The Minotaur of Fear and Vanity

Aris Petasis

Greek Politicians Commit Destructive National Acts

‘Solutions’ founded on explosive materials:

1.) The Zurich-London Agreements (1959) brought Turkey to Cyprus through the back door having left Cyprus some 80 years earlier when the occupation of Cyprus by the Ottomans ended in 1878 and Cyprus became a protectorate of Britain. Later, the island was annexed (on the outbreak of WWI) and finally turned into a Crown Colony of Britain (1925.) The Zurich-London Agreements were accepted by Greece’s two most senior politicians who proved to be out of their depth when negotiating with perfidious British diplomacy that, according to professor and former British Diplomat, William Mallinson, decided to involve Turkey in Cyprus – illegally as W. Mallinson notes, since Article Sixteen of the Treaty of Lausanne forbade Turkey from involvement in former Ottoman possessions. Britain colluded with Turkey in secrecy and succumbed to US pressure to start negotiations over the colony of Cyprus that in the end would at least guarantee the presence of British bases in a NATO-friendly Cyprus. The Greek negotiators signed the agreement with a smile and ludicrously boasted that they had finally “solved” the Cyprus problem when in fact they had agreed to give Turkey the right to invade Cyprus in the future. After that it was just a question of time until Turkey invaded Cyprus.

2.) The disastrous Agreement (1996) over the Imia islets (effectively, a Greco-Turkish co-sharing of the islets) ultimately turned Turkey into an aggressive Aegean Sea monster and left the Greeks huffing and puffing. Again, this agreement was signed by Greece’s two top politicians at the time. Instead of hanging their heads in shame for signing such a disastrous arrangement, the two came out bombastically declaring that the agreement was a Greek victory that had “solved” a national problem.  In reality, however, this agreement set in motion a disastrous sequence of events that culminated in tortuous experiences for the Greeks. Turkey is now violating Greece’s air-sea space with impunity and without fail.  Most outrageously, one of the two Greek negotiators at the time started playing smart; saying, “if anyone asks what happened to the Greek flat on Imia just tell him that it was blown away by the wind.”  With this “solution”, Greek hands manufactured the nuclear charges that would be planted against the future of Hellenism

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Common features between the Cyprus “Solution” and Imia “Solution” 

The two above “solutions” had the following common features:
(a) The Anglo-Americans were involved in both cases (Britain as the colonial power in the case of Cyprus, and the Americans in the case of Imia). They did so by claiming to be honest and friendly brokers. “We are here to help you”, they claimed.  In reality, of course, both of these countries were there to threaten the Greek side into accepting the Turkish demands because they saw Turkey as a more valuable strategic partner than Greece.

b.) In both cases the Greek side could have taken a more patriotic and robust position had the Anglo-Americans not been involved. With their involvement they encouraged Greek compliance and submissiveness and provided the Greek side with a fig leaf that allowed them to present a capitulation agreement as “the product of compromise and wisdom that was reached with the help of our ‘friends’ and supporters.”

c.) The intervention of third parties in favor of Turkey magnified, in the mind of the Greek politicians, their feeling of inferiority as losers that were facing the neo-Ottomans who were their masters for four centuries. The Greek side felt an inferiority complex in the presence of a powerful America and the intimidating titles of “Sir” and “Lord” the British politicians brought with them to the negotiations.

d.) In both cases the Greek side operated under the rule of paralytic fear because foreign politicians and local “internationalist-modernizers” convinced them that as exemplary realists they ought to tremble before Turkey.  Anglo-American support for Turkey increased the fear syndrome and caused confusion in the minds of Greece’s representatives to the point of making them celebrate an illusionary “solution” when in fact they had just triggered the next deadly plot against Hellenism.

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e.) The Zurich-London “solution” gave invasion rights to Turkey and opened the door to Turkish barbarism.  After a NATO-inspired coup in Cyprus, Turkey invaded the island militarily (1974) and occupied 37% of the land and 54% of the coastline of Cyprus. What’s worse, Turkish troops killed 2% of the Greek male population and expelled 200,000 Greeks from their homes. It was a dream come true for Turkey.  And now the problem continues unchecked as a result of amateur and submissive handling by the Greek Cypriot side that celebrates every capitulation in negotiations as “victory” and “progress.” It seems that by creating illusions, the devil throws dust in the eyes of defeatists and makes them see capitulation as victory. We are now at the point where Turkey is demanding total control of Cyprus, plus military bases, plus the right of free movement and settlement of 80,000,000 Turks in tiny Cyprus. As a result of Greek concessions over Imia in 1996 Turkey now claims as hers 17 Greek islets and questions Greece’s right over hundred others. Not to mention Turkish claims over Kastelorizo and even Rhodes!

f.) In both cases, Greek politicians fell victim to vanity and flattery reminding us of Minna Thomas Antrim’s saying,”«between flattery and admiration there often flows a river of contempt.” They were flattered by comments such as “you are major political figures” and “world-class statesmen” and “the voice of reason.” The praise that was heaped on them was hallucinatory.  They were promised Nobel peace prizes and they fell for this nonsense.

Dreadful decisions which inevitably lead to future catastrophes are not the sole prerogative of politicians. Sometimes voters take decisions at the voting booth that ultimately destroy the future of their own country. The best example that comes to mind is the treatment of Eleftherios Venizelos at the hands of the Greek voters in 1920 when he was voted out of office at the most victorious time for him and Greece. The outcome of this election ensured the catastrophe of Asia Minor and spelled the end of the 4000-year-long presence of Greeks there. Venizelos had secured the Treaty of Sèvres that gave the Greeks all they demanded. He had cultivated amazingly fruitful relations with the British and the French that in many ways ensured the support of these two countries for the Greek cause. Admittedly, Venizelos was controversial, too close to the British for many, and his opponents hated him with a vengeance. But he was certainly the man of the hour. Instead of welcoming him back as a hero, Greek voters fell victim to the passions at the time and treated him with immense ungratefulness. His achievements were not enough to save him from defeat in the 1920 general election that contributed immensely to the disaster that befell the Greeks in Asia Minor soon after.

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Capitulation as convergence  

The incompetent behavior of Greek politicians over the Cyprus and Imia issues is being repeated today in Cyprus more intensely. The negotiations for a Bizonal-Bicommunal-Federation (whatever that title means!) has been torturing Cyprus for 43 years with no end in sight with each Greek Cypriot concession propagandized as “progress” and “convergence”, when in reality each concession lays the foundations for the next Greek calamity.