Preparing for the Future by Studying the Past

The Hellenic Community Worldwide (with the exception of Greece’s (mis)Education pasha Nikos Filis) remembers the infamous anniversary of the Pontian Genocide on May 19th. Like Alexander the Great at the Battle of the Granicus, who wrote the famous inscription “Alexander, son of Philip, and the Greeks except the Lacedaimonians…” to commemorate his historic victory, the Pontians are seeking to advance this pan-Hellenic expedition to Turkey’s recurring crimes of genocide, while committing the irreverent Filis to the ash heap of history. However, the key players in Greece’s present drama and their historic responsibilities regarding the Pontian Genocide cannot be ignored, either. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lost plenty of favor domestically and abroad with her continued servility towards Turkey and its neo-Ottoman sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Her continued disregard for European solidarity and lack of respect for Germany’s European “partners” (sic) in the interests of promoting her nation’s own personal agenda and making strategic inroads with Turkey is jeopardizing the very fabric of the European Union, just as her economic policy has done over the past decade.

Economically, the Turkish market has always been of great importance to Germany. Today, Germany collaborates with Turkey for the manufacturing of weapons, as well as in the industries of telecommunication, information, energy, as well as other areas. During World War II, a supposedly “neutral” Turkey was practically the sole supplier of chromium and nickel to the Nazis, which were significant supplies vital for high grade steel production. However, the courting of Turkey by Germany goes back to the 19th century. Following a personal visit to Constantinople by the Kaiser, Germany begins an investment program, eventually building and controlling all the railways in the country. It’s also worth reiterating that German General Otto Liman von Sanders was tabbed by the Young Turks to reorganize their military, sanctioned the Turkish atrocities against the Greeks and Armenians, and was subsequently arrested by British forces as a war criminal.

According to Turkish scholar Sait Çetinoglu, “Rosa Luxemburg, in her work The activities of German imperialism in Turkey wrote about the supreme economic and military interests of Germans in Turkey. The Ottoman lands were the main aims of the German imperialists. On this issue an important role was played by German banks. Along this line many propaganda instruments were devised such as the organization on November 8, 1898 of a ceremony in Damascus by the German Kaiser and his delegation, declaring that they were walking on the footsteps of Salahettin Eyubbi under the green flag of the Prophet to defend the Muslim community and gave an oath to this. “As Rosa Luxemburg said, the role undertaken by Germans to resurrect the Ottoman Empire was nothing more than to paint a dead man with make-up. The disclosure by Rosa Luxemburg that the construction of the Baghdad railway line during the First World War was based on the massacre of masses of people is an important statement to be emphasized. The role of Deutsche Bank has been crucial. The German officials had made great efforts to fanaticize the Muslims and Turks against the non-Muslim communities of the Empire after the Balkan Wars.

“The testimony of Dido Sotiriou on the role of the Deutsche Palestinian Bank is significant. This Bank printed brochures in Turkish saying that: ‘If we Turks are poor and suffering, the causes of this are the infidels (gavurs) who grasped the wealth from our hands. How long will we afford this? Do not buy their products and do not have any dealings with them. What do you expect from a friendship with them? Why are you offering them so much love and brotherhood.’”

More than anyone else, Greeks should be familiar with Thucydides’ view on the cyclical nature of history and his belief that man will continue to experience the same events over and over again so long as his nature remains unchanged. Despite two defeats in two world wars and almost half a century of division into two separate countries, it is rather apparent that Germany’s nature has not changed in the least. Those still advocating on behalf of the failed policies of the hated memorandums that have utterly annihilated the Greek economy, left a quarter of the population jobless, plunged over one-third below the poverty line, caused an unprecedented wave of suicides, and created a massive exodus of young people, had better think long and hard about Germany’s true intentions.

According to a recent article in the German newspaper Handelsblatt entitled “Lion Share of Greek Bailout Used to Pay Old Debts, Not Support Greek Budget, Study Finds,” the sleight of hand enacted by Greece’s lenders was worse than even Greeks had suspected. “Less than 5 percent of the €215.9 billion ($249.57 billion) Greece received as part of its first two bailout programs actually went into state coffers… The rest was used to pay off old debts, make interest payments and to recapitalize Greek banks, according to a new study by the European School of Management and Technology. Only €9.7 billion of the total sum went into the government budget, while €86.9 billion was used to service debt and €52.3 billion to make interest payments. A total of €37.3 billion in aid money was used to rescue Greek banks. Since the recapitalization program in 2013, Greek banks have lost about 98 percent of their market value. ‘The aid packages were first and foremost used to rescue European banks,’ ESMT President Jörg Rocholl told Handelsblatt. ‘The European taxpayers have bailed out the private investors,’ he added.”

And bearing in mind Thucydides’ view on history, Hellenes would also be wise to heed his advice: “concessions to adversaries only end in self reproach, and the more strictly they are avoided the greater will be the chance of security,” (Book 1.34). I suppose the same hold true for citizens’ relations with their political leaders…


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