[ Philhellenic
Perspective ]
[ Febuary 1997 ]

Special issue: We review a number of articles about Greece that have appeared recently in a variety of publications.
For each of the articles, I report the author's views. The authors are not responsible for the summary I made of their argument, and I'm not responsible for the accuracy of their arguments, but I've tried to pick interesting and credible articles, and to make an honest summary of their views.
[ Choose to proceed ] In this issue:


Tozun Bahcheli & Nicholas X. Rizopoulos, "The Cyprus Impasse: What Next?", World Policy Journal, Winter 1996/97, pp. 27-39

The authors, on staff at King's College, University of Western Ontario, and at the Council on Foreign Relations, respectively, offer a summery review of the Cyprus impasse and suggestions on how to unlock it. The article written after the murders on the Green line, but before the missile crisis of January 1997, points to the tangled history of the conflict.

They draw attention to the role played not by external forces (Athens and Ankara) but internal ones over the years, arguing that outside intervention has often been provoked or at least justified by the inability of Cypriots to resolve their differences. They point to Makarios' call for enosis with Greece in the 50s, the inability of local leaders to work out constitutional differences in the early 60s, the pressure from extreme nationalists that kept the enosis idea alive in the late 60s down to the actions of a few hot-heads in the present crisis as examples. Of course, external factors, most notably the Turkish invasion of 1974, certainly have created problems, but the authors want to deny that such events are the totality of the underlying problem.

They suggest that external forces affecting the island are not likely to produce movement. The end of the cold war takes superpower attention away from the island, and introduced new areas of fragmentation in the region of Cyprus. The long standing world opposition to division of communities is declining, and there is more willingness to allow ethnic groups to set up separate political entities, suggesting that more outside observers might be content with a 'two-Cyprus' solution. Strains on the UN peacekeeping budget reduce the interest in keeping a more or less permanent presence on Cyprus.

And while various Greeks hope that bringing external pressure to bear on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community will produce movement, the authors fear this hope is misguided. While Turkey faces problems with its budget, balance of payments, inflation, growing friction with Syria and Russia, the Kurish rebellion and world focus on its human rights record, these problems have produced less anxiety in Ankara than Greeks might hope. No Turkish government could afford to be seen as 'abandoning' its brethren on the island. Indeed, elements of the Turkish government may regard the crises as effectively solved already, and see no reason to work for any change.

Thus the authors say that a solution is up to the respective ethnic communities on the island. And here while Denktash is seen as the obstacle by Greeks, and Clerides as the middle-of-the-road moderate, the authors point to a paradox: Denktash has the stature with the Turkish community to be above local politics and thus may be able to sell a compromise to his people. On the other hand, Clerides has never enjoyed the kind of universal popularity and status of Denktash, and might have trouble selling a compromise from his weaker political position.

More paradox: the economic embargo on the Turkish northern region contributes to the inequality of the economies of the two communities and this growing inequality feeds the concern of average Turkish Cypriots that a re-unified country would mean their absorption as second class citizens into an effectively Greek-run economy.

As with many conflicts is issue boils down, say the authors, to the willingness of leaders to run short-term risks for long-term benefits. Can the Greek Cypriots and the Greek government guarantee enough of the economic pie to the Turkish Cypriots, that the Turkish Cypriots will be able to accept a unified overall government for the island? Can the Turkish Cypriots accept freedom of movement for all the island residents so that the Greeks can offer a looser sort of federation for a governing structure?

The authors suggest that the rank and file population of both communities is growing in its frustration with the impasse and willing to make compromises for peace and relative unity. The question is if the leaders are equally willing.

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Greek Social Welfare Institutions

Maria, Petmesidou, "Social Protection in Greece: A Brief Glimpse of a Welfare State", Social Policy & Administration, vol 30:4, December 1996, pp. 324-347

The author, a Sociology professor at the University of Crete, examines the historical reasons for the delayed and imperfect development of state-run social welfare polices in Greece as contrasted with Western Europe.

Various health systems, pension systems, etc. are not uniform or universal in Greece and vary dramatically by sector of the economy. Witness the recent row over farmer's pensions, which apparently can be adjusted without reference to anyone else's pensions.

She points to the association of such welfare programs (state organized health care, pensions, unemployment insurance, etc.) with industrialization, and the mass action arising from industrialized workers. In Greece, the economy never developed the extensive industrial base, and instead is transitioning, to some extent, directly from an agriculturally based economy to a post-industrial service economy. The percentage of workers in industry peaked at 28% in 1981 and has actually been declining since then. By contrast 47% of workers are self-employed, the highest percentage in Europe. This fragmentation does not lend itself to mass agitation for collective social welfare institutions.

Another factor, according to Prof. Petmesidou, lies in the clientist nature of the political process where government benefits are often extended to favored clients on a quasi-political basis involving such things as tolerating the illegal use of public land, or ignoring widespread tax-evasion. This clientist orientation impedes the development of uniform and public policies.

European integration will produce even more strains on this system, she predicts, since the immediate pressure that integration produces is a focus on fiscal policy and a reduction of government welfare programs.

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Does Terrorism Affect Foreign Investment?

Walter Enders & Todd Sandlen, "Terrorism and Foreign Direct Investment in Spain and Greece," Kyklos, Vol 49:3 p. 331+, 1996

This econometric paper attempts to quantify the effect of terrorism on the amount of foreign investment flowing into these two countries. Terrorist incidents have a number of effects, such as on tourism, for example, but here they are testing for this one effect on foreign investment.

Data sets of foreign investment and number of terrorist incidents were used. For Greece, terrorism came from the November 17 organization, and from a split off group, the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA). Together they caused between 0 and 20 incidents per year from the 1970s through the early 1990s. While there was no simple trend, incidents peaked in the years of 1977, 1980-82, 1986, 1990-91.

A very careful analysis using sophisticated time series analysis techniques was carried out to determine that terrorism likely caused an 11.9% reduction in foreign direct investment. The reaction to terrorism lagged the incidents by 1 to 2 years they found. They project the amount of foreign investment if there had been no terrorism, and speculate that while there still would have been a leveling off in the early 1980s (due to government policy climate in PASOK's early years?) it would have leveled off at a higher level and resumed an upward trend earlier than it did.

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The American Red Cross in Greece after WW I

Dimitra Giannuli, "American Philanthropy in Action: The American Red Cross in Greece, 1918-1923," East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 10:1, Winter 1996, p. 108+.

This article presents a history of the involvement of the American Red Cross (ARC) in bringing humanitarian aid to Greece in the time period.

The author points out that the post-WWI situation differs from the post-WW II situation in that troops were recalled to the United States quicker, and the United States government quickly resumed an isolationist position rather than the aggressive expansion of influence that occurred after WWII. As a consequence the work of volunteer organizations like the ARC assumed a larger presence in shaping attitudes of Greeks to America.

Work in Greece and the Balkans was essentially the first overseas commitment for the ARC. Initial involvement in Greece came in response to the Soliniaka fire of August 18, 1917, and expanded into work with refugees from WW I in the period 1918-1920. Most of the ARC work was in Eastern Macedonia and involved standard humanitarian work including restocking hospitals depleted by the war and responding to the typhus epidemic of 1919. Notable was a significant involvement of Greek personal in the work.

By 1920 the ARC was winding up this work and preparing to withdraw. However the first indications of a different refugee problem - those from Turkey - was already apparent and involved some work on Aegean islands.

In 1922, in response to an appeal by the Greek government, the ARC came back in force to work with the flood of refugees caused by the war with Turkey. Starvation and epidemics were threatened by the massive influx of refugees, as for example, there being 35,000 refugees on Chios compared to 30,000 residents in January of 1923.

The author reports that while relations at the local level appear to have gone smoothly, as far as the evidence indicates, there were significant struggles between the Greek government and the ARC as to the organization of the overall effort. In 1923, in an early example of "donor fatigue", fund raising in America for the work in the Aegean fell short, and the ARC decided to wind up their work, over the protest of the Greek government.

The ARC distributed 24,000 tons of food, clothing and medicines, at a cost of $2,600,000 (1923 dollars). At times the ARC was feeding as many as 500,000 refugees on a daily basis.

Despite certain frictions, the scope and urgency of the ARC work created good feelings between Americans and Greeks and left a signficant positive impression of America in Greece.

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Academic Libraries

Pashalis Raptis & Anestis Sitas, "Academic Libraries in Greece: A new perspective," Libri, vol. 46:2, June 1996, p. 100+

The author conducted a survey of libraries at Greek institutions of higher learning. These 20 academic institutions had 182 thousand students and their libraries had a total collection of 2.7 million volumes and 17 thousand serials (including duplicates).

The bulk of the article is a institution by institution survey. He does provide some overall comments. He indicates that the lack of trained library personal, while easing, is still a problem. The only school of librarianship in Greece opened just in 1980. Of the 256 employees of the various libraries, 3 had Ph. Ds., 6 had Masters of Library Science, 102 a library science degree. This percentage of library science holders had increased since a 1990 survey. Further, there is a history that specialty libraries had a head with training in the specialty, not in library management (ie. a medical library being run by a Doctor).

He indicates, rather briefly, that historically, libraries were not a priority of academic institutions, even to there being no specific place planned for a central library when the institutions were built. While he regards Greek libraries as inadequate to their contemporary tasks, he sees there being growth and expansion in the 90's in contrast to the "static" period of the 80s.

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Coming Up Next Time

Look for the next issue to appear about April 1st. See you then.

Philhellenic Perspective

is published six times a year by John P. Nordin who is solely responsible for its contents. You may reproduce this material, in whole or in part provided you provide proper acknowledgement of the source, and you don't distort the content. [ Top of the Page ]

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