greece

Greece

BACKGROUND

Greece began its fight for independence after nearly 400 years of Ottoman occupation; the last of modern-day Greece’s regions, Crete, was freed in 1929. Greece participated in both World Wars, had its own civil war between 1946-1949, and a US-supported military regime from 1967 to 1974. Greece’s culture and traditions are tied to Orthodox Christianity with between 81 – 90% of the population identifying as Greek Orthodox, while 4-15% identify as agnostic/atheist, 3% as other, and 2% as Muslim. Greece is situated on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula and shares land borders with Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey.  .  

LATEST NEWS

  • Two Turkish patrol boats violated Greek territorial waters, engaging in dangerous maneuvers by one Greek coast guard boat, a FRONTEX patrol boat and a fishing boat. The encounter took place near the island of Chios. - Kathimerini 

  • The Greek and Israeli Prime Ministers had a phone call, in which they discussed the strategic importance of the collaboration between the two nations. The main focus was on tourism, where PM Netanyahu identified Greece as the obvious destination for Israeli citizens, once Israel re-opens travel. Both nations are members of the Smart COVID Management Group. – Kathimerini  

  • US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt communicated to Deputy Minister of Immigration the State Department’s decision to increase humanitarian aid to Greece due to the increased problems caused by the pandemic. This aid would increase the $600,000 US aid by an additional $2.45 million. – Kathimerini   

  • Greece is turning to the US for assistance in ensuring stability in the increasingly destabilized region surrounding Libya. Turkey’s capitalization on the government fluctuations are cause for alarm. Minister of Foreign Affairs, N. Dendias spoke with US Ambassador Pyatt, as well as, US Ambassador in Tripoli, to communicate these concerns. - ToVima 

  • This week, Turkey sent out a Navtex which claims that Greece is violating the Treaty of Lausanne by not demilitarizing the island of the Eastern Aegean. This is a new tactic Turkey has implemented in 2020, making these claims systematically, asking that all islands from Samothraki to the Dodecanese are demilitarized in accordance to international law. - ToVima 

  • Greece hopes to be at the table at the next rounds of discussions on the developments in Libya, watching as the US and Turkey engage in discussions and aware of US concerns of Russian interests in the region. As the instability directly affects Greece – from an immigration and a security aspect – there is grave concern for the future of the region. – ToVima  

  • The Hellenic Parliament held an event celebrating the 30 years of Israel- Greece diplomatic relations. The President of the Parliament recognized the strategic importance of bilateral relations, while the President of Knesset, Yariv Levin, offered a live video message to those present at the event. – Naftemporiki 

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  • A Summit Meeting of EU leaders took place on March 26th, among the most pressing topics of the teleconference is the creation of devising a common strategy, the creation of a “coronavirus-bond” and how the European Stability Mechanism will be utilized. The uncertainty of the economic ramifications of the pandemic demands a new budgetary plan for long-term financial flow into ailing economies. -ProtoThema
  • The Aegean Sea passenger ship industry is losing 660,000 Euro a day and projected to lose 20 million Euro a month. Due to the pandemic, the main use of the coastal network has been for cargo trucks that have to transport goods to the islands and thus, ships must continue to operate. The Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy's attempt to provide life-sustaining measures for the industry by retaining a limited winter schedule has been met with resistance by shipowners, who are bleeding money and ask for further decreases in operations, as well as, special exemptions for sailors, so that they may be eligible for the government assistance of 800 euro. -Kathimerini
  • In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, Greece is undergoing a huge repatriation process in an attempt for the return of Greek citizens abroad. The Greek authorities instituted strict protocols for incoming citizens, who were tested for the virus upon arrival. Irrespective of whether they were negative or positive for COVID-19, new arrivals were instructed to remain in a strict 14-day quarantine, had to complete forms including their quarantine location and family names and addresses. Random checks by General Secretary of Civil Protection personnel have been implemented and any citizen who is not found at the address which they provided will be fined 5,000 Euro. -SLPress
  • Greek PM, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, along with eight other European leaders, including French President Macron and the Italian and Spanish Prime Ministers, seek a meeting to set a common strategy to combat the coronavirus currently spreading through Europe. Mitsotakis reaffirmed Greece’s commitment to keeping open borders for trade for the quick and most cost-effective transport of goods. –To Vima

 

  • The number of Turkish airspace violations over the Aegean Sea and Greek islands has reached a record number of 217 in the first quarter of 2020 (counting up to April 15). The previous year, 2019, was the next highest in decades at a total of 124. Turkey’s aggression was brought up by Greek of National Defense, Minister Panagiotopoulos, during the NATO summit of Ministers of Defense. – Kathimerini  
  • The Greek government is forced to dip into the treasury department’s emergency funds, projecting the use of 15 billion of the existing 20 billion in order provide support individuals and businesses through the end of June. The ESM funds will not be used as of this moment. – Kathimerini  
  • Various national research institutions have projected that following the pandemic, Greece’s economy will go into recession – between 5 and 10% - while unemployment will skyrocket to anywhere between 20 and 30%. Some estimate that the public debt will increase to 200% of GDP. – Kathimerini   
  • Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, accused Greece of violating the Treaty of Lausanne by building military bases on islands neighboring Turkey in the Aegean. He also stated that Turkey would protect it’s interests and that Greece’s accusations of airspace violations are incorrect. - ToVima
  • Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that Turkey would continue to drill in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Eastern Mediterranean, claiming that Turkish cypriots should have equal access to the profits of natural resources from Cyprus EEZ. - ToVima
  • Greece’s effective and proactive management of the pandemic has resulted in international coverage lauding the government response. For this reason, major tour operators are looking to direct tourists to Greece in the 2020 holiday season as it is deemed a safe destination. Minister of Development, Adonis Georgiadis, stated that while tourism will be down in 2020, Greece can aim for a bigger portion of said industry profit, while looking for a long-term positive effect for the 2021 season. – Naftemporiki  
  • As of Thursday, April 16, Greece has a total of 2,207 verified coronavirus cases and 105 casualties. – CNN.gr