρόσφατα ένα ελπιδοφόρο πείραμα.

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Ανησυχώ για τον φαρισαϊσμό της ιδεοληπτικής τοποθέτησης των δήθεν προοδευτικών κομμάτων. Με την πρόφαση της δήθεν δικαίας αναδιανομής υπέρ  των  αδυνάτων που καταστρέφουν την παραγωγική οικονομία και τελικά πλήττουν και αυτούς  που δήθεν προστατεύουν. Βασικά αναδιανέμουν πριν παράγουν. Και το δράμα είναι ότι  κάτω από την πίεση του ίδιου λαϊκισμού  λειτούργησαν όλες οι πολιτικές δυνάμεις μετά την μεταπολίτευση. Κατάντησε η Ελλάδα να είναι 88η  στον κόσμο στην ανταγωνιστικότητα σε συνδυασμό με την  144η θέση σε μέγεθος φορολογικών επιβαρύνσεων που αποτελεί το κυριότερο βαρίδι στην ανάπτυξη, λόγο διατήρησης ενός υπερβολικού κρατισμού που τρέφει την διαφθορά και τις  πελατειακές σχέσεις της διοίκησης. Αλίμονο αν αυτό συνεχιστεί.

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Αντί να βοηθήσουμε τον λαό να μάθει να ψαρεύει τον ταΐζουμε λίγα ψάρια!

Η γνωστή κινέζικη παροιμία, που λέει ότι «Αν είσαι φίλος, μην μου δίνεις ψάρια να τρώω, μάθε με να ψαρεύω», είναι πολύ επίκαιρη στις σχέσεις μας με τους εταίρους μας.  Για μας έκαναν ακριβώς το αντίθετο.

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

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

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

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

 

The influence of Renaissance and the French revolution.

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

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

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

Conflict of cultures

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

Every such involvement had both positive and negative side effects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aegean Sea and the islands according to international treaties

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Cyprus issue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can I say as reply?

The whole argument lacks any real foundation.

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

What the German thinker said about treaties is wrong

Treaties are to be respected.

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

There are many ways to protect minorities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Macedonian Issue

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Will we accept the deliverance of Macedonia?

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

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

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

We have subsided and found the ashes.

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

We sacrificed our lives and we found ashes ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Macedonian roots

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Alexander’s the Great letter to Darius III:

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

Another statement from Alexander:

I said to them:

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

Herodotus, Histories. Greek historian – 440 BC.

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

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

Slavs and other Ethnicities, the myth of indigenous people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 The history of Pontos

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

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

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

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

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

This is an indication of what was really taking place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have subsided and found the ashes.

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

We sacrificed our lives and we found ashes ….

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

Seferis Nobel winner, Greek from Asia Minor

 

Covering the period from the fall of Constantinople during 1453 to the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire during 1821

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

During recent years we experience a deterioration of Greek- Turkish relationships, especially under the Presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is implementing a revisionary approach against some of its neighbors, in Middle East and west. The situation has developed to serious conflicts in Aegean Sea, the islands and the republic of Cyprus, especially over the issues of island sovereignty and the rights of the Republic of Cyprus to develop its resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone,”

Erdoğan has said that Turkey «gave away» Greek islands that «used to be ours» and are «within shouting distance». «There are still our mosques, our shrines there,» he said, referring to the Ottoman occupation of the islands.

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I have always tried to collect information about how and why my ancestors, from both sides of my family fled from Turkey as refugees during the years 1922-1924.

During my research, I had the opportunity to meet Nancy Horton the daughter of George Horton, US councilor to Smyrna during 1922 the year the Turkish Army, lead by Kemal Atatürk, entered the city after the defeat of the Greek Army that lead to the retreat that was followed by the massacre and expulsion of the entire Greek population from Asia Minor, allowing Turkey to reform to a new state with no Christian minorities which, at that time, consisted a major part of the middle class in Turkey.

Nancy Horton spent her life preserving evidence and reports provided by her father regarding events that took place during this period. Nancy donated to me some of this evidence, some in published books some in photocopies of articles etc. Nancy Horton passed away recently at the age of 103. She was 11 years old during 1922, the same age my closest living relative who survived the experience of the burning of Smyrna and the Turkish atrocities during this period.

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George Horton

As part of my research I had the opportunity to meet both Greeks and Turks who appeared to be both either friendly and supportive for the promotion of Greek Turkish re approach and friendship or, on the other side, people that totally reject any such approach supporting revisionary claims regarding, Aegean sea, the islands, air and sea frontiers and Cyprus issue resolution, which still causes conflicts and animosity, becoming an obstacle for any improvement in Greek Turkish relationships.

With the occasion of the recent memorial of Nancy Horton, I was approached by a Turkish friend whose family was coming from Crete who tried to challenge and counter argue, in defense of Turkish positions and activities committed against Greeks and Armenians, which according to his view were a just retaliations against Greek invasion in Asia Minor and to Greek massacre of Muslim majorities in Macedonia during the Balkan wars as well as to massacres followed by the Greek uprising for independence during 1821-1832 .

turkish_troops_entering_smyrna_9th_september_1922.jpg

As a result of this intervention we had an interesting exchange of arguments reflecting, in many ways, the current different points of view among Greeks and Turks that have increased the tensions over the last years.

I attach a log record of these counter arguments as recorded on Facebook, at the time, for your review and possible criticism.

Personally, I felt it will be productive to make an effort to investigate the historical facts mentioned in support of arguments from both sides.

The most important statement made on his part was that the conflict between the two countries was mainly caused by Greeks who did not take advantage of the ‘progressive’ administration Ottoman administration had. As a most convincing evidence, my friend presented was the fact that Greeks were allowed to prosper in Asia Minor during the years before 1922. It is absolutely true that the Greek community was prospering in many areas of Asia Minor at the end of 19th century and up to 1914 when the movement of New Turks which was established during 1908, initiated a new policy against various minorities mainly of Christina religion, including Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians.

A lot has been written about this period, mostly against what the West is calling “Genocide” for Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians, which Turkey considers as defense against Christian and imperialistic forces that were aiming the destruction of Ottoman Empire. I cannot totally reject the idea but at the same time I believe that we cannot try to explain current events with the prospective of a world which is gradually disappearing, like extreme nationalism, religious or political fundamentalism.

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In this argument the Turkish point of view can be summarized as follows:

  1. Ottoman administration was progressive, consisting the first and greatest Empire that created a truly poly- ethnic state.
  2. West imperialists used Greece as an instrument to destroy Ottoman Empire.
  3. Greeks started a revolution during 1921 invading areas that had a majority of Muslim populations which were massacred by Greek revolutionists.
  4. Macedonia had a Muslim majority which was also massacred by Greeks during the Balkan wars.
  5. Turkey does not respect the rulings of UN, and other international organizations including international courts and international law because they are also controlled by a majority of Christian nations and not Muslim nations.
  6. Greeks and Armenians massacred 2.5 millions of Muslims in Asia Minor.
  7. 17 million Muslims were killed from the rest of the Balkan countries.
  8. Turks in Crete who consisted 40% of the total population were forced to abandon their homes.
  9. The expulsion of Greeks from Istanbul during the 50’s was a just retaliation against the massacres committed by Greeks against Turks in Cyprus, during their fight for independence against the British who were also justified to execute EOKA “terrorists” who killed around 300 British soldiers.
  10. Ottoman Empire was not built by just by Turkish tribes coming from Mongolia and Siberia, Turkish populations become from European local populations as early as 600 AD.
  11. Turkey has a right to all unnamed rocks and islands in Aegean Sea which is not a Greek Sea under Lausanne treaty.
  12. Greece does not respect Lausanne treaty.
  13. Cyprus territorial waters cannot be justified to be a sovereign area because Cyprus does not comply with existing agreements.

These statements summarize the main points from the Turkish points of view excluding a general statement made, about the existence of ancient civilizations that Turks are claiming they have been assimilated by the intruding Turkish tribes.

To my understanding, Turks are trying to eliminate any Greek signs of existence even the Greek identity in monuments from the Hellenistic times.

My effort has mainly been focused in investigating reasons how Greeks managed to maintain their national identity even after 400 years under Ottoman rule and what effect had the influence of western nations and western civilizations.

I personally believe that the issue is not to identify who first got to occupy Asia Minor because it is true that the rise of Ottoman Empire started its imperialistic expansion into Europe a few years before the year 1453, the Conquest of Constantinople   the capital of the Byzantine Empire by the invading Ottoman army on 29 May 1453. The attackers were commanded by the then 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II , who was called   “The Conqueror”.

It is known that Sultan Mehmed II was half Greek and was grown under the influence of a Greek step Mother. This is why he had a sensitivity and admiration to Greek culture.

The capture of the city (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the Byzantine Empire, a continuation of the Roman Empire, an imperial state dating to 27 BC, which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years. The conquest of Constantinople also dealt a massive blow to Christianity, as the Muslim Ottoman armies thereafter were left unchecked to advance into Europe without an adversary to their rear.

So Constantinople was a critical border for the collision of two different cultures representing west and east. Till this time Byzantines were protecting both Christianity and west civilization.

After this Ottomans conquered areas up to Vienna in Central Europe and in Caucasus

To appreciate the effect of Ottoman penetration in Europe it is important to relate events in a chronological sequence.

Historical chronology

1300s:
Turkish tribe known as Ottomans forms small state in western Anatolia.
1352: 
Ottomans invade and begin to occupy Bulgaria.
1371:
Ottomans defeat Serbs and their allies at Battle of Maritsa.
1389:
Ottomans inflict second defeat on Serbs, now led by Prince Lazar, at the Battle of Kosovo, beginning slow conquest of Serbia.
1402:
Ottomans move their capital from Asia Minor to Edirne (Adrianople) in Europe, signaling their intention to become a major European power.
1453:
Ottomans encircle and conquer Constantinople, ending the Byzantine Empire.
1459:
Fall of Smederevo liquidates last remnant of independent Serbian state.
1463: 
Ottomans almost complete conquest of Bosnia, executing last king of Bosnia, Stjepan Tomasevic, at Jajce.
1468:
Albanian warrior prince Skenderbeg dies. Within a decade of his death, Ottomans overrun most of Albania.
1493:
Croatian nobility annihilated at Battle of Krbava in Lika, opening way to Ottoman conquest of much of Croatia.
1526:
Hungarian army crushed at Battle of Mohacs, opening way for Ottoman conquest of Hungary.
1557:
Sultan decrees restoration of Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate, vacant since the 1460s. Return of Patriarchs to Pec stimulates revival of Serbian identity within Ottoman Empire.
1645The war in Crete starts in June 1645

 

1683-1699:
Habsburgs conquer Ottoman-ruled Hungary and Croatia, forging new frontier between “Austrian” and “Turkish” empires. Failed uprising among Serbs in Kosovo results in mass emigration of Serbs to Habsburg Slavonia and Vojvodina.

1715

The Venetians retreated and abandoned Crete delivering the last fortresses to the Turkish conquerors.

1804-1817:
Series of Serbian uprisings ends in establishment of small autonomous Serbian principality within Ottoman Empire under Prince Milos Obrenovic.

1821

 The Greek revolution for independence started from Peloponnese
1867:
Serbian princes consolidate control over new state by expelling Ottoman garrison from Belgrade.
1876-1878:
Uprising in Bulgaria triggers Russo-Turkish war the following year. This ends in Turkish defeat and creation at Congress of Berlin of autonomous Bulgaria within the Ottoman Empire.
Austria occupies Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia throws off last vestiges of autonomy, becoming formally independent and receiving territory to the south. Montenegro also gains territory at expense of Albanians.
1903:
So-called “Ilinden” uprising in Macedonia ends in defeat, as Serbs, Greeks and outside powers hold aloof. Ottomans remain in control of Macedonia.
1908:
Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina, humiliating Serbia. Montenegro’s prince declares himself a king and Bulgaria’s king declares himself a tsar. Young Turk revolution in Constantinople aims to revive Ottoman Empire.
1909-1910:
Anti-Ottoman revolts sweep northern Albania and Kosovo, but rebels’ failure to coordinate or gain support of outside powers allows Ottomans to retain control.
1912-1913:
Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece unite and declare war on Ottomans, overrunning “Turkey-in-Europe”, but then fighting with each other over the spoils.
First and Second Balkan wars end with most of Macedonia, claimed by Bulgaria, going to Serbia and Greece. Serbia also gains Kosovo. Albania declares independence but is unable to secure most majority-Albanian land for the new state.

After more than six centuries, the Ottomans are expelled from the continent, except for Constantinople and eastern Thrace.

So it is important to understand that Muslim inhabitants were formed after 1400.

The situation in Greek mainland after   1453

But what was happening in between with Greeks in Greek mainland and Asia Minor?

The Byzantine Empire which was a truly poly-ethic state was gradually weakened by crusaders from west and became an easy pray for the Ottomans. Constantinople was sieged by Crusaders during 1204 that established a Latin state, but was reclaimed by Greeks during 1261,

Constantinople was reclaimed by the Byzantine Greeks and the Byzantine Empire was restored. From 1261 onwards, Byzantium underwent a gradual weakening of its internal structures and the reduction of its territories from Ottoman invasions culminating in the fall of Constantinople   on May 29, 1453. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople resulted in the official end of both Byzantium and the Byzantine period of Greek history though Medieval Greek life would continue well into the Ottoman period.

When the Ottomans arrived, two Greek migrations occurred. The first migration entailed the Greek intelligential migrating to Western Europe and influencing the advent of the Renaissance. The second migration was iternal, entailed Greeks leaving the plains of the Greek peninsula and resettling in the mountains. The millet system contributed to the ethnic cohesion of Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the Ottoman Empire based on religion.

The Greeks living in the plains during Ottoman rule were either Christians who dealt with the burdens of foreign rule or Crypto-Christians (Greek Muslims who were secret practitioners of the Greek Orthodox faith). Some Greeks became Crypto-Christians to avoid heavy taxes and at the same time express their identity by maintaining their ties to the Greek Orthodox Church. However, Greeks who converted to Islam and were not Crypto-Christians were deemed «Turks» in the eyes of Orthodox Greeks, even if they didn’t adopt the Turkish language. The Ottomans ruled Greece until the early 19th century.

If we look at it in more detail the first 150 years were a resettling period that displaced Greeks from their homes and Turks moved in. The second period became an opportunity for Greeks who helped Greeks to return back. This was good for the Ottoman administration because the Greeks were prospering and Ottomans collected a lot of taxes. The third period the Ottoman Empire was close to bankruptcy and increased the pressure to collect much higher taxes introducing Greek collectors who were left to collect as much money as they wanted, as long as they paid the required tax to the state. This created a real misery for the Greek community. Poverty increased enormously.

One has to differentiate between what was happening in different areas. Peloponnese was the area that suffered the worst pressure and poverty because it was of less importance for the Ottomans It was a very poor province of the Ottoman Empire.

During the 17th century the Ottoman Empire was exhausted by continues wars and financially nearly became bankrupt, so The Sultan introduces a new tax collection system that created the well-known Tsiflicts. The taxes were collected by a newly introduced class of Greeks called Cotzabasis who were collecting the taxes from the Christians, they were paying the correct tax to the state but at the same time were keeping a percentage for themselves as well as a commission to the local Turkish administrator. This process destroyed the Greek population that was lead to total poverty with no property or enough money to survive. This situation created a very wide network of autonomous areas controlled by Turks Pashas and Greeks jontly working even against the Ottoman administration.

During the 19th century the Ottoman state impose even more extremely demanding rules for the collection of money and taxes. A Greek from Smyrna was saying that the Ottoman state is like a snake that could accuse you in any way they liked imposing judgments in court as cruel as death penalties. There was not any justice, no protection. I have a personal experience of this situation as, my Grandfather was beaten to death by tax collection authorities

But collection of taxes was not the only burden that made Greeks very insecure. From 1422 till 1718, within three centuries there were eight wars between Ottomans and Venetians.  Peloponnese became a battle ground, during 1486, when Methone was conquered by the Turkish Army, all inhabitants were butchered, and new inhabitants came to reside after instructions from the Sultan.

Every village and town in Peloponnese was ordered to send five families to Methone Something similar took place in Argos and Nafplion where these new inhabitants were killed or taken as slaves and new inhabitants were brought in from Albania.

The grabbing of Greek children was another inhuman tax imposed by the Ottomans on the Christians during the first centuries of the Ottoman domination until 1638. The sultan decided where and when the boys would be recruited for the needs of the army and the administration.

The Turkish envoy appeared in the villages and demanded that all fathers and their sons should appear before them. From these he chose the most healthy and strong to become janissaries. At the beginning the Turks took children aged 6-7 years and only one child from each family. Later, however, the army expanded to 8-10 years of age and slowly increased the number of children per family, until all male children were likely to be given. Christians have reached the point of marrying their boys at an early age or changing their faith with their will to avoid the process. And that did not always benefit, since the Turks hardly took into consideration such details.

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Grabbing Christian children was probably the biggest wound for Hellenism during the Ottoman domination. The children who were grabbing were considered to be permanently lost. In Epirus region, on the first Sunday after the rapture, their parents went to the church, where a sacred event was performed. The priest announced the names of the children who were considered dead.

When the sultan’s envoys completed the number children who were going to become janissaries were sent to the city. There, they had a haircut they were choosing the strongest and most beautiful ones for further training.

During 1683 The Turks retreated, chased by the Venetians. On their retreat took with them Greeks as slaves.

While Venetians were bombarding Athens, Peloponnese was totally destroyed. The population was reduced from 300 thousands to 100 thousands.

From those, many hided on the mountains. The second reason to retreat to the mountains was to avoid the tax collection. This retreat again generated many mountain villages and a new community develops that the Ottomans identified as a new source of revenue, so they organize joint groups formed from joint forces Greek and Turkish responsible for tax collection. These groups acted as policemen as well.

These Greek armed forces were called Armatoli (armed Greeks). At the same time a second armed group was created complementary to the other due to the dangerous mountainous life which was armed and lived almost like robbers because they could not pay the taxes, this group was called Cleftes (thieves).  Cleftes were basically outlaws as they consisted of people who were pushed to become outlaws out of poverty, not being able to pay taxes but they were most liked by the oppressed Greeks living on the mountains who felt sympathy, they were something like Roben of the woods.

To understand the pressure to collect taxes, a widowed woman with five children, crying, went and begged the local musters to reduce her tax a little because she could not pay. She stressed that he had sold everything she had precious. She also had to feed and dress three daughters and two sons. As soon as the man heard that she had so many children, he interrupted her and told her in cynicism: Sell two of your children and paid your taxes.

Avoiding tax payment was a serious criminal act that could bare serious and cruel punishment, even execution, nothing to do with the idea of a multi ethnic Empire.

The most barbaric possible execution by the Turks was the dismemberment of the victim and the exposure of his shredded members to public space. This execution was called partition or squatting, and the Turks enforced it in spies, rebels and prisoners. It became public and gave it a festive character. When, at the end of the 15th century, the Turks defeated the Venetians in the Peloponnese, arrested 500 captives and sent them to the city. There they executed all of them by partitioning.

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The Turks tried to bribe the Cleftes by giving them land to become Armatoli hence they created a new class of rich land owners who were now armed. Some of them became very rich. But this situation could not be sustained for long.

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During the Russian Turkish war the Russians believed that they could use Greeks to fight against Turks but Greeks were not organized to provide such help although they hoped that Russians could help them to gain independence.

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When the Russians (Orlof Brothers) abandoned this idea Turks brought some 15000 Albanian missionaries who initially massacred 3 000 Greeks in Tripoli. But this was only the beginning they curried on killing a huge number of Greeks.

As the Russian fleet departed abandoning the idea, they burned down the town of Navarino. The Turks retaliated punishing Greeks by taking 20 000 of them to slavery. As a consequence 50.000 Greeks (which was 1/6 of the total population) escaped and never returned to Peloponnese. These 50 thousand Greeks spread around the islands and Asia Minor, spreading horror stories about Turkish barbarism.

Navarino.jpg

It is true that conditions in the islands and Asia Minor was not as bad, yet tax collections were still creating serious conflicts and the only reason for Sultan to allow Christian subjects to retain their property and their job was to maintain a healthy financial and productive environment which was contributing to the Empire. This did not happen in Peloponnese.

After all these hardships it was natural that the environment was ideal for Peloponnese to become the area where ideas of freedom could grow. The rest of Greeks had less pressure, or better environment to grow, the islands were also suffering from piracy, but they were open to the outside world and its influences with ideas of freedom, due to commercial activities and the fleet they maintained.

Peloponnese could not be considered an area where Greeks could be treated as equal subjects of the Ottoman Empire. It was easy for them to accept ideas of freedom generated by French revolution and Greek culture maintained abroad and in Asia Minor.

During 1821, a major Greek revolt broke out in Southern Greece. Insurgents gained control of most of the countryside while the Muslims fled to the fortified towns and castles. Each one of them was besieged and gradually through starvation or surrender most were taken over by the Greeks. In the massacres of April 1821 some 15,000 were killed. The worst massacre happened in Tripolitsa, some 8,000 Muslims and Jews died.

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In the end an Independent Greece was set up. Most of the Muslims in its area had been killed or expelled during this period.

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The only census I managed to identify for Greek mainland is included in the following table.

POPULATION CENSUS DURING YEARS 1821 AND 1828

Area 1821 1821 1828 1828 Reduction of Christian populations
Christians Turks Christians Turks
Peloponise 458000 42750 400000 …… 58000
Sterea Hellas 247850 20865 172850 11450 75000
Aegion  Islands 169300 »»»»» 169100 ……… 200
Totals 875150 63615 741960 11450 132200
Genera population 938765 753400

 

I have not tried to investigate every area of the Ottoman Empire in Europe and Middle East. It is certain that conflicts have been taking place in Central Europe, the Balkans and Caucasus and they were significant losses on both sides, Christians and Muslims.

My focus is on Greek areas so let me proceed whith information on Ctrete.

Situation in Crete

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The «Cretan War» began in June 1645, when 60,000 Turks landed and invaded unpredictably in Chania, fighting the Venetians.

In August of the same year, the Ottomans conquered the city and a little later Rethymno. Within two years central Crete had turned into a huge battlefield.

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In 1648, the whole island was under a Turkish rule, with the exception of Candia, today Heraklion, due to its impregnable walls and Koule.

After 21 years of siege, on September 27, 1669, the Great Castle fell. In the longest siege of Europe, 30,000 Greeks and Venetians, as well as 117,000 Turks, have died.

After the fall of the city, there were extensive material damages and atrocities from the Ottomans. Many residents, to be saved have abandoned the island, others were sold as slaves, and others became Turkscretes, ie Cretans who embraced Muslims. There were also several young Cretans who fled to the fortresses of Gramvousa, Souda and Spinalonga, from where they decided to confront the conquerors. When these fortresses fell, the guerrillas fled to the mountains.

This  time the Cretian equivalent to Cleftes and Armatoli called Hainides (Haines), from the Arab word hain which meant something like traitors, appeared to fight the occupying Turks.

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For the Cretans, of course, the Hainides (Haines) were the rebels and revolutionaries (against Ottoman occupiers), who by their means tried to exterminate the Turks. The Haines were also known as «good-morning fighters,» as they used to descend from the mountains to the lowlands during the nights and make sudden and bloody raids against the Ottomans.

The extermination of the Christians and the atrocities of janissaries in Crete

In 1715 the Venetians surrender the last Fortresses and shelters to the Turkish conquerors.

Until 1770, Crete was in tragic circumstances. The Turkish authorities, ignoring the Sultan’s decrees, imposed heavy taxes on the inhabitants and oppressed the Christian population in every way. The most unscrupulous activities, however, were done by the Janissaries, who had settled on the island since the beginning of the Turkish invasion and gradually grew in number.

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Violence and brutality against the Christian population had reached the the limit. Even Sultan orders were not enough to limit the janissaries’ impudence. In fact, some janissaries, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, were infamous about their crimes and remained in the memory and songs of the Cretan people. Aliedakis in Chania, Arif Agas in Rethymnon, Benedes the Apostinis and Hanialis in Heraklion, Meet Agas or Meetakas in Sitia, were some of them.

This information is undisputable, to explain why Cretans desired Union with Greece.
Situation in Macedonia, the Balkan Wars, Pontos and the happenings after 1908 will follow in part II of this article.

 

Attached please find some comments made by my Turkish friend  Sukan Gurkaynak:

«It is true that Greeks and Armenians dominated the Ottoman economy. They also paid no taxes and we never understood why they could not be thankful and live in peace. Moslems were poor and bleeding to death in wars initiated by Russia. Economic growth was at one percent a year. After 1913, the Ottoman government brutally discriminated against Greeks and Armenians. Economic growth went to 6% a year and has been there since 1924. Moslems have been getting richer ever since, Turkey is by now an industrial economy. Greece and Armenia are populated by people who think they are very able and hard working, and at least some of them we Turks are shit, have reached little. How would you explain that?

I went to the Turkish army when I was 30. There I met a Turk whose entire family was from Anatolia. All other Turks I met until then were he descendants of genocide survivors from the Caucasus, Crimea and the Balkans. In sum 30 million citizens of Turkey today. I remember an American school book from the 1890ies stated, the time would soon come when Islam, that is we European Moslems, would disappear back to the deserts of Arabia. Was that not what Greece intended when invading Anatolia in 1920?

This about the economic crisis: I remember a Turkish crisis in 1963, when I was 10, the Turks asked the Americans to save them and the Americans told them to spend less money. The Turkish press was furious that Turks were to spend less money, that was imperialism preventing Turkish prosperity. Is that not also the Greek crisis? As Europe was introducing the Euro, the Economist wrote, Britain would not because the British working class could not compete with the Germans and the British did not understand how the Greeks could imagine they could. So it was a crisis which was coming.

We do not trust institutions of the West. French president Hollande said, Greek islands gave the West a possibility to control the Mediterranean. They will not give that up. Besides no one in Turkey needs a confrontation with Greece.»

 

Further exchange of conflicting arguments exposing the serious differences of opinions between our points of view.

Sukan Gurkaynak My Grandfather was an officer in the Turkish army. They came to a Turkish village Greeks had evacuated. They had killed everyone except a little girl. He took the girl with him and my family adopted her. The Armenian and Greek rebellions costed the lives of 2,5 Million Turkish civilians. They were murdered to make the Moslem majority disappear from the territory Greek and Armenian nationalists coveted.

John Linaris The ones who disappeared from Asia Minor (today’s Turkey) are the original inhabitants, the Greeks and the Armenians! Their butchers, the Turks, are still there! The reality talks! Many non-Greeks and non-Armenians historians, travelers and writers verify that! George Horton was one of them! It’s time to stop hiding behind your finger! The only thing you manage to do is to ridicule yourselves!

Sukan Gurkaynak John Linaris Latin was initially the language spoken around Rome. With the Roman Empire it became the language in many countries in Europe. In its French and Spanish versions it is the language of many peoples in Africa and America. A Congolese or Paraguayan is generally not the descendant of the inhabitants of Rome 500 BC. This is how imperial languages operate. Greek after Alexander and Turkish are also imperial languages. Your presumption, anyone who speaks Turkish today must of necessity be a descendant of a Turkish tribe of 1500 years ago is simply wrong. The Turks of Turkey are the inhabitants of the European (including Anatolia) regions of the Ottoman empire. Their ancestors became Moslems when the Ottoman Empire offered them the freedom of religion. Greeks and Armenians, members of the respective churches, not necessarily ethnic Greeks or Armenians, live in peace and for 1000 years. In the 19th century came the imagination they were master race people and we sub-humans to be mass murdered. For 100 years the Ottoman Empire tried to accommodate them. They responded by mass murdering Moslems at every opportunity, the latest event in Bosnia in the 1990ies. In sum over 5 Million people were killed. After the Balkan war 1912 the situation was clear: either we let them force us out of Anatolia, or we don’t. Look at the Palestinians and the Israelis are no way as brutal as Greeks. Anatolia had in 1914 a population of 18 million, around 3 million of that Greeks + Armenians. The two wanted everything!

Nick Kouzos to Sukan Gurkaynak

The origin of Turks    http://nickkouzos.com/about/ read my response in the link. Which gives a detailed response about historical roots of the Turkish nation.

Sukan Gurkaynak Both Greek and Turkish as languages are late comers to Anatolia. The Greeks Hellenized names which they found in Anatolia, the Turks did the same. Most Anatolian towns have pre-Hellenic names, most have been forgotten by now.

Sukan Gurkaynak When I was a boy, Greek was spoken by many Moslems and Greeks in Istanbul. When Makarios, Grivas and Papandreau started killing Turks on Cyprus, Turkey retaliated by deporting all citizens of Greece resident in Istanbul. If you look Turks of Western Thrace in Wikipedia, you will see there 1 million of them. 90% were forced into exile by Greek policies. There were large numbers of Moslems in what is now Greece. They were killed or forced into exile to get a ethnically pure Greece. Turkey has a population of 80 Million, of that 30 Million are people whose ancestors were forced out of their homes ion Europe. 15 Millions from the Balkans. Were they to, but go back, the majorities in the Balkans would change. My information is that until the Greek invasion of Anatolia, there was mass dying by Greeks. In that war around 3-500000 died. Not good but Moslem casualties are far heavier. Alone at Greek independence 300 000 a third of the population were killed. No one in that territory survived.

Nick Kouzos I cannot explain how there only 1500 Greeks left in Turkey while there are around 150.000 Muslims in east Thrace. Also why most Turkish towns still have Greek names. There were killings by both sides but there could be no comparisons. The total population in Greek mainland was about 4,5 million inhabitants. So the loss of 2.5 million Greeks that were killed or expelled was a much larger percentage in relation to the total population of Greeks worldwide.

Nick Kouzos The international reports and most independent sources do not mention figures of this magnitude. We all need to be more careful when we try to explain historical facts. I only present very credible sources of information such as Ambassadors. The origin of my family is from Kirkagats outside of Ismir and Karsi Yaka in peninsula of Kyzikos, My Grandfather was bitten to death by Turks in Kirkagats where there were 5,000 Greeks and 15000 of Turks. The total Greek population left with the retreating Greek Army, nobody touched a Turkish inhabitant and local Turks were crying when their Greek friends left. So it is not easy to generalize. The situation in Cyprus was much later and during a fight for independence against the British. The Turkish minority in Cyprus was 18%.
In any case I don’t want to excuse any atrocities by any party but, in General, Turks have been a militant society, this is why the middle class in Turkey consisted mainly from Greeks Armenians and Jews during 19th and 20th century, may be this is the real reason why Kemal decided to get rid of minorities. Greeks were prospering during this period and were contributing to the country not killing Turks this is absurd.

Nick Kouzos I think you should read a little more history about Cultures and Languages, just try to learn how many Greek words are included in English Italian and French. You can speak in Greek for half hour to English speaking audience and they will understand. It is obvious what Turkish people are trying to do regarding history and culture you despise everything Greek but the world is not convinced with this historic violation which is similar to SKOPIA calling Alexander the Great being a Slav And you may even call Homer as Omer.

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos The Greek words in English were put there by Englishmen who wanted Greek words in their language. Turkish words in Japanese an Maya have always been there. We do not despise everything Greek. The Greek daily culture is not much different from ours. We are not obsessed with the ancient world like Greeks are. Greeks are also far more interested in Turkey than the other way around. We have other problems. I have no idea which language Alexander spoke. He used Greek as a language of culture which is not the same thing as being Greek. All of Northern Europe used Latin as a cultural language until the 19th century. Mussolini loved that. But he was Mussolini.

 

Nick Kouzos I am amazed that you don’t know what language Alexander was speaking. There was no other language spoken in the area since Homer. Alexander’s Teacher was Aristoteles. Ancient Greek was the everyday common language in what is today Greece as well in Asia

 

Sukan Gurkaynak As far as I know, Ancient Greek was the language spoken by elites and as such a cultural language. It was not the only language spoken in Anatolia and the Balkans. Strabo writes of other languages spoken in his time, we do not know which these were. We lived in peace with Greeks for centuries, that was destroyed when Greeks were euphoric about the Russia genocide of Moslems in Bulgaria 1876 and late by the Balkan war 1912. The invasion of Anatolia and the butchery on Cyprus did the rest. There was an article in the German Daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung explaining why Greece was given so much money which it could not pay back. They were saying Greece was from the very beginning devised as a counter-weight to Ottoman power. Pity that people who are so close were reengineered into enemies.

Nick Kouzos If we don’t know which languages were spoken is enough to demonstrate the importance of Greek at the time but as far as Alexander and Greek mainland no other languages were spoken. But bringing back the Balkan Wars and the Cyprus issue one needs to look each case separately. Butchery is a heavy word which could be used by each side according circumstances and not objectively. Invasion of the western powers in Turkey was not the decision of Greece, Greeks were supportive for the creation of new Turkey introduced by the New Turks movement but the killings against the Armenians during 1914-15 and against Greeks later was a very bad change. I have first hand personal experiences from both branches of my family. My father was born in Karsi yaka in Kyzikos where there were 42 villages and two Armenian there was no Turkish Villages at all. The village had the Greek name Peramos and was burned to the ground during 1915. My Grand Father was the head master of Peramos totally Greek Primary School. The building of the school is still there, The current inhabitants are Turks from the exchange of population from West Thrace during 1924.

 A lot more was exchanged that I will be publish in  PartII of the article.

More about my family history and other historical details and information about the origin of Turks and the Greek Turkish conflict is given in my blog at http://www.nickkouzos.com.        I would appreciate any additional information about personal experiences from Greeks or Turks who were involved in these very dificult circomstanses.

 

 

 

 

 

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Θέλω να μοιραστώ μαζί σας, για μια ακόμη φορά τις σκέψεις μου, για την κατάσταση που βιώνουμε με τις εξελίξεις που έχουν φέρει τους περισσότερους από εμάς  σε πολύ άσχημη κατάσταση.

Αισθάνομαι ότι περνάμε μία περίοδο οικονομικής εξαθλίωσης για όλα τα κοινωνικά στρώματα. εργαζόμενους στον ιδιωτικό και δημόσιο τομέα, εργοδότες, συνταξιούχους, ελεύθερους επαγγελματίες, αγρότες και το κράτος το ίδιο, που είναι αποτέλεσμα  του μειωμένου συνολικού παραγόμενου προϊόντος σε μία περίοδο που το παραγόμενο προϊόν στην περιοχή μας, δηλαδή Βαλκάνια, αλλά και Ευρώπη είναι αυξανόμενο, για να μην αναφερθώ και στο συνολικό παγκόσμιο προϊόν.

Αποτέλεσμα αυτής της οικονομικής εξαθλίωσης δεν μπορεί παρά έχει επιπτώσεις και στα εθνικά θέματα εφόσον οι  άσπονδοι φίλοι, σύμμαχοι και εχθροί εκμεταλλεύονται την οικονομική μας κατάσταση, βλέπε Τουρκία και όχι μόνο.

Σε οποιαδήποτε οικονομικο-πολιτική κοσμοθεωρία και αν είστε θιασώτες αποτελεί αναμφισβήτητο γεγονός είναι ότι ο διακρατικός παγκόσμιος ανταγωνισμός λειτουργεί  καπιταλιστικά.

Τα κράτη ανταγωνίζονται να παράγουν προϊόντα για να τα εξάγουν σε άλλα κράτη και με τον τρόπο αυτό να αυξάνουν τον δικό τους πλούτο, είτε αυτός είναι ιδιωτικός είτε  δημόσιος ανεξάρτητα αν ο πλούτος αυτός διανέμεται δίκαια η όχι.

Ενδεχομένως αυτό να αποτελεί  μία υπερ απλουστευτική θεώρηση, δεν παύει όμως να αποτελεί ένα από τους βασικότερους συντελεστές για την ανάπτυξη κάθε οικονομίας που σε συνέχεια διαμορφώνει συνθήκες επιβίωσης.

Η παραπάνω διαπίστωση ερμηνεύει τον λόγο για τον οποίο μία ριζοσπαστική πολιτική δύναμη της αριστεράς  προσχώρησε στην πρακτική της, παγκοσμίως πλέον γνωστής, ‘κολοτούμπας’.

Η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται πλέον στο κατώτατο επίπεδο των καταλόγων των κρατών της Ευρώπης σε ρυθμούς ανάπτυξης, κατανάλωσης, παραγωγής πλούτου, ποσοστό υλικής στέρησης, ενώ ταυτόχρονα έχει απαξιωθεί τόσο η περιουσία, όσο και ο κατώτατος μισθός, έχει εξαφανισθεί η δυνατότητα τραπεζικής χρηματοδότησης, χωρίς να έχει αναβαθμιστεί κανένας τομέας, συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του τομέα της Εθνικής Άμυνας,  ενώ παραμένουν τα μόνιμα διαχρονικά προβλήματα της γραφειοκρατίας, της εγκληματικότητας, της ανασφάλειας, της μετανάστευσης της,  υπογεννητικότητας, της φοροδιαφυγής, της διαφθοράς, του μικροκομματισμού, της κρατικοδίαιτης επιχειρηματικότητας, της αναποτελεσματικότητας του δημοσίου και των προβλημάτων που αναφύονται από τις αυξανόμενες ροές προσφύγων.

Ειδικά για την υπογενητικότητα «Οδεύουμε προς το τέλος της νεοελληνικής κοινωνίας όπως την έχουμε γνωρίσει έως τώρα»  όπως ανέφερε ο Αναστάσιος Λαυρέντζος, συγγραφέας του βιβλίου «Σιωπηρή Άλωση, επισημαίνοντας ότι, σύμφωνα με στοιχεία του ΟΗΕ, ο ελληνικός είναι ο έκτος πιο γερασμένος πληθυσμός στον κόσμο. Εάν συνεχιστούν αυτοί οι ρυθμοί ο πληθυσμός το 2050 θα έχει μειωθεί σε 6,5 με 8 εκατομμύρια άτομα.

Δεν ξέρω ποιον να κατηγορήσω πρώτα για την κατάντια αυτή:

  1. Την Πρώτη μεταπολιτευτική περίοδο με τους αδηφάγους μεγαλοαστούς που έβγαζαν τα κεφάλαιά τους εκτός Ελλάδος;
  2. Την περίοδο της πρώτης φοράς αριστερά του Ανδρέα που μοίραζε τα χρήματα της Ευρώπης δημιουργώντας ένα πνεύμα ευημερίας με δανικά χωρίς αντίκρισμα, χωρίς την αναγκαία αιμοδοσία στον παραγωγικό ιδιωτικό τομέα αλλά και χωρίς την δημιουργία υποδομής στον δημόσιο, δημιουργώντας μόνο την καινούργια τάξη κρατικοδίαιτων επιχειρηματιών αλλά και στρατιές συνδικαλιστών που συναλλάσσονταν με την πολιτική εξουσία δημιουργώντας καρεκλοκένταυρους;
  3. Την νεότερη δεξιά που ευαγγελίζονταν την εφαρμογή μίας αξιοκρατικής και φιλελεύθερης πολιτικής αλλά υπέκυπτε στις βαθιές ρίζες του κακώς εννοούμενου συνδικαλισμού για τους ίδιους ψηφοθηρικούς λόγους;
  4. Tην νέα μορφή ριζοσπαστικής αριστεράς του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ που θα μείνει στην ιστορία σαν η επιτομή του τακτισμού της νέας γενιάς πολιτικών που ανέδειξαν το ψεύδος σαν αποδεκτό εργαλείο πολιτικής αναρρίχησης αλλά με αρκετή δόση ρεαλισμού για να πουλήσει και τις πιο βασικές αρχές και ιδεολογίες του σοσιαλισμού, εφαρμόζοντας τις πιο ακραίες μεθόδους αντιαναπτυξιακής πολιτικής, υπακούοντας σε όλες τις απαιτήσεις των δανειστών συμβιβαζόμενοι, για χάρη της παραμονής στη εξουσία, με τα πιο ακραία εθνικιστικά στοιχεία του Ελληνικού κοινοβουλίου;
  5. Αλλά και πέραν των δικών μας εσωτερικών προβλημάτων να κατηγορήσω και την ακραία ωφελιμιστική συμπεριφορά μίας Ευρώπης που αποτυγχάνει να ολοκληρώσει τις αρχές δημιουργίας της; Μίας Ευρώπης που βλέπει την Ελλάδα σαν το κακομαθημένο παιδί που απαιτεί δικαιώματα χωρίς να αναγνωρίζει υποχρεώσεις και συνέπεια στην εκτέλεση των συμβατικών δεσμεύσεων, με αποτέλεσμα η ίδια να αποζητά την αποδέσμευσή της από τον ρόλο του σωφρονιστής και παιδαγωγού δανειστή με κάθε μέσο και τρόπο;
  6. Τέλος πόσο συμβάλει στην κατάσταση αυτή η διαχρονική γεωπολιτική θέση της Ελλάδας και ιδιαίτερα σε αυτή την ασταθή περίοδο με την επιθετικότητα της Τουρκίας που εγκυμονεί σύρραξη με την Ελλάδα;

Είναι εμφανές, για την διαμόρφωση της δική μου άποψης, ότι η χώρα αποτελεί ένα πιόνι στην σκακιέρα   που παίζονται τα συμφέροντα πολύ μεγαλύτερων δυνάμεων χωρίς εμείς να  μπορούμε να προστατεύσουμε αποκλειστικά τα δικά μας συμφέροντα.

Δυστυχώς η ιστορία δεν μας έχει διδάξει επαρκώς. Η Ελλάδα ιστορικά έπαιξε τον ρόλο των ακριτικών συνόρων της Ευρώπης και ότι βοήθεια έχει λάβει, αυτό έχει γίνει για να παίξει αυτόν το πάρα πάνω ρόλο. Η ανταμοιβή μας  είναι η  ανεξαρτησία μας απέναντί στην επεκτατική δύναμη της ανατολής, πολιτισμικού, οικονομικού και θρησκευτικού κατεστημένου. Το τίμημα όμως είναι πολύ μεγάλο, σε ανθρώπινη και οικονομική αιμορραγία και υποτέλεια.

Για τον λόγο αυτό  καταλήγω στα πιο απλοϊκά συμπεράσματα:

Η πραγματική ανεξαρτησία μας εξαρτάτε απολύτως από την βιωσιμότητα της δικής μας οικονομίας  και αυτή ασφαλώς εξαρτάτε από την αύξηση του παραγομένου προϊόντος. και  κυρίως του εξαγώγιμου προϊόντος.

Μία γενιά πρέπει να υποστεί μία συνειδητή θησεία αλλά με πνεύμα ανταποδοτικότητας, για την επίτευξη αυτού του στόχου όπως ακριβώς και η γενιά του 21 και η γενιά των Βαλκανικών πολέμων που τριπλασίασε την χώρα, μόνο που σήμερα ο πόλεμος δεν γίνεται στο στρατιωτικό πεδίο  αλλά στο οικονομικό. Το στρατιωτικό εξαρτάτε απόλυτα από αυτό. Ο ηρωισμός σήμερα βρίσκεται στο πεδίο των εξαγωγών της εφευρετικότητας και της παραγωγικότητας .

Μακριά από τα παιδιά των κομματικών σωλήνων που επενδύουν μόνο στον έλεγχο του ψηφοθηρικού τους κεφαλαίου, μακριά από τις ιδεοληψίες και τους κομματικούς μηχανισμούς.

Προσπάθεια και ηρωισμοί μόνο στα πεδία της παραγωγής, ας παλέψουν οι νέοι στην πλατφόρμα των νεοφυών επιχειρήσεων, ας παλέψουν οι αγρότες για παραγωγή στον πρωτογενή τομέα εξαγωγών, ας αποδεσμεύσουν οι ιδιοκτήτες μέρος των δεσμευμένων κεφαλαίων ακινήτων τους στο πασίγνωστο πλέον   Airbnb,  ας αξιοποιήσουμε την μεγάλη ηλιοφάνεια της χώρας για να παράγουμε ενέργεια, ας αξιοποιήσουμε το internet για να πουλήσουμε υπηρεσίες εκτός Ελλάδος, ας σταματήσουμε να καταναλώνουμε εισαγόμενα προϊόντα, ας πουλήσουμε υπηρεσίες ιατρικού τουρισμού αντί να εξάγουμε ιατρικό και νοσηλευτικό προσωπικό στο εξωτερικό, ας σταματήσουμε να φορολογούμε τις εξαγωγές με τον ίδιο τρόπο που φορολογούμε την ντόπια κατανάλωση, ας συνεργαστούν τα πανεπιστήμια με τις ντόπιες επιχειρήσεις, ας οργανώσουμε τον πρωτογενή τομέα να προάγει τις εξαγωγές με συμμετοχή σε διεθνείς εμπορικές εκθέσεις και τυποποίηση των προϊόντων τους, ας επιτρέψουμε την λειτουργία ιδιωτικών πανεπιστημίων.

Ας αξιοποιήσουμε τις ακτές μας και τις βραχονησίδες μας με την επένδυση σε ταχύπλοες μεταφορές και υδροπλάνα.

Ας αξιοποιήσομε τον πολιτισμό και την ιστορία μας χωρίς να κλείνουμε τους αρχαιολογικούς χώρους και τα μουσεία μας με συνδικαλιστικά κίνητρα.

Αν δεν λειτουργήσουμε με αυτό το πνεύμα προβλέπω η γενιά αυτή να είναι η υπαίτιος της δημιουργίας της νέας μοιρολατρίας για την επόμενη εθνική καταστροφή. Εμείς και οι πολιτικοί της γενιάς μας θα ήμαστε οι Εθνικοί προδότες.

 

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Σε αρκετές περιόδους της Νεοελληνικής ιστορίας βιώνεται η διαφθορά και είναι φυσικό, το φαινόμενο αυτό συχνά να αποτελεί την “αχίλλειο πτέρνα”  στην πολιτική ζωή της χώρας.

Αν προσπαθήσει κανείς να αναλύσει το φαινόμενο θα αντιληφθεί ότι  το πρόβλημα είναι παγκόσμιο αλλά έχει τοπικές ιδιομορφίες.

Το παράδειγμα της  NOVARTIS ήρθε και ανέδειξε επίκαιρο το πρόβλημα, επισκιάζοντας την διαφθορά που συγκλόνισε και ακόμα συγκλονίζει  την οικονομική, κοινωνική και πολιτική ζωή της χώρας καθημερινά σε όλους τους τομείς.

Κανείς  δεν μπορεί να φέρει αντίρρηση ότι η εξουσία και το κυνήγι του κέρδους διαφθείρει.

Ο μόνος τρόπος να αντιμετωπισθεί το πρόβλημα είναι η δημιουργία θεσμών και διαδικασιών που να το περιορίζει.

Δυστυχώς το κέρδος και η εξουσία αλληλοϋποστηρίζονται γεγονός που καθιστά την αντιμετώπιση ιδιαίτερα πολυδιάστατη.

Είναι λοιπόν  σημαντικό  να δημιουργηθούν θεσμοί και διαδικασίες ελέγχου τόσο της εξουσίας όσο και του κέρδους.

Έλεγχος της εξουσίας σε αυταρχικά καθεστώτα είναι αδύνατη εξ ορισμού.

Έλεγχος του κέρδους είναι καθαρά θέμα ελεύθερου ανταγωνισμού σε συνδυασμό με την εφαρμογή διαδικασιών ελέγχου που θα διασφαλίζουν ακριβώς αυτόν τον ελεύθερο ανταγωνισμό.

Η ανάμιξη της εξουσίας στις διαδικασίες ελέγχου ακυρώνει την αξιοπιστία της ίδιας της εξουσίας.

Η πιο επικίνδυνη ανάμιξη   της εξουσίας γίνεται με την κατάλυση της ανεξαρτησίας των αρχών.

Η ανεξαρτησία των αρχών καταλύεται  με την συναλλαγή, συναλλαγή γίνεται με τον καθορισμό της μισθοδοσίας των στελεχών των ανεξαρτήτων αρχών, με την πρόσληψη φιλικά προσκείμενων στελεχών, η αντικατάσταση κατά βούληση άλλων.

Βέβαια η παρέμβαση στην ανεξαρτησία των θεσμών δεν είναι ο μόνος τρόπος να μεθοδεύει θετικά η αρνητικά τα αποτελέσματα της λειτουργίας της δικαστικής εξουσίας σε ότι αφορά την καταπολέμηση της διαφθοράς.

Υπάρχουν πολλοί τρόποι που δημιουργούν πρόσφορο έδαφος για  την ανάπτυξη της διαφθοράς, όπως, η υπερβολική γραφειοκρατία, η πολυνομία, ο φανατισμός, η μεροληπτική μεταχείριση ομάδων του πληθυσμού, η ανικανότητα διοίκησης, κλπ.

Για να υπάρξει αποτελεσματικότητα στην καταπολέμηση της διαφθοράς θα πρέπει να μελετηθούν οι περισσότεροι από τους παραπάνω λόγους που επηρεάζουν και δημιουργούν τις συνθήκες αυτές ώστε να σχεδιαστούν μέθοδοί και διαδικασίες  ελέγχου ανεξάρτητοι από την εκτελεστική εξουσία.

Δεν είναι βέβαια εύκολο αυτό, είναι όμως πρωταρχικής σημασίας άλλως ματαιοπονούμε και καταντάμε σε “κυνηγούς μαγισσών”.

Δεν έχω πραγματικά δει ουσιαστικά αποτελέσματα αντιμετώπισης του φαινομένου της διαφθοράς αντίθετα  λειτουργεί μόνο σαν όπλο στο πεδίο διαμάχης των πολιτικών παρατάξεων για τη διεκδίκηση της εξουσίας, χωρίς όμως κανένας να ασχολείται με τις πηγές που προβλήματος  που ανέφερα παραπάνω.

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Επιτέλους ας αναπτύξουν οι πολιτικοί μας λίγο κοινό νου (common sense).
Αλλά και σαν λαός ας σταματήσουμε να τρώμε τόσο πολύ κουτόχορτο που μας ταΐζουν, ανεξαιρέτως, οι ωφελιμιστές πολιτικοί από κάθε πλευρά και περισσότερο απ’ όλους οι κυβερνόντες γιατί πέραν της οικονομικής καταστροφής μας οδηγούν και στην απαξίωση του πολιτεύματος.
1. Δεν έχει γίνει μεταρρύθμιση στο κράτος
2. Δεν υπάρχει ανάπτυξη με τους μισούς Έλληνες να βρίσκονται σε αδυναμία πληρωμών από τους δυσβάστακτους φόρους.
3. Δεν υπάρχει ανάπτυξη με κρατισμό.
4. Δεν καταπολεμάται η φοροδιαφυγή με την υπερ φορολόγηση.
5. Δεν υπάρχει ανάπτυξη με δάνεια από ομόλογα που γίνονται για παροχές, προκειμένου να εξυπηρετούνται ψηφοθηρικοί λόγοι.
6. Δεν υπάρχει ανάπτυξη με γραφειοκρατικές διαδικασίες. Οι γραφειοκράτες, από την φύση τους, δεν κατανοούν την ζημιά που προκαλούν, η γραφειοκρατία γίνεται αυτοσκοπός και συντηρούν την υπαρξιακή συνείδηση.
7. Το ψέμα των πολιτικών έχει σημαντικό ποσοστό σκοπιμότητας.
8. Η ανικανότητα στην διοίκηση ενός κράτους ενισχύει τον φανατισμό.
9. Ο φανατισμός είναι το χαρακτηριστικό του ηλίθιου.
10. Ο μηδενισμός είναι μία ακόμα μορφή ανικανότητας.
11. Η διαφθορά δημιουργείται από τον κρατισμό.
12. Δεν μπορεί να υπάρξει βελτίωση της αποδοτικότητας του δημοσίου χωρίς αξιολόγηση.
13. Οι φόροι δεν πρέπει να επιβάλλονται χωρίς ανταποδοτικότητα.
14. Ο διαχωρισμός των τριών εξουσιών και οι θεσμοθετημένες ανεξάρτητες αρχές προστατεύουν από τις καθεστωτικές αδυναμίες του κοινοβουλευτισμού. Δεν μπορεί η εκτελεστική και νομοθετική εξουσία να συναλλάσσoνται καθ’ οιονδήποτε τρόπο με την δικαστική εξουσία και τις ανεξάρτητες αρχές, πολύ δε περισσότερο να προσλαμβάνει, να ορίζει μισθούς και αυξήσεις η άλλου είδους παροχές, σε δικαστές ή να ορίζει  μέλη στις ανεξάρτητες επιτροπές.

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Ας προβληματιστούμε και λίγο παραγωγικά. Υπάρχει χώρος να κάνουμε άλματα στην παραγωγικότητα του ιδωτικού και δημοσίου τομέα. Αλλά όπως με τα μνημόνια έτσι και στην παραγωγικότητα θα προχωρίσουμε με τις υποχρεωτικές διαδικασίες που επιβάλουν οι διεθνείς οργανισμοί και πρώτα από όλους οι Ευρωπαικοί θεσμοί. Διαβάστε!

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