Monday, May 27, 2024
More
    HomeOpinionsOpinion: Greek Prime Minister's Speech to Congress

    Opinion: Greek Prime Minister’s Speech to Congress

    Brief History of US-Greece Relations: A response to Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his address to the joint meeting of Congress in the US capital, Washington, celebrating 200 years of partnership between Greece and the United States.

    By Mustafa Niyazi

    “There is no greater honour for the elected leader of the people who created the Republic, than addressing the elected representatives of the people who founded his country on the Greek model and then promotes and defends the nations secular values.”

    This is what our right honourable friend, the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said during an impassioned and historically revisionist address to the United States Congress in May of this year.

    In that address, he also openly called Cyprus Greek and aired a number of baseless accusations against democratic NATO ally Turkey, as well as lobbied the US Congress to impose sanctions on them.

    Opinion: Greek Prime Minister's Speech to Congress 1
    Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressing Congress in Washington, U.S.A., Tuesday, 17 May 2022. (Image: GETTY)

    But with all due respect, Mr. Mitsotakis, some of these points you’re making really need to be thoroughly addressed.

    First of all, about your claim that the modern Greek people created the Republic model, and that the United States of America was founded on that model.

    I’m afraid I have a bubble to burst.

    Greece is not that model.

    The Greeks, ancient or modern, are not the people who conceived, designed or created that model.

    The modern Greeks are not the ancestors or inheritors of that model.

    The modern Greeks did not influence the adoption of that model.

    And the modern Greeks do not implement that model, let alone these secular values or the substances of popular sovereignty, inalienable rights and inherent natural rights for all.

    But to truly understand this, as well as what is inherently wrong with other parts of this speech, one needs to first have a basic understanding of modern Greek and American history, with a good honest dose of matter-of-fact scrutiny.

    Opinion: Greek Prime Minister's Speech to Congress 2
    Proclamation of American Independence, which was “to notify… all the good citizens of these United States” that the Treaty had been ratified, and that American independence was assured. (Image: Paris Broadside Collection MSA SC 5787)

    America has existed circa 1776, as a free, democratic, constitutional republic, while their origins can be traced to the thirteen British colonies that were established during the 17th and early 18th centuries in what is now a part of the eastern United States.

    Modern Greece has existed circa 1830 as a foreign-ruled kingdom slave to feuding warlords and religious schisms, despotic oligarchies, totalitarian regimes, fascist military dictatorships, while their origins can be traced to the philhellenic movements during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

    It is not surprising to remember, that it is in fact the Greeks who were influenced by the enlightenment movements of the West and American democracy, as well as the secular values of British Parliamentary Democracy, one of the most dominant governmental systems in our world today.

    Now you might be very well inclined to say you disagree with this, without looking into it any further, we all know the stories and myths of the ancient Greeks, I would also certainly have my own from-the-hip response to this.

    But in keeping to extreme brevity: the modern Greeks are not the ancient Greeks, and modern Greece is not ancient Greece. A topic we might well return to.

    Then there’s the paradigm of “models” and “values”.

    I don’t know about you, but to have so strongly admired and based its foundations on the “Greek model” and “values”, the US certainly fell short of one vital criteria: they pre-date the modern Greeks. Substantially.

    The US also sure took its time to recognise their independence, 7 whole years at the time in 1837, and even longer to establish diplomatic relations, 38 years to be exact, in 1868.

    But maybe we’re going a little too fast.

    Let’s take a step back and not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

    Any discussion on this topic would also have to coincide with a discussion on the ancient Anatolian origins of the US Congress.

    What am I talking about you ask?

    As Edward Rowe accurately remarks, notable American Founding Fathers and signatories of the iconic document took inspiration from the Luwian language speaking Lycian people who had historically inhabited the mountainous area known as Likya (Lycia), between the bays of Antalya and Fethiye on Turkey’s southern coast.

    Opinion: Greek Prime Minister's Speech to Congress 3
    View of the exterior of the restored Council Chamber (Bouleuterion) at the ruins of the parliament in Patara (Lycian ??????), considered the world’s first elected government. (Image: Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany. Source: Wikipedia. Original: Flickr. Taken on 30 March 2013)

    But does that mean America has its foundations solely in Turkey?

    Not quite.

    The ancient Romans had the original republic, which the Founding Fathers of the United States took a great deal of inspiration from.

    The idea of popular sovereignty, the substance of the theory of inalienable rights and inherent natural rights, and the principals of independence and the consent of the governed, though expressed in different terms, came from a combination of the positive echoes of the Magna Carta, the charter of liberty and political rights obtained by the English people in 1215, the Dutch when as early as 26 July 1581, they declared their independence from Philip of Spain, the British assertion of the same principles in their long struggle with the house of Stuarts, which culminated in the creation of the Bill of Rights, the seminal document of British constitutional practice, in 1689.

    From each of these cases the Americans were inspired to the idea of sovereignty through divine right being displaced by sovereignty through the consent of the people.

    This is the clear inference of inalienable rights that led to the creation of the American Constitution.

    The US Congress, the Constitution, the Republic… in not a single one of these cases was ancient Athenian democracy, the origin of modern Greek claims, a factor.

    But do you know your American history, Mr. Mitsotakis?

    Let’s not stop there.

    You also repeated that popular modern Greek myth that Cyprus is a Greek island, expanding your assertions and opinions to the Eastern Mediterranean, no doubt another substance of Greece’s insatiable desire for aggressive expansionism.

    Opinion: Greek Prime Minister's Speech to Congress 4
    The Girne (Kyrenia) Beşparmak mountain range, in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), daubed with the Turkish Cypriot flag and a quote by the Republic of Turkey’s late founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, “Ne Mutlu Türküm Diyene” (English: “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk”), overlooking the capital Lefkoşa (Nicosia) and clearly visible from the south of the island. (Image: AFP Photo / Amir MAKAR)

    But my right honourable friend, I trust you know exactly what this flag is, as well as where it is, and just who and what it represents.

    One might also need reminding at this point that never in the history of any country has Cyprus ever been Greek, or had political continuity with any Greek state, modern or otherwise.

    Cyprus has also never been owned, ruled, governed or dominated by any Greek speaking population living on the island, in any part of history, and they had always existed alongside whoever else was already there and actually did.

    And yes, predominantly throughout its history, the island has had a mixed presence, including Anatolian, Levantine, Syrian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Mycenean, Phoenician, Tyrian, Dorian, Persian, Macedonian, Roman, Arab, Frankish, Turkish, Latin… the ancient Greeks have clearly been a part of that presence here and there, to varying extents… and they were the ones who were assimilated into the local populace and culture, not the other way round… even the Ottoman period bore no exception to this truth…

    And yes, the bi-communal republic of 1960-1963 which the modern Greeks shared with the Turks, but then illegally occupied in 1963, leading to their regime being confined to the south of the island circa 1974 and awaiting a solution to the Cyprus Problem, only further highlights their own errors and shortcomings.

    Let there be no perplexity or obfuscation, that this continental island of Turkey has been Turkish for almost 500 years, historically, de facto and de jure, albeit with an interrupted history in terms of administration and governance, and it has seen the purveyance of Turkic culture and customs since the 11th and 12th centuries AD, the municipal structure and autonomy guaranteed to the Turkish Cypriots in the 1960 constitution being symbolic of these almost 1000 years of Turkification.

    And no degradations of the Cyprus Problem to a minority-majority dichotomy along ethnic discriminatory lines, or attempts to say the Turks have no right to Cyprus, which is baseless, meaningless, archaic and unenlightened, does anything to change these facts.

    Now, also considering it might perhaps be unfair of me to respond to your proud digressions to a region hundreds of miles away from your country, perhaps it would also be worth taking this back home and asking how well you know your Greek history?

    As you have opened just enough for a peeking-hole view of your personal Pandora’s box, let’s just lift the lid entirely and view your prejudiced assertions parallel to their compatriot parent, that is, the other claim you made that the Greeks are the foundation and cornerstone of all western civilisation.

    Opinion: Greek Prime Minister's Speech to Congress 5
    Greece. The Cradle of Western Civilisation by Claudia Martin (ISBN 978-1-78274-975-2), published by Amber Books Ltd. It is described by the Daily Mail as taking “the reader from antiquity to modernity” in a “photographic exploration of the country that gave birth to Western democracy”, “for a deeper understanding of Greece”. But is Greece really the cradle of western civilisation?

    You also tie into your discourse that age-old falsely irredentist lie, that complex that the Greeks have a right and claim to anything even rhetorically relatable to ancient Greece, and anyone who has set foot where a Greek has or goes will, as you will no doubt also enthusiastically exalt, become a true Greek.

    After all, the same justifications were used for the atrocities in the Morea, Thessaly, Macedonia, Eastern and Western Thrace, Bulgaria, Crete, Anatolia and Cyprus, and where the support of great powers, including the United States, were repeatedly coerced and manipulated with political expedience and lies, leading them to falsely believe they were doing something moral and necessary for the peace and protection of certain religious or ethnic denominations… a true justification for invasion, occupation, ethnic cleansing, war, wanton death and destruction, genocide…

    The cradle of western civilisation indeed.

    Here is a brief historical timeline of the land where modern Greece currently stands, to help you put the contemporary history of your country into perspective:

    • Roman Greece (31 BC – 1460 AD)
    • Ottoman Turkish Greece (1460-1832)
    • Russian Instigated Orlov Revolt (1770)
    • Philhellenism Founded in Europe, Influenced by Orlov Revolt (1789–1792)
    • Philhellenes Sought French Support (1793)
    • Puristic Language Conceived (Late-18th Century)
    • Start of Greek Revolution Declared (23 February / 25 March 1821)
    • War Declared on the Turks in Mani, Simova (modern day Areopoli) (17 March 1821)
    • Kalamata Massacre (23 March 1821)
    • War Declared on the Turks in Psara, Spetses and Hydra (April-May 1821)
    • Revolt Instigated in Milies (Pilion) (7 May 1821)
    • Revolt Instigated on Crete (Mid-May 1821)
    • Peloponnesian Senate Founded (26 May 1821)
    • War Declared on the Turks in Kalarites and Syrrako (25 June 1821)
    • Tripolitsa Massacre (23 October 1821)
    • Senate of Eastern Continental Greece Founded (4 November 1821)
    • Arta Massacre (13 November 1821)
    • Independence Declared (15 January 1822)
    • War Declared on the Turks in Veroia and Naoussa (February 1822)
    • Invaded Chios (2 March 1822)
    • Instigated Chios Revolt (March 1822)
    • The First Hellenic Republic (1822–1832)
    • Capital Established in Nafplio (1829)
    • Independence Recognised (3 February 1830)
    • Otto’s Despotic & Oligarchic Monarchy Installed (1831)
    • Kingdom of Greece Established (1832)
    • Village of Athens Declared New Capital (18 September 1834)
    • Policy of De-Romanization and De-Turkification Accelerated (1830s)
    • US Recognised Greek Independence (9 November 1837)
    • Anti-Monarchy Insurrection & Revolt (1 February 1862)
    • George I’s Monarchy Anti-Democratically Installed (30 March 1863)
    • Greece Became Crowned Republic (1864)
    • Ceded Ionian Islands by Britain (1864)
    • US Established Diplomatic Relations (1868)
    • Applied Concept of Parliamentary Majority (1875)
    • Ceded Thessaly by Ottomans (1881)
    • Public Insolvency Declared (1893)
    • The Greek Language Dispute (Early-19th Century)
    • Greek Theatre Was Born (Early-19th Century)
    • Greek Military Coup (August 1909)
    • Ceded Epirus, Macedonia, Crete and TurkAgeaen Islands (1913)
    • Turkish Revolution in Western Thrace (then part of Bulgaria, c. 1912) (31 August 1913)
    • Independent Turkish Government of Western Thrace Declared (25 September 1913)
    • Bulgarian Occupation of Western Thrace (25-30 October 1913)
    • Western Thrace Occupied by France (1918)
    • Ceded Western Thrace by Bulgaria (1919)
    • Western Thrace Annexed by Greece (1920)
    • Ceded Eastern Thrace and Ionia by Treaty of Sevres (1920)
    • Lost Eastern Thrace and Ionia by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)
    • Monarchy Toppled by Turkey (25 March 1924)
    • Military Dictatorship (1925 – 1926)
    • Ethnic Cleansing Campaign in Western Thrace (1928-1950)
    • Venizelist Revolt Against Democracy (March 1935)
    • Metaxas Totalitarian Single-Party Regime (4 August 1936 – 23 April 1941)
    • Nazi Occupation (April 1941 – October 1944)
    • Greek Civil War (1944 – 1949)
    • Ceded Dodecanese by Italy (1947)
    • Socialism Outlawed (1947)
    • Economic Miracle (US Grants & Loans) (1950s and 1960s)
    • Orchestrated Coup in Cyprus (21 December 1963)
    • Regime of Colonels (21 April 1967 – 20 July 1974)
    • Transition to Pseudo-Democracy (1973-2009)
    • Abolition of Monarchy (1 June 1973)
    • Bloody Suppression of Athens Polytechnic Uprising (17 November 1973)
    • Invaded Cyprus & Installed Puppet Regime (15 July 1974)
    • Fascist Military Dictatorship Toppled by Turkey (20 July 1974)
    • Third Hellenic Republic (24 July 1974)
    • Withdrew from NATO Over Resentment for Turkey (14 August 1974)
    • Illegal Occupation of Cyprus Contained to the Island’s South (16 August 1974)
    • Current Constitution (11 June 1975)
    • Current (Dimotiki) Language Adopted (1976)
    • Turkey Allowed Greece to Re-join NATO (19 October 1980)
    • Greece Joined the EU and EEC (1 January 1981)
    • Introduced Policy of Ethnic Cleansing Against Turks in Western Thrace (1983)
    • Barred Turkish MPs from Government (1990)
    • The Komotini events (29 January 1990)
    • Deprived 60,000 Predominantly Turkish Muslims of Citizenship (1955-1998)
    • Blackmailed the EU into accepting Cyprus (2004)
    • Policy of Abusive Migrant Pushbacks (2008 – 2022)
    • Economic Crisis & Bailout from Western States (2009)
    • Oligarchic Dictatorship (2009-2019)

    One only needs to look at this simple yet turbulent history to understand, and I’m stunned to have to point out this very important fact, but a path that needs treading in the search of answers about modern Greek history and influence around the globe is that of empirical reason.

    Where is yours?

    To quote the wise words of the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk:

    1. “To write history is as important as to make history. It is an unchanging truth that if the writer does not remain true to the maker, then it takes on a quality that will confuse humanity.”
    2. “The biggest battle is the war against ignorance.”

    They may say ignorance is bliss but that is only short lived. Those who refuse to open their eyes to everything that goes on around them will always contribute to the ruin of societies.

    People need to open their minds and start accepting the truth as it is.

    That includes you too, Mr. Mitsotakis.

    Bibliography:

    (1) The Greek language question was a major dispute on whether the official language of Greece should be the archaic Katharevousa, created in the late-18th century and used as the official state and scholarly language, or the Dimotiki, the form of the Greek language which evolved naturally from the Greek languages spoken in the Eastern Roman Empire and was the language of the people. This was resolved when Dimotiki was made the only official variation of the Greek language.

    (2) Other modern Greek languages today include The Pontic dialect which came to Greece from Asia Minor. The Cappadocian dialect which is endangered and is barely spoken now. The Tsakonian dialect, which derives from Doric Greek instead of Koine Greek.

    (3) It is perhaps shameful, yet never dutifully admitted, that it was not until the subsequent Nazi invasion and occupation of Greece, followed by the surrender of the Metaxas regime, that the totalitarian regime was finally put to an end, only to be replaced by a new regime of German-origin.

    (4) It is similarly interesting to note that it was the Turkish Intervention against the Greek Invasion of Cyprus, triggering a political crisis in Greece, which led to the regime’s collapse and the restoration of democracy through Metapolitefsi, and led to the promulgation of the current democratic and republican constitution, as well as the choice to not restore the monarchy. This was just 5 decades after the Turkish War of Independence also had the effect of triggering events which led to the collapse of the monarchy.

    (5) Otto’s monarchy was overthrown on 23 October 1862. From 19 November 1862 a plebiscite in Greece was held in support of adopting Prince Alfred of the United Kingdom, later Duke of Edinburgh, as king. The results were announced in February 1863. Of the 240,000 votes reported, over 95% were in favour of the appointment. The previous king, Otto, who had been deposed in a popular revolt, received one vote. There were six votes for a Greek candidate and 93 for a Republic. Despite the apparently overwhelming result, the Great Powers of Britain, France and Russia refused to permit any member of their respective royal families to accept the Greek throne. Eventually, Prince William of Denmark, who had received six votes in the referendum, was appointed as the new “King of the Hellenes”, assuming the name George I.

    (6) The Second Hellenic Republic, known officially as the Hellenic Republic, saw some of the most important historical events in modern Greek history emerge; from Greece’s first military dictatorship, to the short-lived democratic form of governance that followed. It began after the fall of the monarchy was proclaimed by the country’s parliament on 25 March 1924, a direct result of their humiliating defeat during the Greek Invasion of Turkey and the Turkish War of Independence, also referred to by the Greeks as the Anatolian Disaster. The Second Hellenic Republic was abolished on 10 October 1935, and its abolition was confirmed by referendum on 3 November of the same year which is widely accepted as having been mired with electoral fraud. The fall of the Republic eventually paved the way for Greece to become a totalitarian single-party state, when Ioannis Metaxas established the 4th of August Regime in 1936, lasting until the Axis occupation of Greece in 1941.

    (7) Since its founding at the expense of the Ottoman Turkish people and their historical heartlands and territories, the modern state of Greece has been involved in multiple wars and conflicts, violated the sovereignty of other nations, hyped up tensions, and caused brutal revolts often built on the back of religious crusades and ethnic cleansing campaigns, as well as participated in genocides with neighbouring allies, often with the enlisted support of malignly connived at and misled nations, most nominally the great powers of Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States. These include: the procurement of the Ioanian Islands from Britain (1864), the instigated Cretan Revolt (1866–1869), the annexation of Thessaly (1881), the First Greco-Turkish War, also known as the 30-Day War (1897), the de facto annexation of Crete (1908), the Balkan Wars (1912 – 1913), the annexation of Epirus, Macedonia, the Aegean Islands & Crete (1913), the Second Greco-Turkish War (May 1919 – October 1922), the annexation of Western Thrace (1919), the annexation of the 12 Dodecanese islands (1947), the occupation of Cyprus (December 1963), the invasion of Cyprus (15 July 1974), the occupation of south Cyprus (16 August 1974)…

    (8) Edward Rowe. The Anatolian origins of the US Congress. T-Vine. 8 November 2018. https://www.t-vine.com/the-anatolian-origins-of-the-us-congress/

    (9) The Romans viewed their republic in contrast to what had existed earlier: monarchy or rule by a king

    (10) This philosophy of independence in the Americas was further reiterated in the assertion of the Rev. Thomas Hooker of Connecticut as early as 1638, when he said in a sermon before the General Court that: “The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people. The choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God’s own allowance.” And again in what John Wise was writing in 1710, when he said: “Every man must be acknowledged equal to every man.” “The end of all good government is to cultivate humanity and promote the happiness of all and the good of every man in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, honor, and so forth…” “For as they have a power every man in his natural state, so upon combination they can and do bequeath this power to others and settle it according as their united discretion shall determine.”

    (11) The foundations of the attempt to depose an undesirable king, of daring to change relations between the monarch and the various estates of the realm, and the forerunner of the doctrine of equality and the “best ideas of democracy”, came from Simon de Montfort’s Parliament in 1265 to the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, and the British Parliamentary democracy it gave birth to.

    (12) The doctrine of equality and the “best ideas of democracy” was later partially realised in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which became the forerunner to the US Declaration of Rights, prepared by George Mason and presented to the general assembly on 27 May 1776.

    (13) Tatian is Latin for Tatianus, meaning “honourable”. Tatian of Adiabene, or Tatian the Syrian or Tatian the Assyrian, was a Christian Assyrian of Greek descent, writer and theologian of the 2nd century AD. Tatian was educated in Greek philosophy. As a young man he travelled extensively. Disgusted with the greed of the pagan philosophers with whom he came in contact, he conceived a profound contempt for their teachings. Tatian’s most influential work is the Diatessaron, a Biblical paraphrase, or “harmony”, of the four gospels that became the standard text of the four gospels in the Syriac-speaking churches until the 5th-century, after which it gave way to the four separate gospels in the Peshitta version.

    *Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of CypriumNews.

    - Advertisement -
    Mustafa Niyazi
    Mustafa Niyazihttp://fghyHi+dr
    Who am I? I'm a teacher in China. I'm here because of some personal and private reasons. I'm also a researcher and specialist on the history of China, the Turks, Cyprus, and the Cyprus Problem, as well as systems of governance and a few other related topics. If you are interested in my ethnicity, I'm Turkish. Both my parents are Turkish Cypriot. I was born in London and I grew up there, but I traveled to the Turkish Republic of Cyprus every summer and now I'm living and working in China. Both Turkish and English are my mother language. I’m a polyglot and I can speak 3 languages fluently: Turkish, English and Mandarin Chinese, and I speak Japanese too but not confident to say it's fluent yet? If you don’t think I’m a polyglot check the Cambridge or Oxford Dictionary. "Poly" means "multiple" and "Glot" means "tongue", so yes, I am a polyglot. I am always planning to write and publish lots of Cyprus-related articles, so stay tuned if you like those types of articles. I also like writing about topics inspired by the conversations I have with others at the coffee shop or on social media etc, if I think it's related enough. I'm also an activist for Turkish Cypriot rights, human rights, and genocide awareness.  Frequently Asked Questions: - My height: 182 cm? - Do you view yourself as Turkish or British?: I am who I want to be - What's your relationship status?: I don't feel comfortable talking about that - If both your wife and mother are drowning, who will you save? Both of them - Where are you living?: Currently in Hangzhou, China - Favourite pass time: Just relaxing, thinking, watching the world go by #Turkish #British #China Disclaimer: I generally employ qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methodologies and try to be open and inclusive, and adaptive. I try to avoid the trappings of pigeon-hole research, civil pov-pushing, watered down language or tone, giving undue weight to fringe theories coming from unreliable points-of-view (POVs), or engaging in tendentious contributions.
    RELATED ARTICLES
    - Advertisment -

    Most Popular