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  1. Erdoğan, a leader who did many essential reforms in Turkey and helped its development, since in 2003 he became Prime Minister of Turkey. In the recent years he has become more and more authoritarian and expressing his Islamic ideas, creating a cult of personality around him. From a good example to the other Middle East countries, Erdoğan is now putting Turkey in an uncertain future.

    ALWAYS THE KURDS

    Erdoğan never hided his conservative and religious ideas, he was even in prison for claiming a religious poem before he founded AKP. During his mandates as Prime-minister, he made peace with the Kurds, but he understood now that this was not the best option for him. After attacks in the Kurdistan area of Turkey, the cease fire between the Turkish Government and the Kurdish terrorist group PKK ended, now many Kurdish top-politicians are in jail, labelled of terrorists.

    When in 2015 the pro-Kurdish party HDP was able to pass the 10% elections threshold, I thought that this would prevent Erdoğan of getting his Presidential system, but I was wrong. In the 2015 election AKP won without majority. A coalition was needed, but none of the four parties represented in the Parliament agreed to form government, this held to new elections last November, after the end of the cease fire with the PKK.

    The pro-Kurdish party lost some seats, which helped AKP to reach majority, but not enough to change the constitution alone. In the beginning of 2017, 18 amendments to the Turkish Constitution were approved with MHP’s help, reducing the legislative powers of the Parliament and giving more powers to the President, a long waited wish by Erdoğan. These amendments to be approved have to pass in a national referendum that will take place on the 16 of April, while some of the HDP lawmakers are still in jail.

    A Troubled economy

    The Turkish economy that was growing fast during the first AKP mandates, is now slowing down. The problems began to intensify after the failed military coup, last July, around 130,000 civil servants lost their jobs and 45,000 have been arrested, including academics, journalists, politicians, militaries, businessmen, etc. In addition to Kurds and Kemalists, Erdoğan is now challenging as well the Hizmet movement, nowadays known by FETO, the government confiscated around 800 companies owned by Gülen supporters.

    This purge, that have been taken place since 15 July, is affecting the enviable growth of the Turkish economy. The gross domestic product is going down, the unemployment is rising, the rating agencies slashed Turkey's credit rating to junk status, the tourism sector is having troubles and the Turkish lira dropped to a historic low against the US dollar.

    All these factors combined show the fragile situation that Turkish economy is facing, but this “economic terror” it is in some part due the fear that businessmen have to invest in the “New Turkey” that emerged with the Erdoğan’ obsession for more power. As Turkey still in state of emergency, no-one knows what can happen after the referendum and markets do not like instability.

    ENEMIES EVERYWHERE

    Erdoğan created his own world, putting everyone who is not by his side in the enemy flank. Even the European Union, that helped Turkey turning into a more democratic State and its economy with European funds, is now being attacked as if it is the main source of the Turkish problems, in order to distract Turkish people from the real internal problems provoked by the increasing of President authoritarianism.

    Erdoğan with his persistence that external powers are against the development of Turkey, must have forgotten that Europe is an irreplaceable  for Turkey. Not only Europe depends on Turkey to control the influx of refugees, as Turkey depends from the European investment for a strong economy. And both are old NATO allies who must coordinate their efforts to solve the situation in Syria and find ways to prevent more terrorist attacks. Everyone has its limits and Erdoğan is pushing Europe Union too much.

    The New Turkey’s time

    Turkish citizens, however their origins and believes have the democratic power to vote and decide what they want for their home country. The future of Turkey is again in Turkish hands, but they need to understand that is not a simple change in the Turkish regime that is going on, it is something deeper that will affect the daily life. They will have to choose between a New Turkey where the death penalty is back and the one-man rule will take care of their destinies with an increasing authoritarianism, or they will choose to have a true strong New Turkey in the European Union with a democracy where freedom of speech is respected and Kurds, Alevis and other minority groups have their rights defended, as a true model for the other Middle East countries. The fight between Evet and Hayır might has been another surprise as the last referendums in Europe, but the Turkish referendum is for sure another clash between populism/nationalism against liberalism/globalisation.



  2. Economic crisis, growing migratory pressures, social and economic inequalities, xenophobia, regional conflicts, extremism and populism are today’s main challenges Europe has to face.
    These challenges are both global and domestic and reflect an unstable environment in which the European Union is navigating. Facing these issues, requires much effort from European policymakers, otherwise this may challenge the Union’s economic and political influence and perhaps its ideas, values and coherence.

    As it marks its 60th birthday, the European Union is in poor shape. It needs more flexibility to rejuvenate itself. We will only succeed in relaunching the EU if we take the direction of a more social, more just, more value-based Union now.

    The role of the individual is crucial in today’s globalized word. According to European Commission, today’s communities are in high-pressure. The challenges that face - like unemployment, climate change, aging population- have taken a growing social dimension. For this reason, individuals should be able to gain in strength, in skills and abilities, so they can meet the changing conditions of globalization. When the individual is able to adequately perceive the reality around him, then he can achieve what we call “individual empowerment”. When the individual empowerment process occurs in any person's life, they begin to believe that they are capable of having better control over their lives; they understand their situation, and their actions can improve our society. Thus, the concept of individual empowerment initially relates to a process that change the person. People are taking control and leading decisions that change their lives. The second stage of empowerment refers to a process in which people win confidence to make decisions that change their role in society. It is a bidirectional process that takes places between the person and its environment.

    The result of this process is the creation of new skills, based on individual’s insightfulness and capabilities. These essential features can reform person’s political consciousness, the ability to cooperate with others and handle life’s challenges. In other words, the person holds a key caring and guiding role in its own life. According to Howard (1993), the empowerment process gives the local environmental knowledge a new context—an intellectual understanding of the social situation, which encourages a sense of greater control of the environment and an ability to feel at home in the world.

    How people can help in relaunching the European Union?

    It is more than clear, that EU needs to take a more social, more just and more value-based direction. It is high time we make our European Union into a social union, with strong workers’ rights, gender equality, secure jobs and income, and decisive measures to tackle youth unemployment, wage inequality and vast differences in living standards and social security. Social progress must always mean upward convergence.

    One thing is certain: the Europe of tomorrow will not be the same as the Europe of yesterday. New challenges require new solutions. According to a senior EU official, “the real problem is the social Europe because here the division is clear, very traditional and a little bit ideological”. As Donald Tusk said, when our forefathers created this alliance, they didn’t talk about different speeds or make exceptions for certain members. They placed all their faith in European leaders’ desire to work together. Now, as our unity is tested under the strain of difficult challenges, the only way forward is to reaffirm our unity and recall the union’s original raison d’être.

    The European project will either survive as a unified alliance or not at all. We must safeguard what we’ve built and respect our common rules: human rights and civil liberties, freedom of speech and assembly, checks and balances, and the rule of law.

    Main Sources:

    We must renew Europe for all Europeans - https://euobserver.com/stakeholders/137252

    Elisheva Sadan, Empowerment and Community Planning, 1997 http://www.mpow.org/elisheva_sadan_empowerment_chapter5.pdf

    How to relaunch the EU - http://www.politico.eu/article/how-to-relaunch-the-european-union-future-brexit/



  3. The Elgin Marbles  also known as the Parthenon Marbles, are a collection of Classical Greek art made under the supervision of the architect and sculptor Phidias and his assistants. 

    They were originally part of the temple of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Following a public debate in Parliament and the subsequent exoneration of Elgin, the marbles were purchased from Elgin by the British government in 1816 and were passed to the British Museum, where they are on display in the purpose-built Duveen Gallery. Since then the marbles are placed in London and the British Government never gave them back to Greece when they belong.

    The British Museum claims that the removal of the objects saved them from destruction, as they were not being protected at the time. However, times have changed. If the marbles are returned to Greece, they will be in a museum. Greece has built the New Acropolis Museum featuring state-of-the-art design and technology which ensures protection of its collection. What’s more, the New Acropolis Museum is a mere 300 meters from the Acropolis, allowing the marbles to be seen as intended—basking in the Greek sunlight. 

    To fully appreciate the artistic and historical significance of the friezes, they should be viewed in their context of the Acropolis mount, a hillside covered with art venerating the gods watching over Athens.  The British Museum has unequivocally stated that it will not return the marbles to Greece but, maybe the country has some options. Just as Italy leveraged its vast collections and archaeologically-rich resources against American museums, perhaps Greece could do the same. Over the past decade, museums across the U.S. returned looted objects to Italy after Italian officials threatened to withhold all Italian loans.

    The fear of losing access to Italian objects pressured museums to comply with Italy’s demands. As Greece has a rich archaeological trove, bargaining may be successful. International fervor is rising over the dig at Amphipolis, an elaborate burial site in Northern Greece that may contain the remains of a relative of Alexander the Great. Prohibiting British archaeologists to access the site and barring any finds from going to British institutions may be one way to apply pressure for the return of some of the Parthenon Marbles. This type of action is necessary. The Parthenon is not just cultural heritage, but a symbol of Greece and the glory of Athens. They shouldn’t be in a different country than Greece.We can’t change the history and especially we can’t ‘’steal’’ history of other country.

    In addition, following the global recession in 2008, Greece has found itself burdened by massive debts and forced to live under policies of austerity that the Financial Times has described as turning the country into a “quasi-slave" economy. Youth unemployed is about 50 per cent and suicide rates have soared. The country has also had to deal with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the brutal war in Syria and desperate poverty and religious extremism in other countries. Returning the sculptures would boost public morale and also tourism, a mainstay of the Greek economy.In conclusion, the Elgin Marbles should and have to be returned to their ‘’mother’’ in Greece. 

     



  4. Just a few days ago, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the airbase that hosted the Syrian Mig-23s that carried out the chemical attack in the Idlib province, according to reports[1]. Although no investigation followed in order to provide undisputed evidence of the attack, the strike aimed to destroy the Al-Shayrat airbase’s facilities, US officials said[2].The recent missile strike constitutes the first ever direct military act taken by the US administration since the outbreak of military clashes in Syrian soil, evolving to a bloody 6-year civil war.

    The US Tomahawk Missiles

    The missiles that were used during the US airstrike have been described as a modern, precise and powerful weapon that has the capabilities of delivering deadly blows to the enemy’s facilities even if they are protected by thick walls while zeroing collateral damages[3]. “Raytheon”, the company behind the Tomahawk missiles, has developed the weapon at a cost of US$1-1.5m. Tomahawks played a significant role in the intervention against the Libyan regime in 2011 and destroyed key strategic infrastructure[4]. The recent upgrades are going to further enhance the missile capabilities that can be found in the table on the left side.

    The US position on the airstrike

    However, this war involved certain proxy war characteristics and has been clearly used as a backdoor for terrorist insurgencies[5]. The US strike signifies an important intensification of the US military planning in the area, and could well be perceived by the Syrian Arab Republic’s authorities as an act of war against a sovereign state.US President Donald Trump’s judgment of the situation and the eventual airstrike against Syria has underlined a rather significant alteration in his own stated position on the dilemma over US involvement against the president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar Al-Assad. It is essential to recap President Trump’s initial position on the Syrian conflict which was contrary to invading or even engaging by military means against the Syrian president[6]. Nonetheless, the recent chemical attack that was said to be carried out by the Syrian regime’s forces changed the US administration’s view on a potential engagement, well after several sensitive the release of images and videos depicting dozens of people killed by sarin gas. At first, this illustrates a change of policy compared to the red lines that the Obama administration had employed but did not keep on. The second sign of US policy can be translated as a flexibility doctrine that Donald Trump is likely to unfold[7]. However, the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson was swift to neatly highlight that this course of action did not underline any shift in US policy regarding Syria[8]. Tillerson, though, did stress that his government was prepared to follow any steps that would guarantee that the Syrian regime would not cross any other red lines imposed by the US.

    The Russian reaction

    Reports from Moscow underlined that the implications for the future US-Russia relations on the ground would definitely depend on Washington’s next moves and whether this missile strike was a sole event, as retaliation for the chemical attack in Idlib. Russia constitutes a central advocate of the Bassad administration and has evolved to the key determinant of the Syrian crisis. The Russian Major General Igor Konanshenkov highlighted the potential consequences in the relations between the two world powers that the airstrike may have[9]. In addition, he underlined that the Russian army would increase its readiness and enhance the Syrian anti-aircraft and air-defense systems. As a result, he stated that the Syrian army will gain strengthened capabilities in protecting its key infrastructure against any potential threats.

    The next step that the Russian Federation took emphasizes a realist and diplomatic approach that is expected to criminalize and condemn the US missile assault. Russia’s Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Vladimir Safronov urged that the airstrikes could trigger a grim diplomatic environment in the Syrian conflict that would lead to further implications to the wider region, affecting regional and global stability[10]. The realist account that Mark Galleoti employs to analyze the Russian reaction is probably the one that should be further expected to be followed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The decision to send the new-built frigate ‘Admiral Grigorovich’, capable of air defense, naval assault, and key-strikes operations, is a decision that lays a realist framework to a potential escalation[11]. Furthermore, according to Matthew Schmidt who has been following Russian affairs and is employed as an assistant professor of national security at the New Haven University, the Russian administration will likely push forward a pressing military policy in case the US initiate new military operations against the Syrian regime[12].

    S-400 Triumph - Was the most advanced Russian A/A system even activated?

     

    Last but not least, there is a growing discussion whether the probably most cutting-edge air defense systems worldwide were activated. The S-400 missile systems that have been deployed to supplement the already existing S-300 did not interrupt any of the fired missiles originating from the US Navy destroyers[13]. This debate is further complemented by the argument of the US that they informed the Russian command in Syria prior the attack took place early Friday. The Russian military has enhanced the air defense capabilities of the Syrian airbases in Hmeymim, Latakia and Tartus that host Russian fighter and bombing jets. At this point, Mark Galeotti conveys his thoughts over the conditions that did not lead to the activation of the missile system that was absolutely capable of taking down the Tomahawk missiles[14]. What can be really understood is that a possible reaction of such scale by the Russians could spark an unprecedented crisis on the Syrian conflict that would inevitably affect international peace, given that it would be the first time that Russia would engage the US. Therefore, within the framework of a realist lens, it is safe to conclude that the US gained momentum over the Russians for a short period, however the realist game has not even come to an end and the next moves of the Russian-US chess board in Syria are likely to be the ones that determine the future of the whole region.

    Bibliography

    [1]

    J. H. a. B. S. Euan McKirdy, "Syria strikes: Site of chemical attack hit again," 03 04 2017. [Online]. Available: CNN. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [2]

    Barbara Starr and Jeremy Diamond, "Trump launches military strike against Syria," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/06/politics/donald-trump-syria-military/. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [3]

    E. Hunt, " Tomahawk missile: weapon of deadly precision comes back to fore in Syria," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/07/tomahawk-missile-weapon-of-deadly-precision-comes-back-to-fore-in-syria. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [4]

    Raytheon, "Tomahawk Cruise Missile," 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/tomahawk/. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [5]

    A. AbuKhalil, "The 8 Proxy Wars Going On in Syria Right Now," 24 09 2014. [Online]. Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/asad-abukhalil/syria-proxy-wars_b_5874488.html. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [6]

    E. Rosenfeld, "'DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA': Trump's 2013 comments on Syria urged congressional approval, military restraint," 06 04 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/06/trumps-past-comments-on-syria-urged-the-us-not-to-attack.html. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [7]

    B. J. P. a. V. SALAMA, "After Syria strike, Trump's emerging doctrine is flexibility," 08 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://apnews.com/7b780e963f044ae7957614df9b167e5f/After-Syria-strike,-Trump's-emerging-doctrine-is-flexibility. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [8]

    S. S. Reports, "Syria: No Change In U.S. Policy Toward Al Assad, Tillerson Says," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.stratfor.com/situation-report/syria-no-change-us-policy-toward-al-assad-tillerson-says. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [9]

    V. I. b. A. Press, "Russia ups ante by freezing communications with U.S. in Syria," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.pekintimes.com/news/20170407/russia-ups-ante-by-freezing-communications-with-us-in-syria. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [10]

    K. H. i. M. a. E. S. i. B. Demetri Sevastopulo nd Courtney Weaver in Washington, "US and Russia clash over Trump’s strike on Syria," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.ft.com/content/e9f09a54-1b91-11e7-a266-12672483791a. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [11]

    S. International, "Admiral Grigorovich Missile Frigate Rejoins Russia's Task Force in the Med," 08 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://sputniknews.com/military/201704081052437418-russia-frigate-mediterranean/. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [12]

    A. Jazeera, "What next for US-Russia ties after Syria strike?," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/russia-ties-syria-strike-170407043220909.html. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [13]

    D. Cenciotti, "US military has launched 59 cruise missiles at airbase in Syria. Here’s what we know so far.," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://theaviationist.com/2017/04/07/us-military-has-launched-59-cruise-missiles-at-airbase-in-syria-heres-what-we-know-so-far/. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [14]

    K. Hill, "Attack on Syria dashes hopes for better US-Russia relations," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.ft.com/content/68b6f0d0-1ba2-11e7-bcac-6d03d067f81f. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

  5. Greece experiences a wave of mass emigration. The experience of ex-patriates may be a key to learn best practices from other countries.

    Over 427,000 people left Greece since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008, marking the third wave of mass emigration in the 20th and 21st centuries. (Greek Reporter)

    Many of the emigrants are young and well educated, resulting in a brain-drain for the Greek society and economy that ultimately is bad news for the country. A lot of these job opportunity seekers, migrate to other EU member states with stronger economies which offer more opportunity to develop their careers. Yet some of them have found themselves in a peculiar situation. The Greek community in Ireland is growing, despite the difficulties that the Irish economy went through during the past years.

    It is estimated that the number of Greeks in the country has doubled - if not tripled, over the period that followed both the Greek and the Irish bail-outs programmes. Partially because Ireland was the first country to exit the EU/IMF monitored plan, there are many other factors that despite the all flaws, make the Irish economy more competitive than the Greek. 

    Apart from the obvious advantages of the English language, its strong ties with the USA and strategic location close to most major European economies, plus of course the much-debated corporate taxation system, Ireland has established a more business-friendly economy.


    "In 5 working days, you can set up your business"

    Giorgos Stamopoulos is originally from the city of Patra in Greece. He moved to Ireland about 5 years ago, where he started working in various jobs in customer service and the IT industry. But 4 months ago, he decided with his partners to open “Eat-Greek,” a take-away restaurant in Dublin. Back home, he used to run his own business in the frozen meats trade, but as the economic crisis took over the country, it was hard to make any profit. “People just did not have the money to make any payments,” he describes.

    His new business venture in Ireland is doing very well so far. Overall Giorgos is very impressed and satisfied by the way business is conducted in the country.

    “It is very easy to get a licence and open a shop in this country, as the licence is being issued on the property rather on the individual owner, like in Greece”  he says.

    There is less paperwork or red-tape and dealing with the banks or the local authorities is very much straight-forward,” Giorgos continues. 

    “Back in Greece opening your own business takes too much time and money, as there are a lot of parties involved; from solicitors to public servants, the owner of the premises, the business partners,” he describes.

    In addition, taxation is made easy in Ireland and everything is streamlined to do business faster and with less effort.

    The working conditions are better too. There is far more meritocracy in Irish businesses and if you work hard you will succeed, according to Giorgos. Adam Kritidis moved to Dublin around 22 years ago, from his home town of Edessa. He is also a business owner in Ireland, although for much longer than Giorgos.  He opened his first restaurant 16 years ago, and since then he has co-owned to another 8 restaurants in Dublin. 

    Adam also points out Ireland’s “business friendly” mentality. “In 5 working days, you can set up your business and additionally, 7 days are required for opening a bank account for it,” he states. That is something that Greece is still lacking behind, hindering naturally much of its business and economic development.


    "There is a better work culture" 

    People that arrived more recently in Ireland, have noticed major differences between the two countries.

    Theodoros Zioutos came to Dublin in 2015, while already being married with two children. He arrived on his own, while his family stayed back in Greece for a while. They were reunited once he settled in his new home. He is a sound engineer, a profession he has been doing since 1995 in Greece. With 20 years of experience, Theodoros decided to resettle in Ireland, as he saw his working rights being scrapped in a country disintegrating under a deep economic crisis.

    “I felt that I had no career prospects anymore, while I was seeking to find a financially safer and stable environment to raise my two kids,” he describes. 

    “In Ireland working experience is being rewarded and acts as bonus when seeking for employment. There is a better work culture, with staff getting lunch breaks and receiving the necessary rest between shifts,” Theodoros continues.

    He adds that health and safety issues are being taken seriously, there is meritocracy and adequate training is always being given. “Overall there is far more professionalism in an Irish workplace, than in Greece,” he adds.

    Theodoros thinks that Greece could follow Ireland’s example in many ways. This includes a better organisation and prioritisation, less red tape and a more transparent taxation system. In short, streamlining the state’s institutions and their functions.


    "I need to work less hours to make ends meet"  


    His quality of life has improved since he moved to Ireland. “I need to work less hours to make ends meet, thus I can spend more time with my family, which is important,” he says.

    Under the current economic climate, Theodoros does not consider returning to Greece. Yet because of the uncertainty that exists in Europe due to Brexit, he does not exclude moving on to another EU country. There are some things though that some new arrivals from Greece find harder to adopt, although in general their experiences remain positive.

    Matina Velonaki is originally from Athens in Greece. She studied English Literature and prior to her moving to Ireland, she worked as an English teacher. She was also working freelance as a translator but unfortunately, she was not making enough money from either job. Her income in Greece during the crisis, was amounting to about 50 € a week.

    Matina visited Dublin in 2009 and stayed in the country for one year for studies. After two years back in Greece she returned in Ireland to find a job. She settled in the city of Cork where she started working in a Greek speaking, customer service industry related job.

    Matina feels that working conditions in Ireland are far better than Greece overall, but she also came across various working conditions, some that she was unfamiliar with in her home country.


    "Bogus Contracts" 

    “I have never heard of the so called “bogus contracts” that several multinational companies offer their workers,”
    she explains. 

    “Working with no sick leave, demanding working conditions, flexible hours with the minimum wage, plus no worker’s benefits, is something I was not aware that existed in Ireland,” she describes.

    During her career, she experienced lack of job security in some multinational companies and in addition, very tough competition among Greeks. She believes that because of the hardships back home, several Greek workers in Ireland have become extra competitive to maintain these jobs.

    She plans to remain in the Ireland for the long term, but preferably move to Dublin. She got used to the way things work here, although she misses her home country occasionally.


    Lessons for Europe


    These examples showcase a different work culture that Greece and other EU member states could consider in order to make their economies more competitive.

    Not all of them might be applicable to other places in Europe, however examining and debating on them could offer valuable insights on how to reform the way we conduct and attract business, copy the beneficial parts, avoid the mistakes. Thus, expatriate communities could prove to be the best source of experience and knowledge on such issues. I wonder how could their voices be heard, both by their adopted and native countries, to create a constant database of shared apprehension on how to conduct business across Europe.



  6. On the day that Portugal celebrated 106 years of Republic and 873 years of the Zamora Treaty, which gave independence to the country, the Portuguese diplomacy had also the opportunity to celebrate the sixth victory of António Guterres on his process to become the United Nation Secretary-General, showing that a diplomacy with low resources can run for top jobs, against all odds.

    The Election Process

    For the first time the General Assembly and the Security Council have created a procedure of selection and appointing more transparent and open. First, letters were sent to all member states informing then to nominate their candidates. After, only twelve countries nominated candidates for Secretary-General. Then, they went through a process that involved auditions and debates between the candidates, in this way the member states and the people around the world would hear their ideas for their five years mandate. Civil society organisations were able to put some questions to the candidates.

    This process helped to turn the election more transparent and open, but the candidates had to be  first voted in the restrict group of the Security Council, where the five permanent members (5P: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States) have the veto power. The Security Council did straw polls which helped to understand who was the favourite for the UNSecretary-General position. Guterres who was always placed in first got his best result during the last straw poll (13 encourage, 0 discourage, 2 no opinion), last 5th of October. In this last straw poll there was a distinction in the votes from the 5P, so it was possible to understand that one of the two no opinion votes was from the 5P club.

    During the straw pollsthree candidates withdraw their candidacy, but before the last straw poll a new Bulgarian candidate appeared, the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Kristalina Georgieva. In Portugal she was seen as a big threat to Guterres candidacy, because since the start of the election process many were the voices saying that now would be the time for a Eastern European woman in front of the UN. Even the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said that he “had that feeling of being run a marathon and suddenly appears a competitor entering in the last 100 meters to try to win the marathon”, in a clear reference to Kristalina Georgieva who was not expose to all the process like the twelve candidates.

    She was the second Bulgarian candidate, supported by Germany and the European People’s Party, despite this support she was not able to get more votes than her compatriot Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General. Even after Bokova lost the Bulgarian government support, she decided to keep her candidacy, and even so she was placed in fourth in the last straw poll, being the first woman on the list.

    After the sixth straw poll the Security Council decided to present the name of Guterres by acclamation to the UN General Assembly, where on the 13rd of October, António Guterres was appointed next UN Secretary-General also by acclamation. On the 12th of December, Guterres made his oath in front of the General Assembly, and started his five years mandate on the first day of 2017, succeeding to the South-Korean Ban Ki-moon, who wasSecretary-General during two mandates.

    Who is António Guterres?

    Mostly of you might not know him, but Guterres, who is engineer, was Prime Minister of Portugal between 1995 and 2002, during this time East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, got its independence back after 27 years of Indonesia illegal occupation. Guterres was deeply involved in solving this crisis, which permitted him to get a big networking that now helped him to get the necessary international support for the UN Secretary-General position. It was during his mandate as Prime-minister that Portugal had the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the second time since its accession, during this presidency was held the first EU-Africa summit and the Lisbon Agenda was adopted with a “new strategic goal for the Union in order to strengthen employment, economic reform and social cohesion as part of a knowledge-based economy”.

    He was also during many years deputy in the Portuguese Parliament, as well member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and very active in the Socialist International, where he was also president. In Portugal he founded the Portuguese Refugee Council, that celebrated 25 years last September and an association to defend the Portuguese consumers rights. More recently, António Guterres was member of the Portuguese Council of State, during Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa presidency.

    António Guterres, who can speak fluently three UN official languages, have a big professional career, but the most important place where he served, and is mostly recognised for that, was as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), during ten years. Guterres faced the start of the so called refugee crisis, created mainly because of the conflicts in the Middle East region, he had contact to a cruel reality of people who had to leave everything behind to try to find a new and better life in other countries.

    What can we expect from his work as UNSG?

    During his work in UNHCR, Guterres was able to reduce the staff members at the headquarters of the organisation and by doing so he increased the number of staff close to the hotspots, allowing the UN agency to have a quick response to the problems. He also improved thegender parity inside the refugees agency, and he promised to do the same at the UN’s top job, starting by selecting women for the position of DeputySecretary-General and for chief if his cabinet.

    The choice of Amina Mohammed as UN Deputy Secretary-General is important not only because gender parity, but as well because she is from Nigeria. The African continent will deserve much attention from UN, as it is one of the regions on earth which is facing the most complicated challenges. She was Minister of Environment of Nigeria, leaving the climate change and the Paris agreement as another important focus during Guterres’ mandate.

    Guterres as UN Secretary-General will be the keeper of the three pillars of the organisation that he commands, which are: peace and security, sustainable development and human rights. Guterres will try to channel the organisation resources to the prevention of crisis, he mentioned a few times that believes "prevention must be not only a priority, but the priority of everything we do".Preventing crisis, will prevent people from suffering.

    Many will be the global challenges that Guterres will have to face during his five years mandate, but also the UN faces some challenges, the organisation needs reforms. The organisation has to be less bureaucratic and morepeople-centred. In the times that we live when States are cutting their budgets for international cooperation for development, it is necessary to mobilise new stakeholders and deepen cooperation with other international and regional organisations. Civil society/NGO’s and the private sector also need to be heard and work in cooperation with the UN agencies, in order to avoid overlapping of development programs. More international cooperation will promote sustainability and development through Agenda 2030, which will be preventing crisis.

    Guterres, who is apracticing Christian, believes that values such as tolerance and solidarity are universal values shared by all cultures and religions.Guterres is an apologist of multicultural societies, in all senses, but societies must use their diversity as a force able to keeprespect for tolerance and solidarity among people, and not the opposite as we see it happening in today's world.

    It is true that the position of UN Secretary-General is “the most impossible job in the world”, as said by the first UN Secretary-General the Norwegian Trygve Lie, but Guterres he knows very well how hard is the job after spending two mandates in front of one of the most important UN agencies. He could have run for President of Portugal, but he likes to fight for a better world and be on the front line where he can really do something to change the world.So I do believe that he is the right Human being to bring back the true Humanity to our world, but he will not be alone, Guterres will have all the support from the many staff members of the UN agencies, who fight every day for a better and equal world.



  7. There have been a lot said about public procurements regarding the existing problems and the risk of corruption.

    Especially in Greece during these 8 years of recession, when someone talks about corruption, public procurements are the main and many times the only overanalyzed topic.

    It is true that despite all the reforms that the public procurements system has faced, the corruption in this sector remains at a very high level. At the same time is even harder for a public procurement to be awarded to a bidder due to the complexity of the Greek procurement legal system. This situation is pretty similar to the death spiral, causing a huge problem in the state function. An additional problem is that the last public procurement law 4412/2016, with effect from August 2016, is nearly a Google translated version of the EU Directives 2014/24 and 2014/25 which is far from digesting them to the existing relative legal system. The aforementioned issue produces numerous problems and questions to the departments of the public sector that manage the public procurements as well as to the companies as potential bidders.

    There are a lot to be done in order to improve and enhance the transparency of the public procurement process as well its effectiveness. In the coming paragraphs, some proposals aimed at addressing the above problems are being developed.

    Regarding the issue of corruption in public sector and especially in the sector of public procurements it needs to be splitted into: a) Corruption of political persons, b) Corruption of public servants. Such a split is needed because corrupted political persons affect in a different manner the procedures in their favor compared with the public servants and they are under a more complicated legal status than the second ones.

    A way that could effectively reduce the corruption of political persons in the sector of public procurements is the reduction of their influence upon the competent divisions. This can take place if the parliament or any other body that is not influenced only by the government, set specific public servants to every competent division of each public body as the Heads of them with full responsibility.

    A great reason of the corruption of public servants is their permanence in the competent divisions managing public procurements. The more they stay in these divisions of each public body the more the risks of corruption uprise. Leaving these departments after specific years of working there could be a potential solution but it would result in an exit of knowledge and experience that are essential in this sector. A very good way to overcome the issue of permanence and therefore corruption is a rotation. The rotation wouldn’t be of public servants, it would be of the public procurements. Until now every public body has at least one division that manages the public procurements concerning the public body’s needs. If every three years, the needs of each public body would be managed by the competent authority of another public body, then the cons of the permanence would be eliminated. The gap of the specific knowledge that could possibly be required for some public procurements (e.g. specific public constructions etc) could be confronted through the provision of a wide range of consulting services to the whole public sector. The cost of the consulting services for the state would be much lower than the cost of corruption that tries to cut.

    Common technical specifications for the whole public sector, regarding needs such as office equipment, electronic equipment etc should be set as soon as possible. The Greek word chaos can describe properly the current situation regarding public procurements in every public body for such equipment. Such an initiative could drop the costs of relevant public procurements at least by 40%. 

    Economy and politically wise, there are numerous and low-cost possible solutions for a much better and more effective public sector which are going to cause a tremendous drop of its costs and corruption. It is up to us as a society and the way we choose our government if we really want it happened.



  8. The breakup of Yugoslavia during the 1990s created instability, uncertainty, nationalistic tensions, conflict and a drastic change of borders in the Balkans. Countries became independent and new states were formed; the constitutional name ‘Republic of Macedonia (Република Македонија)’ or the United Nations provisional name‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ (F.Y.R.O.M), a new state that gained its independence from being a Yugoslav unit ‘Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’ in 1991, reignited an existing dispute dating back to the Balkan Wars, regarding the Slav-speakers in the greater region of Macedonia with Greece. Since F.Y.R.O.M gained its independence there has been an ongoing name dispute in bilateral and international relations regarding the usage of the name “Macedonia”.

    The dispute has escalated to the highest level of international mediation, involving numerous attempts to achieve a resolution. In 1995, the two countries formalized bilateral relations and committed to start negotiations on the naming issue, under the auspices of the United Nations. Until a solution is found, the provisional reference "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" F.Y.R.O.M is used by international organizations and states which do not recognize translations of the constitutional name Republic of Macedonia. UN members, and the UN as a whole, have agreed to accept any final agreement on a new name resulting from negotiations between the two countries.

    Despite the name dispute with Greece, F.Y.R.O.M faces a very serious internal existential crisis. Following the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski the country is facing a long-running political crisis that has divided the country, entering a new and more dangerous phase that has had a dramatic turn for the worse, transforming a crisis of corruption and governance into a crisis of state. Early parliamentary elections were held on 11 December 2016, as part of an agreement brokered by theEuropean Union to end the protests against the government of Nikola Gruevski. The demonstrations were sparked by the wiretapping scandal involving high ranking politicians and security personnel.From 20 October 2015, a transitional government was installed including the two main parties, VMRO-DPMNE and the Social Democratic Union(SDSM). A new special prosecutor was appointed to investigate Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and government ministers. According to the Przino Agreement signed in mid-December 2015, Gruevski was required to resign as Prime Minister 120 days before the elections. However, neither VMRO-DPMNE nor the SDSM won enough seats to form a government, even with the main Albanian party (DUI) which lost much of its support because of its long association with VMRO-DPMNE. Instead the balance of power was held between two new Albanians parties, Besa and the Alliance for Albanians which campaigned on a platform of enhanced rights for Albanians in what they argued was a state run primarily in the interests of the Ethnic Slavic Macedonian majority. President Gjorge Ivanov refused to give a governing mandate to a diverse coalition of political parties whose state objective is a stronger status for the large Albanian minority. Temporally or perhaps permanently the Albanians have been shut out of the political process with potentially serious consequences. Unable to form a government without the help of Besa and the Alliance for Albanians, the main Albanian party turned for help to Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama who summoned the leaders of various Albanian parties to a summit in Tirana. What emerged from the summit was a joint delectation which set out their conditions for entry into government with either VMRO-DPMNE or SDSM. The declaration demanded that F.Y.R.O.M would be redefined as a binational state comprised of Ethnic Slav Macedonians and Albanians, rather than Slav Macedonian Nation-State with an Albanian Minority. Also the declaration demanded the official use of the Albanian language everywhere in the country, not just in the Albanian majority areas, revision of the flag, anthem state symbols, Albanians involvement in a resolution of the dispute over Macedonia’s name with Greece, implying also abandoning the name Macedonia. Ethnic Slav Macedonians would never accept those demands, negotiations have failed and any attempt of discussion and problem solving with the Albanian minority is far and very dangerous for the stability of the country.

    The region of Macedonia is very historical, very well known for its ancient history as a Greek Kingdom. The modern geography of Macedonia formed by the Ottomans when the Balkans were part of the Ottoman Empire, relies between Greece, Bulgaria, F.Y.R.O.M, however the geography of the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedonia mostly relies within the borders of the Macedonia region which belongs to Greece(Greek Macedonia). The first steps of the name dispute begin because Greece claims that due to historical, cultural and geographical reasons Macedonia belongs to Greek national history and cultural identity and that its neighboring country has no right to use the name Macedonia. They therefore consider that only Greeks have a historical right to use the name today, since the modern southernSlavsarrived in the Balkans 1,000 years later, lacking any relation to ancient Macedonia or its Greek culture. Efforts by “ethnic Slav-Macedonians” to construct a narrative of ethnic continuity linking them to the ancient Macedonians in various waysand symbolic actions underlining such claims, such as the public use of theVergina sunsymbol as their national flag or the renaming ofSkopje Airportto "Alexander the Great Airport"meet strong criticism from the Greek side. Millions of Greeks identify themselves asMacedonians, unrelated to the Slavic people who are associated with the F.Y.R.O.M. The question is does F.Y.R.O.M have the right to use the name based on geography? It is very highly debated. Based on how the Ottoman Turks formed the geography of Macedonia, we could say yes, but based on the historical geography of ancient Macedonia, and then we could say no. The Greek view also stresses that the name Macedonia as a geographical term historically used to refer typically to the southern, Greek parts of the region (including the capital of the ancient kingdom,Pella), and not or only marginally to the territory of modern F.Y.R.O.M. They also claim that the territory was not called Macedonia as a political entity until 1944, but ‘Vardar Banovina’ within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Greece opposes the use of the name "Macedonia" by the F.Y.R.O.M without a geographical qualifier such as "Northern Macedonia" for useby all and for all purposes. Greece further objects to the use of the term "Macedonian" for the neighboring country's largestethnic groupand itslanguage. F.Y.R.O.M is accused of promoting theirredentistconcept of aUnited Macedonia, which involves territorial claims onGreece,Bulgaria,Albania, andSerbia. Many historians emphasize the late emergence of a "Macedonian" nation, often pointing to 1944 as the date of its creation underJosip Broz Tito, discounting earlier Slavic roots in the 19th and early 20th century.

    During theGreek Civil War 1947-49, the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito created and first usedthe "new term, Aegean Macedonia", (also "Pirin Macedonia"), was introduced by Yugoslavs which this indicates that this was part of the Yugoslav offensive against Greece, laying claim to Greek Macedonia. Tito's wartime representative to Macedonia, General Tempo (Svetozar Vukmanovic), is credited with promoting the usage of the new regional names of the Macedonian region for irredentist purposes. Concerns over territorial implications of the usage of the term "Macedonia" were expressed as early as 1944. Greece suspects that the F.Y.R.O.M hasterritorial ambitionsin the northernGreek province of Macedonia. This has been a Greek concern for decades as far back as 1957, the Greek government expressed concern about reported Yugoslav ambitions to create an "independent" People's Republic of Macedonia with the Greek city of Thessaloniki as its capital, ambitions that now exist amongst citizens of the F.Y.R.O.M. Loring M. Danforthascribes the goal of a "free, united, and independent Macedonia" including "liberated" Bulgarian and Greek territory to a fraction of extreme ethnic ‘Slav Macedonian’ nationalists, whereas more moderate ethnic ‘Slav Macedonians’ recognize that borders will not change but regard the presence of ethnic ‘Slav Macedonians’ in the neighboring countries as an issue of minority protection. Greek analystsand politicianshave expressed concerns that globally the dispute is underestimated on its seriousness regarding the territorial threat and tend to misunderstand the conflict as a minor issue over just a name. The concerns are growing by the fact that extremist ethnic ‘Slav Macedonian’ nationalists of the "United Macedonia" movement have expressed irredentist claims to what they refer to as "Aegean Macedonia".

    The naming issue has not yet been resolved after so many years considering its complexity since it’s not only regarding the name itself but various disputes behind the name. At the moment but it has effectively reached a stalemate. Various names had been proposed over the years, for example a double name: "New Macedonia", “North Macedonia”, "Upper Macedonia", "Slavo-Macedonia", "Nova Makedonija", "Macedonia (Skopje)" and so on, that would both incorporate the name “Macedonia” based on geographical purposes to satisfy the demand of F.Y.R.O.M but also to differentiate and separate the given name from its Greek historical heritage to keep the Greek side satisfied. However, these proposals had failed because the initial Greek position is that no permanent name incorporating the term "Macedonia" is acceptable. Greece had counter-proposed the names "Vardar Republic" or "Republic of Skopje", but the government and opposition parties in F.Y.R.O.M had consistently rejected any solution that eliminates the term "Macedonia" from the country's name. Following these developments, Greece has gradually revised its position and has accepted of a composite appellation, with a geographical qualifier,erga omnes(the incorporation of the term "Macedonia" in the name, but with the use of a disambiguating name specification, for international and intergovernmental use). The name “Macedonia” itself is not the major problem, the problem begins with what it represents historically. The only way for this to be resolved is with radical rhetoric to be down, a double name to be agreed that would clearly be based on geographical purposes that would separate and differentiate F.Y.R.O.M from the Greek historical heritage of Macedonia in order to avoid historical forgery.



  9. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he expects the Turkish Parliament to restore the death penalty, after a referendum next month to expand his executive powers.

    Speaking at a televised rally in Canakkale, the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) promised that he would sign a bill on the death penalty, stating: "I believe, God willing, that after the 16 April vote, parliament will do the necessary concerning your demands for capital punishment".

    It is up to parliament to propose a bill on the death penalty, but would still need to be signed by Erdoğan. “When it comes to me I will approve it without hesitation,” he added.

    However, this is not the first time, the premier has introduced talks about reinstating capital punishment. Erdoğan and the government have been pushing for reinstatement of the death penalty since the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, suggesting it would bring justice to the families of the victims.

    Turkey has been officially negotiating as a candidate country with the European Union since 2005 and abolished capital punishment in 2004 as a condition for Ankara to join the European Union. Since the coup attempt, Erdoğan has repeatedly voiced his willingness to approve the restoration, if parliament approves it, while the EU foreign ministers warned that restoring capital punishment would block accession talks with Turkey.

    Tensions with Europe are already high, as Turkey prepares for the 16 April referendum, which would broaden president Erdogan’s powers. Turkish officials have been campaigning among emigre Turks in Germany and the Netherlands to promote the referendum. However, his remarks came as Ankara was locked in a bitter standoff with Europe, after Germany and the Netherlands blocked Turkish ministers from campaigning for a 'yes' vote ahead of the referendum on expanding Erdogan's powers. As a result, many of the scheduled rallies were canceled by German and Dutch leaders, resulting in various spats, including Erdogan referring to the Netherlands as "Nazi remnants".

    «Ignore Hans and George»

    EU officials have repeatedly warned Turkey that restoring capital punishment would spell the end of its decades-long bid to join the bloc. But Erdogan and his ministers have said they need to respond to popular demand for such a move to deal with the ringleaders of the coup.

    The Turkish strongman said he did not care what Europe thought about such a move.

    “What Hans and George say is not important for me,” he said, using two common European names. “What the people say, what the law says, that’s what is important for us,” he added.

    Erdogan has repeatedly raised the idea that Turkey could restore capital punishment. But this is the first time he has directly called on parliament to approve it after the referendum on constitutional change.

    In addition to damaging Turkey's chances of joining the EU, the diplomatic crisis threatens a deal agreed upon by the two sides last year that is aimed at alleviating the refugee crisis in Europe.

    The ceremony, at which Erdogan spoke, marked the anniversary of what the Turkish people call the Canakkale battle, one of the greatest Ottoman victories during World War I and a defining moment in Turkish history.

    Saturday's celebrations also featured the beginning of construction on what would be the world's largest suspension bridge, as announced by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

    «Juncker warns Turkey death penalty is 'red line' issue»
    European Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker has warned Turkey that any return of the death penalty would be a "red line" in the country's stalled EU membership bid.


    "If the death penalty is reintroduced in Turkey that would lead to the end of negotiations" he told Sunday's edition of Germany's Bild newspaper, calling it a "red line".


    Nevertheless, Junker said he was opposed to a complete halt to all membership negotiations with Turkey.

    “It makes no sense to try to calm (Erdogan’s) nerves by stopping negotiations that are not even taking place.”

    Finally, the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel went even further, saying: "We are farther away than ever from Turkey's accession to the EU."



  10. The study of terrorism as a method of achieving strategic objectives has seen a generous number of disputes over the years from different scholars, mostly on the issue of defining terrorism whether this means fabricating a general definition or rather separating the term from its different forms and trying to incorporate repetitive situations into smaller terrorism synonyms. Max Abrahms introduced the “Lumpers VS Splitters” phenomenon asserting that there are those that define terrorism in a broader sense, without considering situations as guerilla warfare (Lumpers) and on the other side there are those that carefully consider every aspect of the term and then illustrate the similarities or differences between them (Splitters). In the analysis that follows I will try to pinpoint the different samples of terrorism and assess whether there has been a shift from the past terrorist practices into a new more violent type.

    The 4 stages of Terrorism – Rapoport’s Model

    When trying to address the different categories  of terrorism and combine them in regards to their similarities and differences over the years, David Rapoport provided us with an exquisite analysis  having founded the so-called “waves of terrorism ” merging the patterns of different terrorist incidents into four larger categories(waves) : 1) Anarchists, 2) Nationalists, 3) New-Leftists/Marxists and 4) Religious. Dating back from 1870s the Anarchists origins could mostly be spotted in Russia in a time where the democratization process was being prolonged in a way that enhanced the Anarchists goal of political gains. After the end of WWI and WWII the predicament changed into that of a revolutionary cause of stopping colonization and empire enlargements, hence the Nationalists/Anti-Colonials groups came to power in the “Terrorist Round Table”. Focusing on their noble cause these guerilla groups fought against the already declining empires in order to free the colonies from their grasp. One example would be the Palestinian military group known as the “Black Hand” which was formed during the 1930s by Izz ad-Din al-Qassam and was responsible for many Jews killings, as well as arming the Palestinian people and evidently inspiring the Arab Revolt that started in 1936 against the British Empire in order to achieve state sovereignty for Palestine. Finally, during the Cold-War era came the birth of the third group, the New Leftists  or Marxists. Being influenced by the Leftist Revolutions that sparked during the 1960s, one example being Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution 1959, many leftist organizations put on the mantle of freedom demanding political changes on the states that they acted upon. The Kurdish (PKK) against Turkey, the German (RAF) aka Red Army Faction and Japanese (JRA) – Red Army were some of the most notorious groups of that time, focusing their tactics on mostly hijackings and kidnappings. One interesting element of the Cold War era was that both the Soviet Union and USA kept using the different nationalist groups in order to promote their own political agenda against one another. The third wave’s end came with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union that led a number of states into the identity search abyss. Today we are currently in the 4th ‘wave’ of terrorism, which is none other than the religious one. While it is common knowledge that extremism through religion is one of the “oldest stories in the book” with the Holy Crusade being the best example; terrorists of today can be usually found drawing their strength from Islamic ideas. At this point I think we should clarify that Islam as a religion is by no means a way to terrorism and that these groups tend to interpret it in their own favorable way. Using Rapoport’s model again the two pillars that gave the materials required for modern religious terrorism to flourish are: 1) the Iranian revolution with the overthrowing of the Shah of Iran giving birth to an extremist Islamic rhetoric in the Middle East and 2) the invasion of Afghanistan from the Soviet Union, which in terms gave the radical Muslim groups their chance to “spread the word” and wage the “holy war” or more commonly “Jihad ”, against the unfaithful. The key method of most radical Islamists is the use of suicide attacks or suicide bombings, although, in some cases there have been traditional terrorist tactics as well. What is interesting here, apart from the fact that this radical religious outbreak has not yet ended, is the way this particular terrorist “school” distinguishes itself from previous ones giving itself a more vicious and global role.

    The old versus new terrorism dilemma: What has changed?

    The argument over ‘old’ and ‘new’ terrorism, intensified greatly after the events of 9/11 took place. The context of this attack was for Al-Qaeda to persuade/force the American government to retract its military troops from Afghanistan. For that reason members from the Islamic extremist group hijacked 4 airplanes and then carried out suicide attacks against specific targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the  towers of the World Trade Center commonly known as the ‘Twin Towers’ in New York, a third plane hit the Pentagon and the last plane crashed in Pennsylvania. But what is the indicator here that turned the tides on terrorism and brought into a new era? I would say that it’s not just the fact that 3000 human beings lost their lives but rather, that these people were plain civilians. So we should note here that the first practical difference between old and new terrorism is the target group. While previous organizations focused mostly on hitting specific, military or political targets this kind of terrorism uses civilians as their primary hit-point. Another example would be the Paris attacks on November 2015 where the Islamic radical group ISIS, gunned down 130 people and injured another 368, in different spots. A second alteration of ‘new’ terrorism is its cause. As the previous paragraph explained we are currently in the radicalization of religion phase which means that for these people, through their religious dogma follows a cause that is not logical by any means. In our case Islamic fundamentalism seeks to rid the West from their Christian faith and create the great Islamic State, hence ISIS. That is exactly why this kind of terrorism is far more difficult to be dealt with. Another interesting characteristic of this new radical condition is its radius. Although this can also be found even earlier than 2001, it is safe to speculate that the new millennium brought with it the globalization era. That in turn, broadened Islamic terrorists grasp making them able to attack the US and most recently, with the tremendous influx of refugees taking up its toll on Europe, even countries such as France, Germany etc. On the other hand before globalization started overwhelming the international community, most organizations preferred keeping their groups intact in their own country whichwas their primary and only focus. The final point in the dialogue between past and present would be the structure of these organizations. On this particular point I would follow Laqueur’s argument that today’s terrorism disperses into small groups that tend to be more radical. Islamic fundamentalism has been practiced by different groups throughout Middle East with examples being Hamas, Al-Qaeda, ISIS etc. with the latter one having gained  influence in many different countries worldwide and dispatching small-people groups into different objectives. The older structures of terrorist organizations followed a more pyramid theme with a top to bottom mechanism. This in terms meant those who entered an organization of this kind followed a specific chain of command with specific leadership and different teams underneath the ‘head’ of the group. So as to summarize, the 4 key points that for some scholars, distinguish the past practices of terrorism from the more modern ones are: a) Target groups, b) Cause-Ideology, c) Radius and d) Structure.

    Conclusions

    As I mentioned before religious terrorism comes from a belief in a “supernatural” power that tends to make the believer think that he has a higher purpose. This purpose is naturally used as a method of justification for the numerous atrocities that we have witnessed over the years. In my opinion the problem with religious fundamentalism is that you cannot counter something illogical  by using logical means while on the other hand the states cannot and should not refrain from their rules and norms, turn into illogical “war-machines” and only focus on killing as many terrorists as they can. Jurgen Habermas said “Global terrorism is extreme both in its lack of realistic goals and in its cynical exploitation of the vulnerability of complex systems”. I would add that the international community should use and maybe learn from the mistakes of the past and perhaps use that lack of realism in order to influence people against terrorism. There is obviously something that makes a regular man that has a family and a job throw away his life and become a soldier of ISIS or any other terrorist organization and yet we haven’t got a clue of what this thing is. It is a mistake to think that these people are just savages that come from war-torn states and instead we should talk about the elephant in the room, that so many people from our civilized world which has no wars and enjoys democracy and its values tend to fall into a radicalization spiral with its only end being that of a suicide attack which will probably kill an greater number of plain civilians. If the International Community fails to find a way to diminish the constantly enlarging influence of terrorists on regular people then we are going to be stuck on that 4th wave for more than we can actually withstand.-

    Notes

    1)Schmid, .P Alex & MacAllister, Bradley “Theories of Terrorism” in Schmid, P Alex(ed.), “The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research”,Routledge,(2011)

    2) Abrahms, Max. "Lumpers versus Splitters: A Pivotal Battle in the Field of Terrorism Studies”. "The New Sociology of Terrorism” (2010).

    3)Rapoport, C David ‘‘The Four Waves of Modern Terrorism’’, in Audrey K. Cronin and James M. Ludes, eds., Attacking Terrorism: Elements of a Grand Strategy (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2004).

    4) Rasler, Karen & Thompson, R William ,Looking for Waves of Terrorism , Terrorism and Political Violence, 21:1, 28-41, (2009)

    5) Rapoport, C David eds. “Terrorism: Critical Concepts in Political Science 4 vols”(New York: Routledge, 2006)

    6) The literal meaning of Jihad is struggle. A struggle that is either the pursuing of a respectful religious life or the struggle for defending the Muslim society but for this article I’m using the “holy war” equivalent word.

    7)See Crenshaw, Martha., “The Debate over ‘New’ vs. ‘Old’ Terrorism, Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago,pp.1-5,2007

    8) Hoffman, Bruce, “Change and Continuity in Terrorism”, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Vol. 24, pp. 417-428, (2001)

     

    9) Kiras,James “Terrorism and Globalization” in Baylis,John. Smith,Sam. Owens,Patricia (eds) “The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations”,5th Edition, Oxford University Press,pp.509-514,(2011)