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Greek-Americans on the Greek-Turkish Crisis: Greece Must Be Ready for Anything

September 1, 2020

TAMPA, FL – Greek-Americans across the United States offered their thoughts to The National Herald on the current situation between Greece and Turkey. Many noted that serious games are being played in the Aegean and in the Eastern Mediterranean and that Greece must be ready for anything due to the delinquent behavior of Turkey while European support for Athens seems to be in words only, and Greece must not succumb to Ankara's blackmail for talks.

The honorary president and benefactor of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, Vasilios Stathakos, noted that "Turkey has been manipulating situations for a long time.”

He added, "It makes claims and internationalizes its claims, in order to reach a result that serves its interests. That is, it tries to drag Greece into negotiations with its own agenda on all issues."

Stathakos pointed out that Turkey is considered a force by the great powers. "And we see, unfortunately, that Europe is showing apathy, but the United States is not acting as it should," he added. "Support for Greece should not be shown in words, but in deeds. I am afraid that in the end we may be wronged once again.”

The president of the Houston, TX-based Hellenic Cultural Center of the Southwest and a founding member of the World Hellenic Diaspora, Yannis Remediakis, said, “It’s hard for me to understand how someone comes to my house and tells me he wants to discuss taking half of my house. I do not give him an inch, nor do I accept a discussion. The big powers are pushing us into conversations. They play their own game. The Turks came from the depths of Asia and by doing so always create problems for their neighbors. Why should they change now? The European Union has economic interests. NATO is a painful story. Its leader said that Turkey and Greece must figure things out on their own. Big games are being played. Greeks must stand tall against any challenge. We must leave our inner squabbles, unite and support the homeland financially and in every way we can.”

Former president of the Panlaconian Federation Terry Tsafatinos, who lives in Clearwater, FL, said that Turkey has always intended in its history to acquire by force things that belong to others. He continued, "Ankara is blackmailing once again, in order to acquire something that does not belong to it. Hellenism and the free world must react. We have nothing to negotiate with the Turks, because the islands are ours. Germany, which says it wants to help, would do well to give Greece the war reparations it owes. Chancellor Merkel must look after the interests of the members of the European Union. Since the Turks are talking about a 'Blue Homeland,’ then let them give us back Constantinople and let us give them a piece of the sea.”

Federation of Hellenic American Societies of New England President Vasilios Kafkas said that President Erdogan, because there is a negative political climate for him in his country, is trying to draw the attention of the Turks to the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. He noted that "Turkey is a big country and NATO sees it differently than Greece. As for the attitude of Germany, let us take into account that a few million Turks live there. The European Union is trying to seduce Ankara, but to no avail. It should, if Greece is a member, treat it that way, while Turkey is not a member. I believe that in the end Erdogan will be punished by the Turks themselves."

Panayis Mitoulis, former President of Pan-Macedonian Association USA and Canada and founder and honorary president of the Alexander the Great International Foundation, who resides in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, said Erdogan "is trying to break the Greek to get what he wants.” Mitoulis is not afraid of a hot episode in the Aegean. "But Greece must be ready for anything," he noted, adding that “the Turks have always done the same, so we must not fall into their trap. Europe is just words. Germany has never supported us. The Turks are a big market for them, but so far the United States support is just words. I'm afraid we're alone. Erdogan is pushing Greece to put it at the negotiating table, where, if we go in fear, he will ask for everything."

Former president of the Panhellenic Federation of Florida John Kokkolakis, who lives in Duniden, FL, was in favor of a more decisive stance of the Greek side which must, as he said, "take the Turks out of the areas of Greek sovereignty.” He believes that the European Union is not harsh with Turkey, believing that the latter is stronger, and that Germany reacts only with words and not with deeds, because it has interests from the Turks. "This is how the Turks have always been," said Kokkolakis. “Venizelos had put them in their place. Our allies must react. Unfortunately, his close friendship with U.S. President Trump gave Erdogan great courage.”

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