Showing posts with label Greece. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greece. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Greeks vent fury over soldiers being 'held hostage' in Turkey

Defence minister says arrests have aggravated already strained ties between two countries

The Guardian

Protesters have taken to the streets of northern Greece demanding the release of two Greek soldiers detained by Turkey, amid rising tensions between the two countries.

Greece’s defence minister, Panos Kammenos, described the pair as “hostages” and ordered border patrols to be stepped up along the heavily defended land frontier the two nations share.

Sgt Dimitris Kouklatzis, 27, and Lt Angelos Mitretodis, 25, were seized 11 days ago after allegedly being found in a “forbidden military zone” deep in Turkish territory. The soldiers say they inadvertently strayed across the frontier in bad weather.

Last week a court in the Turkish border town of Edirne, where the two are being held in a high-security prison, rejected a plea for their release pending further investigation.

Friday, March 2, 2018

2 Greek soldiers on patrol accidentally stray into Turkey

By Associated Press March 2 at 4:35 AM

The Washington Post

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Greece says two of its soldiers on patrol on the Greek-Turkish border accidentally strayed into Turkey and have been taken to the city of Edirne by Turkish authorities.

The Greek army said Friday the two-man patrol strayed into Turkish territory on Thursday because of bad weather, and that Greek and Turkish authorities were in contact with each other and were undertaking procedures for the two to be returned to Greece.

Most of the Greek-Turkish border is marked by a river, and a fence runs along much of the land section. Some parts, however, aren’t clearly marked, and the area where the soldiers strayed was reportedly in woodland.

Although NATO allies, relations between Greece and Turkey are often strained.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Greece, Turkey Try to Calm Tensions After Aegean Sea Crash

The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey worked to calm tensions after Greek coast guard vessel is damaged in a collision with a Turkish patrol boat in Aegean Sea.
Feb. 13, 2018, at 4:58 p.m.

US News


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey worked late Tuesday to calm escalating tensions after a Greek coast guard vessel was damaged in a collision with a Turkish patrol boat in the Aegean Sea, the site of a boundary dispute.

A government official in Athens said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim spoke by telephone about the circumstances of the boat crash. The official asked not to be named pending an official announcement.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Tankers Keep Greece Top

BY MAREX 2018-02-03 16:42:44

Greece has topped the world fleet values ranking by VesselsValue, with an owned fleet worth just under $100 billion, followed closely by Japan and China, worth $89 and $84 billion respectively. The top 10 global fleets are worth an estimated $516 billion.

Greek owners remain the dominant force in global shipping. The value of the Greek fleet is concentrated in the tanker ($36 billion), bulker ($35.75 billion), and LNG ($13.5 billion) vessel types. Hellenic control of these markets stands at about 19 percent of the total worth of the fleets.

The strong commitment of Greek owners to the global shipping markets looks unlikely to change as others, such as Germany, are liquidating assets, says VesselsValue. However, the trend in Chinese ownership is rising, as state owned companies are consolidating and placing new orders,  a reminder that there are always new challengers for the top spot. Greek owners, with their sharp focus on commercial results, should continue to lead the pack for the foreseeable future.

Greeks rally in Athens to protest use of the name Macedonia

The Washington Post

By Elena Becatoros | AP February 4 at 2:02 PM
ATHENS, Greece — Well over 100,000 protesters from across Greece converged Sunday on Athens’ main square to protest a potential Greek compromise in a dispute with neighboring Macedonia over the former Yugoslav republic’s official name.

Hundreds of chartered buses brought protesters in from around the country to the Greek capital, while more people arrived on ferries from the islands. Traffic was blocked throughout the city center and three major subway stops were closed.

Chanting “Hands off Macedonia!” and “Macedonia belongs to Greece!” the protesters converged on Syntagma Square in front of parliament, many waving flags bearing the Star of Vergina, the emblem of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia.

Police officials estimated the attendance at 140,000. Organizers, who claimed 1.5 million were at the rally, used a crane to raise a massive Greek flag over the square.

Greeks rally in Athens over Macedonia name row

Lefteris Papadimas, Vassilis Triandafyllou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of Greeks rallied outside parliament in Athens on Sunday to protest against the use of the term Macedonia in any settlement the government pursues with the ex-Yugoslav Republic to end a decades-old name row.

The two countries have agreed to step up negotiations, mediated by the United Nations, this year to settle the dispute, which has frustrated the aspirations of Greece’s small northern neighbor to join NATO and the European Union.

Thoroughfares in central Athens turned into a sea of people waving blue and white Greek flags in what locals said was the largest gathering in decades, easily outdoing rallies against austerity foisted by lenders on the crisis-hit country.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Greek Position on the naming issue of FYROM (and a critique from the other side).

The matter at hand is a controversial one. There are two sides. Most Greeks pick their side. 
Apart from the ownership of the name. 
Is there a real danger for Greece coming from this tiny country? Can a tiny country undermine and win territory from a stronger country?

Well, history says it can. That's how Greece freed most of what is our country today. Arguments of the type "how can you claim that this little country threat your territories?" just ignore the fact that Greece gained territory from the Ottoman Empire, when under any measure, Greece was tiny and the Ottoman Empire was great. 
So the answer to the matter at hand is that the size is one thing, the existence of a threat is quite another.
Are they threatening Greece? Well they say so... 

Does Greece have the right to defend its territory? Yes, Greece has this right, and the means are also a legitimate choice.

I think that the material below will enlighten both sides of the story.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Greece’s Olive Oil Industry Offers a Lesson on Economic Hurdles

The country is a major producer of ‘green gold,’ but sells much of it in bulk
The Wall Street Journal

By Nektaria Stamouli | Photographs by Andrea DiCenzo for The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 18, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET
STREFI, Greece—Workers at Yiannis Skiadas ’ mountainside mill pressed prized Kalamata olives on a recent day to extract the thick, fragrant oil known regionally as “green gold”—most of which would get shipped abroad in bulk and blended into Italian olive oil.

Mr. Skiadas could earn almost three times as much by branding his oil and selling it himself. But that would require investing in every step from cultivation to marketing, and quick cash from Italian customers is appealing after a decade of economic pain in Greece.

“Thank God for the Italians,” he said.

Greek olive oil should be a shining example of the country’s export sector. Instead, it offers a lesson in why Greece remains deeply uncompetitive despite years of pressure to fix its economy.Greece has what should be significant competitive advantages, including a climate that is favorable for agriculture and a 22% drop in labor costs since 2010, around the start of the Greek debt crisis.

But the country has been unable to leverage its low cost base to pull itself out of economic malaise. The value of Greek exports fell last year, despite years of efforts aimed at promoting export-led growth. Just 2.5% of Greek enterprises are involved in export activity, according to a recent survey by Ernst & Young.

Bank lending is scarce in a country mired in debt. And Greece’s notoriously inefficient bureaucracy makes it time-consuming to secure health and safety approvals and export paperwork, according to Greek exporters.

Similar problems affect other Greek agricultural products from peaches to wine. Exports of textiles and household appliances have also slipped in recent years.

The failure of Greece’s olive-oil makers to break into the international market for branded oil is especially painful. Greece is the world’s No. 3 producer of olive oil, according to Eurostat, but just 4% of branded olive oil sold world-wide is Greek, according to a 2015 report by the National Bank of Greece .

The reason: Greek olive-oil producers have mostly stuck to making bulk oil, unable or unwilling to invest in making the branded product that can command lofty prices in foreign markets. Only 27% of Greek olive oil is exported as a branded product, compared with 50% from Spain and 80% from Italy.

“Greece hasn’t invested to create a brand name, as have Italy and Spain,” says Christina Sakellaridi, who heads the Greek Exporters Association. “Now it’s difficult to compete with them.”

By sticking with bulk oil rather than branded oil, Greece is forgoing about €250 million ($294 million) in revenue each year, according to the National Bank of Greece report, money the capital-starved country desperately needs.

Many Greek olive farms and mills are family-operated and have fewer than 10 employees, according to olive-growers’ associations. Their small size leaves them with little of the money and management skill needed to upgrade their products and establish a brand name.

For those who do invest, the payoff can be significant. Before the crisis, Georgios Skarpalezos sank money into new machinery for his mill. Now he makes extra virgin olive oil that he sells in, among other places, London’s Harrods department store. He makes as much as €4 a liter, while a middleman, usually an oil-mill owner, might make as little as 10 to 20 euro cents a liter on bulk oil.

“I cannot produce huge quantities, because I have to focus on the quality of the product,” said Mr. Skarpalezos, showing dark glass bottles designed to safeguard the oil.

Olive-oil producers also often need to import products such as Mr. Skarpalezos’ glass bottles and plastic caps.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Turkish president Erdoğan to make landmark visit to Greece

Huge security operation will protect increasingly confrontational premier on rare foray to a European country

The Guardian

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan begins a landmark visit to Greece on Thursday, a rare foray to a European country for the increasingly confrontational leader.

In addition to his retinue of 200 bodyguards, Greek police are also to deploy 2,800 officers to take part in a US presidential-level security operation to guard Erdoğan.

“We are taking every precaution,” the Greek public order minister Nikos Toskas told the Guardian. “The security will be on a level similar to that of Barack Obama’s visit. Every detail has been covered and planned.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

World Wildlife Fund sues over Greece oil spill from tanker

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ATHENS, Greece — Sep 18, 2017, 3:37 PM ET

The World Wildlife Fund filed a lawsuit Monday over extensive pollution to the coastline outside Athens following the sinking of a tanker near Greece's largest port.

The environmental group's Greek branch filed the lawsuit in the port city of Piraeus against "anyone found responsible," a common practice when a party that could be held legally accountable has not been identified formally.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Greece: Oil from tanker's sinking prompts beach warnings

Updated 5:27 pm, Wednesday, September 13, 2017

San Francisco Gate

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities have appealed to swimmers to stay away from some popular beaches on the coast of Athens after oil spilled from a sunken tanker started to reach the area.
Small slicks were reported at beaches in the suburbs of Glyfada and Piraeus Wednesday. Glyfada Mayor Giorgos Papanikolaou says municipal workers have set up floating booms offshore and used chemicals to try to dissolve the oil.
The small Agia Zoni II tanker sank Sunday while anchored off the coast of Salamina island, just off Greece's main port of Piraeus. It was carrying 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 tons of marine gas oil.

Merchant Marine Minister Panagiotis Kouroumplis says divers have sealed the ship's cargo holds and work is due to start on pumping out the remaining fuel.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Chastised by E.U., a Resentful Greece Embraces China’s Cash and Interests


The New York Times

ATHENS — After years of struggling under austerity imposed by European partners and a chilly shoulder from the United States, Greece has embraced the advances of China, its most ardent and geopolitically ambitious suitor.

While Europe was busy squeezing Greece, the Chinese swooped in with bucket-loads of investments that have begun to pay off, not only economically but also by apparently giving China a political foothold in Greece, and by extension, in Europe.

Last summer, Greece helped stop the European Union from issuing a unified statement against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. This June, Athens prevented the bloc from condemning China’s human rights record. Days later it opposed tougher screening of Chinese investments in Europe.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

American tourist killed in Greece was fatally beaten over a selfie, police say

By Kristine Phillips July 11 at 3:17 PM

The Washington Post

American Bakari Henderson was killed by a group of as many as 15 men because of an argument over a selfie at a bar on a Greek island, police said.

A confrontation began after Henderson, who was vacationing with friends, asked to take a picture with a waitress, and quickly escalated into a fistfight involving other customers and two bar employees, Greek police spokesman Theodore Chronopoulos told The Washington Post. Video surveillance shows that the 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of Arizona was fatally beaten in a span of just 30 seconds, Chronopoulos said.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Friends say Texan killed in Greece was easygoing, fun-loving

By Jamie Stengle | AP July 10 at 6:03 PM

The Washington Post

DALLAS — A 22-year-old Texas man who was beaten to death at a bar on a Greek island recently graduated from college and was known to his friends for his fun-loving and friendly demeanor.

Bakari Henderson, of Austin, was beaten to death early Friday at the bar in Lagana on the island of Zakynthos.

Authorities haven’t disclosed a possible motive for the attack, but eight people have been arrested. Greek police said among them were a 34-year-old Greek and a 32-year-old British man of Serbian origin. Serbia’s foreign ministry said six of its citizens were arrested.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Greece fires at Turkish freighter in Aegean, Ankara protests

Deusche Welle

Greece's coast guard has fired "warning shots" at a Turkish freight ship near Rhodes island, prompting a protest from Ankara. Greek police say they acted on an anonymous call that it was "transporting drugs."

Turkey's foreign ministry condemned Greece on Monday over the shooting that left no one injured - but 16 bullet holes in the freighter's hull, according to its captain.
The vessel, the M/V ACT, had left the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun, near the Syrian border, and was heading west to the Gulf of Izmit when, according to Greek coast guards, it entered Greek waters northeast of Rhodes island.
"Warning shots were fired but the ship did not change course," said the Greek coast guard.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Greece says court decision not to extradite Turkish soldiers must be respected

Mon Jun 19, 2017 | 9:07am EDT


A court ruling to not extradite eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece following the failed coup attempt last year must be respected, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday.

His comments came at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim in Athens

"The Greek justice system has ruled on this issue ... and this decision must be fully respected," Tsipras said in response to a question.

In Greece, China Finds an Ally Against Human Rights Criticism


GENEVA — China has long won diplomatic allies in the world’s poor countries by helping them build expensive roads and ports. Now, it appears to have similarly won over a needy country in Europe.

At a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council this month in Geneva, the European Union sought to draw renewed attention to human rights abuses in China — only to be blocked by one of its member countries, Greece. A spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens called it “unproductive criticism.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Greece Declares Emergency After Earthquake Hits Lesbos

JUNE 13, 2017

The New York Times

ATHENS — The Greek government declared a state of emergency on the island of Lesbos on Tuesday, the day after a strong earthquake struck the island, killing a woman, injuring several people and leaving hundreds of residents homeless.

Israel’s prime minister in Greece to tout energy projects

By Costas Kantouris | AP June 15 at 8:40 AM

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Under heavy security, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited northern Greece on Thursday to discuss plans to become a key supplier of European energy through an ambitious Mediterranean undersea natural gas pipeline project.

Netanyahu met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.

More than 3,500 police officers were deployed around the city, which historically had a large Jewish community that was almost wiped out during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Trump offers to help resolve Gulf crisis, UAE tightens squeeze on Qatar

 Wed Jun 7, 2017 | 8:40pm EDT


By William Maclean and Tom Finn | DUBAI/DOHA
U.S. President Donald Trump offered on Wednesday to help resolve a worsening diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab powers as the United Arab Emirates invoked the possibility of an economic embargo on Doha over its alleged support of terrorism.

In his second intervention in the row in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a White House statement said.