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Turkey threatens invasion of Greece, but why do so few care?

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Just over a week ago, the Justice and Development Party led government of Turkey threatened the military invasion of Greece over the disputed and uninhabited Greek Imia islets.

The Anglo-Australian media did not report on this. The ABC failed to mention it. This may be, in part, due to the spectre of post-colonial theories that have woven themselves into progressive media narratives, making it impossible to view colonialism other than an event that sits only on the shoulders of Europe’s mercantile industrial states of the 17th to the 19thth centuries.

Edward Said a profound theorist in post-colonial studies has essentialised the West and in doing so, the East. The Jordanian Marxist scholar, Sadik Jalal al-’Azm views Said as a captive to his own Western conceptions of Orientalism. According to al-‘Azm, Said failed to understand the modern nationalisms that guided post-colonial struggles in Asia Minor and the Middle East.

Jalal al-‘Azm writes: “Similarly, it [Said’s thesis] lends the ontological distinction of Europe versus Asia, so characteristic of Orientalism, the kind of credibility and respectability normally associated with continuity, persistence, per­vasiveness and distant historical roots. This sort of credibility and res­pectability is, of course, misplaced and undeserved. For Orientalism, like so many other characteristically modern European phenomena and movements (notably nationalism), is a genuinely recent creation – the product of modern European history – seeking to acquire legit­imacy, credibility and support by claiming ancient roots and classical origins for itself.”

Progressive media now seems to agonise whenever the notion of colonialism is extended beyond the confines of Western industrial European power. In the post-colonial theory rulebook, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America are infantilised and complex nations, their communities and leaders are mere marionettes responding to Western colonialism.

“We will break the arms and legs of any officers, of the prime minister or of any minister who dares to step onto Imia.” – Turkey’s Yigit Bulut to the Greek Prime Minister.

So when Yigit Bulut, the senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a direct threat to Syriza’s socialist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras by saying that Athens will: “feel the anger of Turkey, worse than that in Afrin,” referring to the Kurdish-controlled enclave in Syria where Turkish troops have engaged” post-colonial thinkers say nothing.

Mr Bulut went on, “We will break the arms and legs of any officers, of the prime minister or of any minister who dares to step onto Imia in the Aegean,” he said.

The horror of a war between Turkey and Greece is unthinkable. The last war in 1921 resulted in the ethnic cleansing of almost two million Hellenes from Turkey and 500,000 Turkish Greeks from Greece.

The Treaty of Lausanne 1923 marked the end of the Ottoman Empire. It defined the borders of modern Turkey and Greece. The war was a terrible consequence of a modern (Europeanising) Greek desire to pursue a ‘Greater Greece’ ideology. Up until 1921, the Ottoman Empire, and before it the Byzantium, was home to the oldest and continuous settlement of Hellenes dating back to 700BCE.

In the early 20the Century, the German inspired ‘Young Turks’ engineered a raft of repulsions; death marches, collective rape, starvation and the burning of the multicultural Smyrna, now Izmir. The notion of Pan-Turkic nationalism sought the cleansing of all non-Turks, a process that began in 1912-1913 with the Genocide of 1.5million Armenians.

A new hegemonic view of Turkishness had no room for the cultural and religious diversity of the Ottoman Empire. Turkification led by the Young Turks tore asunder the coexistence between Turks, Greeks, Armenians and Syrians.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s role is debated. He was the progressive and secular father of modern Turkey. He was born in Salonika and was fluent in Greek. Yet, his spark ignited an expulsion of the Greeks and Armenians, by others, and Turkification was complete.

Damad Ferid Paşa (1853-1923), the Ottoman Turkish Grand Vizier, described the exterminations of Greeks, Syrians and Armenians in the 1919 Paris Peace Conference “… such as to make the conscience of mankind shudder with horror for ever.”

Nationalist Greeks, also bathed in European eugenic ideas, instigated the expulsion of 500,000 Greek Turks. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) is known in the vernacular as the Population Exchange – a euphemism. One ‘exchanges’ populations at the end of a barrel of a gun.

Next time you’re chilling in Rhodes, or Izmir, drop a thought for the millions of refugees following the same paths, over rocky outcrops or azure seas, as those refugees did in 1921-23.

As the Ottoman Empire crumpled, anti-colonial fervour resulted in a carve-up of real and symbolic spaces. This was an immersive horror show between the 1820s to the 1920s.

The Greek War of Independence 1821, the first anti-colonial wars of the modern world, is a subject avoided in post-colonial discourses. It was a modern conflict, no less modern than the American Revolution, or the Vietnamese War against the French; however it doesn’t fit the orthodoxies of post-colonial theory.

The Ottomans in response to the declaration of Greek Independence (1821) conducted wholesale massacre of Greek islanders. They devastated the islands of Samothrace, Chios, Rhodes, Kasos and Psara between 1821 and 1824. A Turkish fleet under the Egyptian, Kapudan Pasha Nasuhzade Ali Pasha, killed most of the male population of Chios and sold the women and children into slavery. Eugène Delacroix’s Massacre at Chios (detail in image above) is the second major oil painting by the French artist depicting that crime.

Greeks were no less cruel. The Fall of Tripolitsa in 1822 resulted in the massacre 30,000 Turks and Jews. Theodoros Kolokotronis, the hardened Greek revolutionary commander, was shocked. Historian W Alison Phillips wrote; ” Women and children were tortured before being put to death. So great was the slaughter that Kolokotronis himself says that, from the gate to the citadel his horse’s hoofs never touched the ground. His path of triumph was carpeted with corpses.”

The Ottoman Empire colonised the Balkans and the Middle East for 400 years but in post-colonial studies it is as though it never existed. The Ottoman Pax Imperium descended over the Eastern Orthodox Empire. It deserves serious consideration as all empires do, no less than the Greco-Roman or British empires. Not all was bad under the Ottomans and there was a long peace after war.

War now is not an option. The people of Greece and Turkey could ponder nothing worse than a war. Greece and Turkey, both NATO allies, are heavily armed. Greece is per capita the EU’s most militarised state and Cyprus the seventh most militarised in the world.

Post-colonial analyses, as they are framed, seem to form a new Catholicism, a dogma. There is a script and one follows it.

Greece and Turkey have large modern standing armies and a sophisticated arsenal. They have Euro and American jets, tank divisions and naval capacities. Greece spends almost 3.5% of its GDP on defence while Turkey also spends the same according to the World Bank.

The statements by Mr Bulut seem to be for local consumption – dangerous in an increasingly authoritarian Turkey that has jailed 50,000 people since 2016. However the dissenting voices in Turkey get little sympathy from our post-colonial activists.

Post-colonial theory as it is now presented in public discourse moves towards simple binaries, like coloniser and colonised. Ann Wilson when reviewing Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins’ 1996 Post-colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics points to how the mercantile coloniser is seen as culturally hegemonic while the latter, “the colonised, is diverse and polyvalent.”

She emphasises the “simplicity of this schema, and the sentimental idealization of the culture of the colonized, thus valuing diversity for its own sake.” This approach has little to say on the United States and Greece who were born as a result of anti-colonial revolutions; the United States against England and Greece against the Ottomans.

Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, and a revolutionary, was born in Thessaloniki and was a European secularist. That’s not unique. Ho Chi Minh’s greatest hero was George Washington. In the Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence of 1945, Ho Chi Minh quoted from the French Rights of Man and the Citizen, and the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America,

We are left less informed as post-colonial theories evade social, cultural, political and historical realities. Last year, when a group of artists organised a conference called something like ‘decolonise your arts practise’ I mischievously posted a question. I asked if they would consider in their conversations the Han, Khan, Ottoman or Persian colonisers? The post was quickly removed. I wonder, equally mischievously, if I had asked them to consider the Greco-Roman and Byzantine Empires?

Post-colonial analyses, as they are framed, seem to form a new Catholicism, a dogma. There is a script and one follows it.

What then can we make of the neo-colonial whims of Mr Erdogan’s government, or his ministers’ language, given language is so important? Never do we or should we question the people of Turkey.

In the end, we must all do what we can to avoid talk of war between two new states born from the same womb. Part of that responsibility may lie on us avoiding sclerosis in thought or the rise of dogma – left and right.

60 responses to “Turkey threatens invasion of Greece, but why do so few care?

  1. Not being a student of post colonialism, I hadn’t noticed this particular “blindness”, although the tendency to forget the lessons of history is endemic to humanity. However the current direction of Turkish politics has troubled me (and many others I’m sure) for a while.

  2. I think Erdogan ( The right name?) Turkeys leader is by stealth turning Turkey into an Islamic State, which I don’t think the majority of Turks want especially the women , to me religions of any kind are full of shit ,blind beliefs , but that’s just my opinion , most think they give people hope that when they die there is something else , somewhere else ! Instead of making this life better they kill each other to try and prove a point .

    1. Erdogan wants the return of former Turkey Islamic republic of Ottomon. Erdogans desire to align Turkey with IS -Islamic state (glorious caliphate).

  3. Fotis, I have read your article with pleasure, great work. Refreshing to see someone point out this blind spot in today’s news reporting and general simplification/dummification of complex emerging sovereign behaviour patterns (China’s imperialism is also worthy of a closer look in this respect). Personally, I believe that these expressions of aggression by Turkey do not escape the attention of NATO, and its heads of state, who are probably keeping a close record. If anything, Turkey, through showing its true face and ambitions (by way of Erdogan’s polarizing agenda) is effectively moving itself away from the European Union project at break-neck speed, and I am not saddened by this. First, the country needs to prove it can raise up and elect leaders (Ataturk-esque) that hold values at heart that are compatible with those in Europe. If it cannot do that, and instead continues its move towards an increasingly conservative nation, it has no business at the negotiating table with EU leaders. The Greek/Turkish dispute(s) in that sense present somewhat of a litmus test, and thus far the signs are entirely negative.

    1. Len.. I think this is the most rational and practical argument thus far… However, polarizing the youth in Turkey is not going to do much for a European Turkey… In the same token – one can argue that Greece has not done a great job for its own youth for the last 70 years.. Part of the country’s economic, geopolitical and internal political landscape and future horizon is dependent on its youth’s extroversion and ingenuity.. not insecurity, polarization, chauvinism and consequently poisonous, rebellious and self punishing inefficiency!!! Because… the result is bickering with Turkey and not minding its own business… Its the same issue with Turkey… its economy has been a mess in the 90’s… The Turkish government refused that humiliation and focused on a healthy economy… the only real security for any country. So my point is prosperity defuses tensions because people live well.. they are a bit more oblivious to history since today matters a bit more! However, internal freedoms are violated by Turkey for the past 5 years. There is no democracy – thus the country was destined to suffer a self inflicted civil war… at some point this damages the economy.. and so the story goes.. so we need strong economies and democracy to run peacefully side by side… Greeks = Humans & Turkish = Humans.. just born 200 miles away from each other…

  4. Unfortunately, in the case of Greece, economic peripheralism also extends to a historic one when it comes to being dealt with as a nation.
    Being such, the challenge is not to identify Greece’s historical ” unimportance” in the post colonial era but to overcome it and make the country’s modern history a matter of mainstream affair internationally ,any ideas on that Mr. Kapetopoulos, tell us how.
    I am certain that if you chose to write your Doctoral thesis on this matter you would find it extremely difficult to transform yourself into a down to earth practicalist from an academic theorist.
    Any thoughts on that, let us know.

    1. I am all for practicality thus my assertion that war is not a possibility one should consider. To the contrary as a very pragmatic idealist – I call on all Greeks to acknowledge their Asian background and look to far greater cooperation between Greece and Turkey.

  5. This is a concerning matter for all Greeks around the world. This should also mean that is a direct threat to Europe as a whole because the Greek borders are also European borders. There is no doubt that the current Turkish regime is not for diplomatic solutions and has indicated this in all fronts by their hostile delegations. This regime has gone as far as to become oppressive even on its own people and unless there is a movement against it from interior revelations can be unpredictable.

  6. A few notes I would like to make about this article. The author quotes world bank figures yet a quick fact check on the world bank website shows Turkey spent 1.7% of GDP on military expenditure vs Greece at 2.6%. The Imia islands (Kardak) in Turkish are disputed islands which lie 5 kms from the Turkish border. They are not officially part of Greece, hence the war of words between nationalists on both sides. Being Greek, the author clearly is biased in his reporting, failing to mention Greece already tried to invade Turkey and did with Britians help in 1919 massacring thousands of civilians in their brutal march to murder as many Turks as possible all the way to the central Anatolian heartlands before a decisive Turkish victory forced them to retreat. During this retreat the fleeing Greek forces burned Izmir (smyrna) to the ground in what is called the great fire. Yigit Bulut is a right wing Turkish nationalist who serves only as an advisor. No one in actual government shares the view to invade Greece. Can Turks say the same about the Greeks? Unfortunately no. The leader of the Greek Nazi Golden Dawn party Nikos Mihaloliakos made a speech in 2012 promising to invade Izmir and Istanbul. An elected Greek official. Which is worse?

    1. Dear Matt,

      I will start off by acknowledging my Greek background as no doubt this is something you would mention to undermine that which I am about to say.

      I put it to you that you are simply misguided about the established and universally accepted border between Greece and Turkey. You should refer the Treaty of Lausanne that established the present borders between those countries and not to the rhetoric of nationalist Turks. Saying the rocky islets of Imia is not part of Greece because they’re off the coast of Turkey is like saying some of the uninhabited islands in the Torres Strait belong to Jakarta because Canberra way further away. A nonsense argument that shows you haven’t thought this through.

      As for the Greek army advancing in Asia Minor during the 1919-22 war, what is your point? The policy of the government at that time was to to unite lands where Hellenes resides in mass numbers. If the Greek army went further Eastwards, it was part of the war campaign and the silly Greek generals and politicians at the time were misguided and deceived by their so-called “allies” (the Brits) about whom we have come to learn not to trust. If you want to condemn the Greeks for pushing to Asia Minor to reclaim their own stolen lands, the you need to spare a thought about the Aussies. What business did we have (Australians) in Gallipoli which is on the other side of the world attacking the Turks in their back yard? I’m sorry mate, I don’t think you can condemn the Greeks for seeking to recover lands that were traditionally Greek before the Turks even arrived in the area from central Asia.

      You could argue that the Greater Greece campaign was ill conceived and poorly executed, but that’s a different argument altogether.

      1. I feel your arguments are facile at best. I really do not feel at any point in my response did I mention the contention regarding Greece proper. Imia/Kardak are not officially part of Greece, just as they are not officially part of Turkey. We are not talking about Rhodes or Crete here. We are talking about some rocky outcrops which on some nautical shipping maps are identified as Greek and some maps as Turkish. They fall under a “grey” zone. The problem is because Imia/Kardak is situated just outside the three-mile boundary of Article 12, but is also not in an obvious, strict sense geographically “dependent” (Article 15) on the larger Dodecanese islands (being still closer to the Turkish mainland than to the next larger island). As I mentioned, this is why nationalists on both sides are using these rocks to foster tensions on both sides.
        In regards to Australia and the Anzac invasion of Gallipoli I thought you said Turkey didn’t exist? Not sure where you are going with that argument but I could counter argue that after 400 years of Ottoman rule Turkey has a claim on Athens? Traditional Hellenic lands? Convenient timeline but only self serving. Turks have been in Anatolia since the battle of Manzikert (1031) much longer than most modern nations. Before the Greeks, the land was occupied by Asyrians, Hatians, Babylonians and countless others. Do they have claim to invade Turkey/Greece/Balkans now? Civilisations, empires are constantly changing, evolving with human migration. God didn’t just plop Greeks into Asia Minor after Adam and Eve, or if you’re a scientist, it is facile to assume Greeks just showed up after Neanderthals.

        1. While Turkey has no friends in her region, in Europe and the whole world she has even bigger internal problems and we do not know yet if in a war with Greece Turks will lose the war from the Greek soldiers or their enemies in Turkey and their huge internal problems.
          Kurds are about 25 millions in Turkey and about 20 more million in neighbouring countries. Turkey with her aggressive attacks against Kurds has united them and turned them against Turkey. In a war between Greece Turkey Turks will have to keep a huge number of their forces in Kurdish areas as they will grab the opportunity for their independent.
          It is well known the massacres against Alevis in Turkey, I remind you the 1978 Sivas Massacre, the 1978 Maras Massacre, 1980 Corum Massacre, 1993 Sivas Massacre, the 1995 Istanbul, Gazi Quarter Massacre, etc, they have limited rights, their religion it is not recognized and It is estimated that there about 18 millions of Alevis in Turkey, in War between Greece and Turkey Turks have to keep a big number of their forces in areas with Alevis as they will also find the opportunity to fight for their rights or even their own state.
          There are many 1000s, of Gulenists in prison and probably much more free if we add their supporters then their number is more than 5 million people, and they are educated with good positions, in a war between Turks and Turks they will find the opportunity to attack Erdogan , to attack Turkish government, free their people from prisons and of cause create a huge mesh in Turkey, and play a big role to Turkey lose of war with Greece.
          In Turkey there is huge number of secularist who totally disagree with Turkey’s conversion to a jihadist country, it is not only the banning of the teaching of the evolution theory in the schools, it is not only that Turkish religious and political leaders call their war jihad it is that the mosques, 1000s of mosques are converted to jihad creators, islamist extremists, in Turkey close the schools, imprison the teachers, bt build many prisons and mosques who promote jihad. Just last week were published in Germany videos from a Turkish mosque in n Herford. Pictures and videos show young children parading in battle suits and dying as martyrs under the Turkish flag.
          In the mosque of the Turkish-Islamic Union Ditib Association, four to seven-year-old children marched with toy weapons and in military clothing. They loudly shouted commands and saluted, German newspaper the Neue Westfälische reports. Turkish secularists can not allow their country to become a new caliphate of jihadists, can not accept the conversion of the country in a stone age , dark age regime in case of a war between Greece they fight to bring their country back to our days . They know that it is not the Greeks their enemies but the Grey wolfs and jihadists, Erdogan’s way to convert Turkey to an other Pakistan.
          Do not underestimate the supporters of the main opposition party in case of war they also will find the opportunity to fight against Erdogan’s regime, to fight for Democracy.
          Many Turkish experienced military personnel is in prisons, Abot 40% of generals and the new one is for the….kinder garden!

    2. Greece did not try to invade Turkey in 1919. There WAS no Turkey in 1919. Greece was trying to liberate the lands in Asia Minor inhabited by Greeks, and which had been inhabited by Greeks for well over a millenium before the Turkish imperialists ever arrived in the region. The only dispute over the Imia islands is in Turkish minds (funny name for a Turk, “Matt”). The islands are part of the Dodecanese, which were handed back to Greece by the Italians after WWII.
      As for Mihaloliakos, no decent person takes him seriously. He is still on trial for criminal activities, unlike the criminals heading the current Turkish government.

      1. So it bother you my name is Matt hey “Cassie”? I cannot have that name but countless Greeks can have Turkish names like “Kalantzis”, “Saris”, “Karpousiz” and all derivatives of “Oglu” which means “Son of” in Turkish. Turkey as we know it today may not have existed proper in 1919 but neither did Greece before 1829 so therefore there was no occupation of Greece under the Ottoman empire according to your logic. Greek lands? Turks have been in Anatolia since the battle of Manzikert (1031) clearly that amount of history is enough for a peoples to make a claim just as much as the Greeks who didn’t just get “plopped” there since the beginning of time did they? What about the Asyrians, Babylonians, and other pre Hellenic peoples who resided on these lands, can they also lay claim? Modern Greece was part of the Ottoman empire for 400 years. Never existed so I am sure with your “logic” Turks have just as strong a claim to liberate Greece as 4 centuries is quite some time to lay claim to those lands right? How about Australia, barely 200 years. How about Canada, USA I can go on right. You don’t claim those countries are illegitimate after only a few years in the scheme of things but a people who have been in those lands for over a thousand years gives you an aneurysm. You display all the hallmarks of the Greek diaspora.

        1. Your reply is all over the place “Matt”. Try to formulate a coherent argument and then maybe I’ll consider it worth rebutting.
          Cassandra (yeah it’s Greek).

    3. Matt I made very clear that 1. Greece was responsible in igniting the Greco Turkish War based on Eugenic Ideals of Europe and nationalism. ii I also make clear that Greeks were responsible for equal crimes against humanity by referring to Tripolitsa

      1. Fotis, I doubt very much the veracity of your statement. I would reckon that Turkey’s genocide had something to do with it (1914-1923). Without that, there would have been little sympathy for the Greek (and Armenian) position anywhere. Setting aside events from 1919 onwards, the plight of the Greeks (and Armenians and others) of today’s Turkey had been sealed by then. Tripolitsa! What’s that got to do with the price of “fish”? You reach back a hundred years further in a piecemeal and selective manner. To what end? Some likewise say that the Turks killed around fifty million Eastern Orthodox Christians, mainly Greek Orthodox, since they arrived on the scene. It is hardly relevant though.

    4. Matt, or should that be Kemal. This is nonsense. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Consider the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-22 which you refer to. I simply note as follows. 1. The Greek landing (there was no invasion at this time, unless you refer to the Italians) at Smyrna was precipitated by something, something that had been underway since 1914. Would you care to elaborate? Let me help you. The International Association of Genocide Scholars has determined that the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) committed genocide between 1914 and 1923 upon the Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians and others, of what is now Turkey. By 1919, indeed, hundreds of thousands of Greeks (and as many as 1.5 million (if not more) Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians combined) were already dead. 2. There is no doubt that excesses were committed by the Greek army between 1919-22. No one is denying this. These pale into insignificance numerically compared to the ongoing Turkish achievement. And what a magnificent achievement it was. There were more than 2.5 million Greeks in what is today’s Turkey in 1912. 3. The city of Smyrna, indeed the broader district of Smyrna within the province of Aydin, then had a comfortable Greek majority. Just saying, eh.

      Consider the burning of Smyrna which you refer to. I simply note that the historians and writers Norman Stone (your man Kemal ….. you know what I mean), Richard Clogg, Niall Ferguson, Giles Milton, Michael Llewellyn-Smith (amongst many others), all conclude that Turkish forces set fire to the non-Muslim (and non-Jewish) quarters of the city as part of the sacking of Smyrna conducted by same. Indeed, to any intelligent and knowledgeable observer, it is non-sensical and laughable to claim as you do. Here Kemal, I know that you know what I mean.

      Consider the current Turkish claims on Greek territory which you refer to. This may not be news to you Kemal however, it may be of interest to other readers, that amongst the Greek islands claimed by the fascist Republic of Turkey is Gavdos. Gavdos ….. is located south of western Crete. Go figure, eh.

      Consider also the so-called “casus belli” which you do not refer to (how interesting, Kemal), where Turkey openly and officially threatens war should Greece do nothing more than exercise its sovereign rights under international law.

      Me think you are telling little porkies all over, Kemal.

      1. Mitch, let me call you “Konstantinos” as I am “Kemal”, he was his Greek counterpart, although clearly not as successful. You are not the first disgruntled Greek I come across, don’t worry your nonsensical arguments, and self serving diatribes together with a few references from historians on the Greek side of events are nothing new. I could present reputable historians such as Norman Naimark as well as many others, even eye witness testimonies from that day concluding it was the retreating Greek soldiers who out of sheer frustration from losing miserably on the battle fields of Anatolia started many fires in Izmir for “revenge”. This is a fact your probably too deluded to accept. You cry genocide yet how many Turks do you think were killed during the Ottoman contraction and dissolution? In what we now know as Serbia, Bulgaria, Russia, Crimea? How many women were raped, children slaughtered during the failed Greek invasion attempt in the Greco Turkish war 1919-1922. In fact Norman M. Naimark notes during the failed Greek invasion that “the Greek retreat was even more devastating for the local population than the occupation. During the retreat, towns and villages were burned as part of a scorched earth policy, accompanied with massacres and rapes. During this war, a part of Western Anatolia was destroyed, large towns such as Manisa, Salihli together with many villages being burned. The Inter-Allied commission, consisting of British, French, American and Italian officers found that “there is a systematic plan of destruction of Turkish villages and extinction of the Muslim population.” – Yes, there was an inter allied commission!
        According to historian Justin McCarthy, between the years 1821–1922, from the beginning of the Greek War of Independence to the end of the Ottoman Empire, five million Muslims were driven from their lands and another five and one-half million died, some of them killed in wars, others perishing as refugees from starvation or disease. These are facts Konstantinos, but we have moved on. You may not like it but Turkey is now considered a regional superpower with a consistently growing G20 economy which is a miracle considering there is a low level civil war within our borders and failed states on our Eastern flank. Our soft power is growing exponentially in the Middle East, Balkans, and Central Asia. Our military is ranked second in NATO and 8th in the world with 80% of our military needs being met locally. We have 4 Turkish defence manufacturers now ranked in the top 100. Yes, there are some teething problems as Turkey takes a more assertive and independent foreign policy trajectory but I believe Turkey will come out even stronger in the long term. Time will tell, either way I suggest our governments work things out peacefully and in a diplomatic fashion mutually beneficial to both nations. A strong Greek/Turkish relationship far outweighs a negative one, especially for Greece.

        1. Matt you have all these advances in economy and manufacturing but you are going backwards on fundamental values and human rights. Basic rights such as freedom of speech, respect for other religions moving away from a secular society and driven to dark ages etc. Under such conditions which Turkish citizen with values will care about GDP and how strong the military industry is? Will your Sultan, warrior and tyrant ever send his children or grandchildren to war to become martyrs? They are skiing in Switzerland and they are building personal wealth and they are safe. The victims are the people sent to fight his wars.

        2. Sorry matt, reality and historically, turkey is a state built upon conquest, conversion,bloodshed, genocide, repression of the peoples that existed in the area as far as history recalls. Todays aggression highlights its own paranoia. trying to define its turkishness continually. All countries around it and nations within it have suffered accordingly. The ethinic troubles in the balkans are the result of its turkish occupation, it has affected all cultures in the region, Armenians, Kurds, Georgians Arabs, Bulgarians,Greeks, Romanians slavs etc etc etc…….A nation that is built by conquest,
          death and destruction is destined to fall itself…….

        3. So it is “Kemal”. Eh. Kemal, my only purpose in that regard is to establish the parameters of your personal being. I note my success therein. Nonsensical arguments! Self-serving diatribes! You can only be referring to yourself. My comments are unimpeachable. Yours ….. well. I note that nowhere can you bring yourself to write of Turkish reality. Perhaps you should ponder a little. Ponder as the Turkish lawyer, journalist and human rights activist Orhan Kemal Cengiz once did. Consider –

          “After many years, I started to ponder the country’s matters and issues, and I came to realize that the problem was a “social earthquake” that was far bigger than I as a kid could perceive. IF THE PRE-1915 DEMOGRAPHIC PERCENTAGES STILL APPLIED TO TODAY’S TURKEY, THERE WOULD BE 18 MILLION NON-MUSLIMS LIVING IN THE COUNTRY. JUST TRY TO VISUALIZE 18 MILLION NON-MUSLIMS, CONSISTING MAINLY OF GREEKS, ARMENIANS AND JEWS, LIVING IN TURKEY. What sort of Turkey would it be?” (Source: Today’s Zaman, “Istanbul and Constantinople”, Cengiz, O K, 15/11/2012)

          18 million non-Muslims, consisting mainly of Greeks, Armenians and Jews! What gives with that? What happened there? Eh.

          You have something to say of the burning of Smyrna (specifically) ….. you repeat one of the stupidities of Turkish propaganda. Again, I state that the historians and writers Norman Stone, Richard Clogg, Niall Ferguson, Giles Milton, Michael Llewellyn-Smith (amongst many others), all conclude that Turkish forces set fire to the non-Muslim (and non-Jewish) quarters of the city as part of the sacking of Smyrna conducted by same. The basic facts are as follows: The fire was started on 13 September; The last Greek soldiers had evacuated Smyrna on 8 September; The Turkish army was in full control of Smyrna from 9 September. Non-Turks will find your claims non-sensical and laughable but also bizarre and preposterous. Which is precisely my point. Perhaps you should ponder a little. Ponder, again, as the Turkish lawyer, journalist and human rights activist Orhan Kemal Cengiz once did. Consider –

          “I want the steps of friendship taken between Greece and Turkey to be long term and to improve much further. To achieve this, I think the common history of the two nations needs to be rewritten. I would like to make a call to everyone at this point. Come, let us rewrite the common history of Turkey and Greece by liberating it from the effects of nationalist nonsense. As a small supplement to this, I would like to point out an article written by Emre Akoz, a valuable writer in the Turkish press, in the Sabah daily’s April 8, 2010, edition. In the article below, Akoz tracks the real story behind the “Great fire of Izmir.” I am hopeful that these efforts will go beyond the limits of newspaper columns and evolve into writing an honest common history:

          “Confessions of a Kemalist: Why were we burning down Izmir?

          One of the books that best explains Ataturk is without a doubt ‘Cankaya’ by Falih Rifki Atay, who is a trueborn Kemalist.” (Source: Today’s Zaman, “Who Burned Down Izmir?”, Cengiz, O K, 15/05/2010)

          You have nothing to say of Gavdos. Again, I state that amongst the Greek islands claimed by Turkey is Gavdos. Again, I note that Gavdos is located south of western Crete. I refer to Gavdos deliberately and purposefully. Non-Turks will find Turkey’s claims bizarre, even preposterous. Which is precisely my point.

          You have nothing to say of the so-called “casus belli”. Again, I state that this is where Turkey openly and officially threatens war should Greece do nothing more than exercise its sovereign rights under international law. Non-Turks will find Turkey’s behaviour bizarre, even preposterous. Which is precisely my point.

          You have something to say of Justin McCarthy. I note that McCarthy is a paid agent of the Turkish government, either directly or indirectly. This can be readily established though publicly available material on the web. McCarthy has produced highly contested “work” aimed at furthering the Turkish government’s agenda. Consider the two “annotated” maps produced by McCarthy under contract to the Turkish Coalition of America, and available on its website. You will be aware of these. Through selective and questionable omission and commission, exclusion and inclusion, deletion and addition, etc., McCarthy portrays a distorted picture of historical truth and fact, which is precisely what he was retained to do.

          You claim that Turkey and Turks have moved on. This too is clearly not true. You will be aware of the employment bans of the 1930s. You will be aware of the prohibitive wealth taxes of the 1940s. You will be aware of the “Istanbul pogrom” of the 1950s. You will be aware of the illegal deportations of the 1960s. You will be aware of the invasion, occupation, ethnic cleansing and colonisation of occupied northern Cyprus of the 1970s. Etc. The American Law professor, jurist and genocide scholar Alfred de Zayas has persuasively, I think, argued that the events of 1955 in Istanbul constitute genocide, ongoing genocide – “But it is in historical context that the Istanbul pogrom emerges as part of a genocidal program aimed at the destruction of the Greek presence in all territories under Turkish rule.” (de Zayas, A, The Istanbul Pogrom of 6-7 September 1955 in the Light of International Law, etc.). If we accept that the events of 1955 in Istanbul were an act of ongoing genocide as de Zayas argues, which I do, then we must accept that the employment bans of the 1930s, the prohibitive wealth taxes of the 1940s, the illegal deportations of the 1960s, the invasion, occupation, ethnic cleansing and colonisation of occupied northern Cyprus, etc., are also acts of ongoing genocide. In which case, so much for your claim that Turkey and Turks have moved on. For not only is Turkey’s genocide historical, it continues to this day and is ongoing. Turkey remains Turkey. Turks remain Turks.

  7. Thanks for this. It goes straight to the crux of the glaring double standards of post-colonialist “theory”. I would also go so far as to say that the British Empire for example, although so excoriated, did a hell of a lot more for the peoples it colonised and the world as a whole, then the Ottoman Empire, which seems to exist in some sort of black hole outside of the consciousness of post-colonialist theorists.
    And just to get it off my chest: I can’t stand Edward Said. He had a massive chip on his shoulder. The East been just as free to “occidentalise” the West, as the West ever was to “orientalise” the East. His whole premise is nonsense.

  8. Talking of war between Turkey and Greece is uncivilzed non sense, this new world order we talk and negotiate. Thats the essential functions of civilized nations. Long live both Grerce and Turkey….

  9. Turkey is building up its military forces , with the purchase of the S400 surface to air missile system from Russia that seriously dampens the superiorty of the Hellenic airforce,they make their own tanks, and armour personnel carriers, trainee fighter jets that can also perform and air to ground attack aircraft, they make their own drones, they are building a small aircraft carrier for attack helicopters and vertical take off jets. They are harassing and stopping hydro carbon drilling ships from drilling near Cyprus, they have threatened Greece with war if hydrocarbon exploration is undertaken by the Greece in the Aegean, They recently rammed a Greek patrol boat which was moored at night neat Imia. Turkish miltary spies are undertaking on the ground information gathering missions with respect to Greek military installations on the Aegean islands, I met them.
    The Turkish airforce infringes Greek airspace on a regular basis.Its all bad news and as Greece is a insignificant small country to the West nobody cares about reporting Turkish aggression threats against Greece. The Turks want the oil and gas in the Aegean and Cyprus and all the 18 islands Greek islands in the Aegean plus Eastern Thrace where a small Turkish minority lives. Erdogan is a Islamic zealot and his authoritarian ways are dictatorial free speech is dead in Turkey, there is active persecution of the Kurds in Turkey and war against the Kurds in Syria. The Wests best effort against all this is talk. The Turkish government’s policy is systematically infrining international law and pushing the infringements with no substantial resistance. NATO and the EU have become toothless is preventing Turkeys actions. The larger question is when the hot war begins who will stand with Greece .

    1. Yeah, you talked to them? Here’s what you don’t know, the U.S./UK/NATO are secretly encouraging Turkey to attack Greece. They know Russia will defend Greece at some point (probably after its destroyed so THEY can have that oil) light up Turkey like a Christmas tree. The west wants Russia to destroy Greece and start WW3.

      1. I doubt Russia will ever take on Turkey, they will be as complicit in their inaction, or action that suits them only, as they were in the 19th C.

        1. It is very funny indeed and I believe it should make both of our nations wonder… Wonder what would happen if neither country was spending all that money on arms and invested that on common growth projects instead.

    2. Greece will have to fend for itself. Greece has tourism as its main source of revenue. Turkey has tourism and its main source if revenue is manufacturing, oil&gas, exports. Turkey has America as it’s main supplier of military armament. Britain and France support turkey military. What does Greece bring to the table?

  10. “Greece is per capita the EU’s most militarised state …” That’s not saying a lot. Two nuns and a mule could take Greece now. They have some tanks but no money for fuel.

      1. Fotis, regarding defence spending I note the following. In 2016 military spending in Greece amounted to 2.56% of GDP and military spending in Turkey amounted to 1.73% of GDP. I also note that in 2016 Greece’s GDP (nominal) was US$204.3bn and Turkey’s GDP (nominal) was US$841.2bn. My source here is The World Factbook of the US Central Intelligence Agency. Your source says roughly the same. You should check the numbers again. If I were to crunch the numbers, that analysis would show a tremendous disparity between Greece and Turkey in favour of Turkey. It is the growing military imbalance specifically, but also the growing strategic imbalance broadly (encompassing economic, military and diplomatic capacity), between Greece and Turkey, that is fuelling the flames of renewed Turkish revisionism, aggression and chauvinism. It may well be true that Greece’s military spending is proportionately higher than many other EU states however, it may likewise be true that many of these other states face no threats.

        Regarding your historiography ….. I have some concerns. I will comment on this elsewhere, if time and inclination permit.

    1. Well, let’s just say that in the event of a war, Geeks know every nook and cranny of the Aegean and since you have no, none, nada as far as air defense, the TAF and most industrial centers will be dust in 3 hours. Our subs will sink every one of your ships before you can say “we surrender.” Of course, no sane person wants this type of scenario to unfold, but just informing you and pointing out reality, not the fiction propagated by the Turkish state media apparatus.

  11. A very interesting post. Turkish aggression in the Aegean and in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone should indeed concern all peoples committed to the rule of law and peaceful settlement of disputes.

  12. If im not mistaken doth countrys are members of NATO.
    If Turkey invades Greece she invades NATO. According to NATO’s rules no member is allowed to take any form of military action against an other member. If they do then its taking all of NATO

  13. I read comments and it appears history will repeat itself Turkey will do what they do best “Invade kill slaughter” Turks don’t want the Islands they want the oil in the Agean sea.

    The economic collapse of Greece has been in the making for decades from the Solomon brother Goldman Sach, George Soros the so called philanthropist who donates lots of money because he care’s Especially for Orthodox Christianity.

    Why ??? Because Greece is sitting on trillions of barrels of oil in the Agean sea. The Turks are being guided by the powerfull elite to destroy Greece The Greek culture religion language it just a matter of time before a Turkey is given the Green light to invade part of Greece for resources unless Greece submitted to the Globalists.

    The Patriach Of Russia and Putin stated that it was Russia’s duty to protect the Orthodox Christian community anywhere in the world militarily if need be.

    The Russians do not trust the Turks they are watching them if the Turkey really thinks that they can invade Greece kill Orthodox Christians and the world is going to sit back watch they are very much mistaken.

    Thank God fir Russia and Putin

    Good luck Turkey carry on do what you have to do.

    1. Unfortunately you are absolutely correct, the Babylonian Brotherhood will proceed with its agenda, it’s history suggest it will and its present is appearing to do so, oil is one reason, the Babylonian agenda is the main reason, it’s inevitable.

  14. How about this, Greece shows the EU the middle finger, says that it won’t pay back its debt and that it will nationalize all assets which it lost during the course of the financial crisis (mostly to Germany) , reaches a deal with Turkey, according to which the islands remain Greek but Turkey gets a fair share of Aegean. In return Turkey offers Greece guarantee that it will stand by Greece in case of a military or economic action by EU.

    1. Are you suggesting another ottoman empire?
      Luck of insight? Turkey needs more protection than Greece I think. It has opened many internal and external fronts and is pretending to be powerful by imposing unreasonable things even on its citizens. It is like a big bubble that one day soon will burst (bad relationships with USA, Armenia, Kurds, Syria, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany). In a naive rather way have been convinced by Putin to play the Russian game. Of course Putin being highly intelligent is trying to break NATO. Erdogan is just megalomaniac.

    2. I don’t agree about this. Germany finished repaying WW1 reparations only recently. You cannot just escape from a state creditor as you can escape from a person creditor. This seems to be your mentality.

      Turkey is a completely unreliable country. You worked hard to earn this reputation. In the Treaty of Lausanne, you agreed to not change the population composition of “Gökçeada” and “Bozcaada”. Istanbul was 1/3 Greek after the treaty. Look at where we are now. Turks in Greece are still there, as guaranteed by the treaty. They are better off in Greece than Turkey. Turkish Cypriots have the same worry. They sincerely want no business with Turkey, but they know their limits.

      There is no guarantee whatsoever that Turkey will keep any commitments. You will keep encroaching, this is what you have always done.

      Turkey has not been at war since 1923. Turkey has the confidence of the fellow that never saw his nose bloody. The day of reckon is coming, unfortunately for all those who will pay for Turkey’s bloody nose. Your meddling in Syria will prove a disaster of astronomic proportions. Stars shine brightly before they die. This is where Turkey is today. With 50% of the population Kurdish, they absolutely do not share the vision of Sultan Erdogan. Meddling in Iraq and Syria, Turkey is only making its position less tenable.

      All what Greece and Cyprus have to do is weather the situation. Cyprus lost a historical chance with the Turkish “coup d’état”, but not to worry. Turkey will become less and less stable as time goes on.

    3. Please look up “paper tiger.”
      Please stick to managing your own resources and leave our resources to the sovereign country, known as Greece. There is nothing to share except in the mind of your dictator Erdogan.

  15. “Two new states born from the same womb”. Is this a joke? There is no cultural relationship between the two nations. Turks are a tribal nation that moved west and conquered everything that stood in its way. The Greeks even under otoman occupation maintained their own language, occupation and secretly their customs and religion. They educated they children secretly in the values of Christianity and freedom of expression.
    The otomans created a huge empire on the basis of fear and violence, they never coexisted in peace with the nations they occupied. They even attempted to invade western Europe but thankfully were stopped. They have been doing the same for centuries. Their history is like a criminal record, full of genocides, and violence against weaker states, people etc. Somehow the Turks always feel threatened by all those nations that lived in this area long before they arrived.
    It is an insult against humanity to equalise a criminal record that includes Armenian, Kurdish, Greek Genocides, with what Greece has contributed in human history. Today Greece is trying desperately to avoid a conflict that would harm further it’s weak economy. The Turks on the other side take advantage of this tolerance and they escalate their provocations. They do this because they lack insight. Their military have been struggling with outnumbered, outgunned heroic Kurds; it is easy to realise what would happen if they had to go against a tactical army (when was the last time they challenged a tactical army?). A lot of bright and educated Turks who opposed this attitude are now in prisons or had to leave their country. Responsible journalism should be accurate. Keeping equal distances is a version of the truth and an insult to those children in Afrin and all those Tourkish journalists who are now in prison because they were brave to say the truth.

  16. Asian background? Greeks were occupied by a brutal empire, and they revolted. They do not have an Asian background. Freedom of speech, Christianity, democracy, these are things that even today are hard to find in Turkey and many neighboring countries in that area.

  17. I would suggest, to answer the author’s original question (why does the West ignore Turkish threats), the simple answer is that no one takes them seriously and most assume that these threats are principally for local consumption.

    1. Wrong. . European countries like great Britain and France have extensive business interests in turkey. America is no exception: Donald trump has real estate and oil interests with instanbul. What does Greece to offer? Tourism and nothing else. Turkey has manufacturing capacity . Greece does not. You can see the situation Greece is in. Greece will have to fend for itself.

      1. I would help you if I could and had power. Unfortunately I think the posts above are true. They have doomed all of the west to death, the Yudens and crawled up with China.

  18. Great article,
    History is unknown, therefore knowledge is suppressed, therefore humans will continue to slaughter each other as they have in history and continue to do so to this day. Every invasion, war, genocide, religion, call it what you wish, it’s the Babylonia Brotherhood’s agenda, and its well on its path pathing it with bloodshed. Every Government in every country is controlled by the Babylonian Brotherhood, including Greece and Turkey, the minority that is yet to be controlled (Russia, China, North Korea, Syria etc.) is on the to do list, war is inevitable. Greece and Turkey going to war will occur if it’s part of the agenda, despite the so called allies, it’s all a front. Humans need to understand history in order to understand the agenda, knowledge is power, and the very few have this whilst the billions do not, and will continue to slaughter each other as per the Babylonian Brotherhood agenda. Greece and Turkey are countries that have been and are to this day controlled within the governments and are simply doing as there told. Both countries should put down there arms and let the very few within the government go to battle. War only occurs when the majority decide to do so whilst the very few sit back with there cigars and whisky laughing and lining there pockets with $$$$ war is business, they don’t care who wins and who dies, it benefits the few financially whilst the Babylonian Brotherhood proceed with there agenda. We are all puppets to the Babylonian Brotherhood, including the elites, despite there wealth and roles within the government. Put aside everything you think you know and look through the obvious deception and simply put down your arms if you want peace, there cannot be war if there is no army, rest assure the very few within the Government will not battle, get off your knees and open your eyes.

  19. If the government of Turkey was an individual, it would be labeled as a psychotic serial killer due to its genocidal past up till it current actions in Syria. Turkey has been constant in its aggressive behavior throughout history. Greeks want peace, and the megali Idea (Greater Greece)of the past no longer exists in the minds of the majority of Greeks. Greeks just want to live in peace and maintain the territory they have. The Turks in the year of 2018 want to relive the glories of Ottoman Empire by trying to bring it back. If America and Europe look the other way when Greece is attacked by the Turks then its like a son that sells his mother into slavery to a foreigner. Greece is the cradle of Western civilization and the mother of almost all European languages ,because Latin came from the Greek alphabet .Greece in my mind should be the capital of Europe because Europe in my mind started from Greece.United States founding fathers based the new laws in America from the Greek and Roman government systems and Judaeo laws. Without Greece, Europe and United States would not have an identity(it was Greece that Europe and United States build its systems and western ideology from). So if Turkey was to attack Greece ,its like putting a Mosque on the White House Lawn (It would be a big Fuk You to the West).United States and Europe would make a grave mistake to allow Turkey to invade a European Nation like Greece with out having Greece’s back. The Turks would think United States and Europe are weak if they did not help Greece and would not stop at Greece (in the past the Turks went as far as Austria ). In Greece the Western Power would have make there stand and knock Erdogan and Turkey Ego so low that they would never try to invade a European country with out retribution .

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