Monday, 24 August 2020

Threatening Greece, Turkey is testing Europe’s sovereignty


Turkey is expanding its influence across the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece stands in its way. What will the EU do?


John Psaropoulos

Twice in three weeks this summer, Greece and Turkey poised to clash in the Eastern Mediterranean. On July 21 and August 10, Turkey announced it would start looking for oil and gas deposits on what Greece considers its continental shelf east of Crete.


The Greek armed forces went on alert. Greek and Turkish navies fanned out across the Aegean and east Mediterranean.


The two NATO allies have come closer to open conflict than they have since 1996, when Turkey planted a flag on a rocky Greek islet in the Aegean, and since 1987, when Turkey again sent a survey ship into the north Aegean.


While war in the Aegean cannot be ruled out, it is unlikely to be Turkey’s preferred option. It would isolate Turkey diplomatically, and possibly bankrupt it with sanctions. It is more likely that Turkey seeks to corner Greece into a maritime territorial settlement that skirts past established international legal norms, or forces Greece, and later Cyprus, to declare their vast continental shelves joint development zones with Turkey. 


Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Statement from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greece is a proud and powerful country. A member of the European family and a pillar of stability in the eastern Mediterranean. We remain unwaveringly committed to the principles of International Law and the rules of good neighbourliness. We seek to build bridges of peace, good faith, and cooperation with everyone.

Our country never threatens but will not suffer blackmail either. This is why it does not succumb to threats or tolerate provocative acts.

We negotiated and signed the agreements on maritime zone demarcation with Italy and, more recently, with Egypt, guided by this principled policy. These agreements are completely aligned with the Law of the Sea.
They demonstrate that long-standing disputes can be resolved when there is good will and a spirit of trust, and ensure progress and prosperity for the peoples, always in line with International Law.

It is in this very framework of legality that we are prepared to enter into discussions with all our neighbours, confidently and without concessions.

EU south hails step towards federalism, but north sees one-off handout

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.


Greeks awoke pleasantly surprised to the news that Europe’s leaders had agreed on a 750bn euro stimulus package for the continent’s economy, called NextGenerationEU.


With newspapers having gone to bed hours before the dawn deal in Brussels, most people got wind of it from the airwaves.


“Will I be able to finance the new shop windows?” asks Jenny, a butcher’s wife in central Athens who wants to remodel her husband’s shop so that people can sit down and sample the cold cuts.


Greece’s economy is forecast to shrink by as much as 9 percent this year, as the coronavirus hits tourism and merchant shipping, two industries Greece relies on for much of its exports. Merhcants like Jenny’s husband are feeling the pinch.