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In recent months, Greece appears to have welcomed more women fleeing Afghanistan than any other country. In just a matter of weeks, Athens has become the landing place for more than 700 of Afghanistan’s female judges, lawmakers, journalists and lawyers, together with their families. They arrived in Greece with the help of NGOs, international aid gr…
 
Expert Alan Makovsky, who was recently in Greece, joins The Greek Current to talk about the progress he is seeing in Greece-US security ties, which he described in an interview in Kathimerini as “head spinning”. This expanding defense partnership was recently on full display in northern Greece, where the port of Alexandroupolis was once again at th…
 
Last week the US-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act made headlines as it was included as an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, or the NDAA. This move comes at a time when Greece and the United States have seen their bilateral relationship reach new heights. US-Turkey relations were also in the spotligh…
 
Every year Greece’s Aegean islands go through tens of millions of plastic water bottles, as the islands look to accommodate not only the needs of local residents, but also millions of tourists. This has transformed these communities into some of the biggest consumers of plastic. This dependence on bottled water inevitably impacts the environment, a…
 
Turkey’s central bank once again slashed interest rates on Thursday despite repeated warnings from economists that lower rates — and a weaker currency — tend to worsen inflation, sending the Turkish lira to historic lows against the US dollar. The central bank seems to be driven by the unorthodox policies of Turkish President Erdogan, who believes …
 
As experts debate whether Turkey will engage in a new military operation in northern Syria, the facts on the ground demonstrate that Turkey is already in a perpetual state of war against the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northeast Syria. Not only are drone strikes and shelling now a regular occurence, but Turkey is also weaponizing water…
 
On Tuesday Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russia-brokered ceasefire at their border following the deadliest clashes since the war that took place last year in Nagorno-Karabakh, or Arstakh. Armenia’s foreign ministry said this attack is part of a broader Azerbaijani policy that began in May aimed at infiltrating key Armenian areas in the east an…
 
The US once again reiterated its firm opposition to Turkey’s purchase and acquisition of the S-400 Russian defense missile system on Tuesday. A State Department spokesperson rejected a recent proposal by Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who stated that a possible compromise on this issue - which saw the US sanction Turkey under the CAATSA law…
 
France hosted an international conference on Libya in the presence of US Vice President Kamala Harris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and other international and regional high-level officials, including Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to ensure the success of the co…
 
The US role in the Eastern Mediterranean and the partnership between Washington, DC and Athens is the focus of a recent report by JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. The report, titled “At the Center of the Crossroads: A New U.S. Strategy for the East Med',' highlights the geopolitical importance of the region for the Unit…
 
Earlier this week it was reported that the EU was considering taking measures against Turkish Airlines over the latter's alleged role in trafficking migrants to Belarus. Turkish Airlines denied wrongdoing in a statement on Wednesday. On Thursday, however, Bloomberg reported that Turkey agreed with the EU that it would monitor flights headed to Bela…
 
European Union officials on Wednesday accused Belarus of state-sponsored “trafficking” of human lives by luring desperate migrants to the Polish border — the edge of the EU — where many are now stuck in makeshift camps in freezing weather. The EU is preparing to hit Belarus with fresh sanctions as early as Monday, and EU Commission President Ursula…
 
In 2016, days after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, Professor Henri Barkey was falsely targeted by the Turkish government, which formally charged and prosecuted him for allegedly inciting the failed 2016 coup. He is part of a large and expanding group of alleged co-conspirators including Osman Kavala, one of Turkey’s most prominent civil-society…
 
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wrapped up an almost two week visit to the United States late last week. His trip included meetings with President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and key members of Congress. Religious freedom in Turkey and the reopening of the Halki Theological Seminary featured heavily in discussions with US political leaders,…
 
North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced earlier this week that he would resign after his party suffered an overwhelming defeat during recent municipal elections to the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE, the main opposition party. Following the election, Zaev insisted that the coalition could agree on another candidate for prime minister and form…
 
Authorities in Greece reported 6,808 new coronavirus cases on Thursday as the country experiences a sharp upturn in its daily infection rate, breaking record after record: 4,696 on Saturday, 5,449 on Monday and more than 6,700 on Tuesday. The situation in hospitals is also worrying, with data showing that beds are filling faster with new Covid-19 p…
 
There are growing concerns that Turkey could launch another incursion into Syria, and reports indicate that the Turkish army has stepped up its presence in areas controlled by the Syrian opposition in northeastern Syria, amid ongoing Turkish threats against Kurdish forces in the area. In the meantime, Turkey’s parliament approved a motion late last…
 
Zoran Zaev announced his resignation as North Macedonia’s prime minister and leader of the ruling Social Democratic party after a landslide defeat in local elections late on Sunday. The move raises important questions about what lies ahead for North Macedonian politics, with the nationalist opposition, ​​which is opposed to the Prespes agreement wi…
 
On Sunday President Biden held a meeting with Turkish President Erdogan on the margins of the G20 Summit. During their meeting, President Biden raised concerns about Turkey’s possession of the Russian S-400 missile system, emphasized the importance of respect for human rights and called for the countries to cooperate more and handle “disagreements …
 
Greece’s often-strained relations in past years with Germany took center stage Friday during a visit to Athens by outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel. During their meeting, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou raised the thorny issue of Germany's role in Greece's financial crisis, noting that “there were times of difficulty and tension,” adding t…
 
The US Treasury Department on Thursday imposed sanctions on two top Lebanese contractors and a lawmaker close to Hezbollah over alleged large-scale corruption that undermined the rule of law in Lebanon. This decision comes amid an unprecedented economic crisis in Lebanon. It also comes as Hezbollah attempts to expand its influence over Lebanon, see…
 
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Paris-based global money laundering and terror financing watchdog, added Turkey to its “grey list” last week, placing it under increased monitoring. This is not the first time Turkey was placed on the “grey list”, and in 2019 the FATF warned that unless Ankara improves its “serious shortcomings,” Turkey r…
 
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis held two days of meetings in Saudi Arabia, where the focus was on bilateral relations and energy developments in the region. During his visit, Mitsotakis made the case that Greece can be an entry point into the European power market for energy produced in the Middle East. The visit came weeks after Greece an…
 
This month the Piraeus Port Authority handed a further 16 percent of its shares to Cosco, cementing its control by the Chinese state-backed shipping group, which bought 51 percent of the Greek port in August 2016 during the financial crisis. The deal has intensified unease in the EU over China’s increasing involvement in European infrastructure and…
 
EU leaders were in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for a European Council summit, with soaring energy prices and a rule-of-law dispute with Poland at the top of the agenda. Other topics on the agenda included discussions over migration, with the EU condemning the use of migration as a pressure tool, resurgent EU coronavirus hot spots, and vaccine d…
 
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is set to visit the United States between October 23 and November 3, where he will hold a number of important meetings, including a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House. In a recent piece for the Middle East Institute, expert Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir argued that this in-person meeting provides the Bid…
 
Hezbollah and its political allies have intensified Lebanon’s political crisis and paralyzed the new government by trying to push the cabinet to dismiss Tarek Bitar, the judge in charge of investigating the 2020 Beirut blast. Last week, on October 14, clashes erupted in Lebanon’s capital city over the probe into the explosion of Beirut’s port, with…
 
“Relations between Greece and the United States are at a peak, but they are not at the summit.” That was the message US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt conveyed to journalists after Greece and the US signed an updated MDCA last week and held their third Strategic Dialogue. Ambassador Pyatt joins The Greek Current to look at the recent US-Greece…
 
Last week Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed the new Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement between Greece and the United States and held the third round of talks as part of the strategic dialogue between both countries. Ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou, Greece’s ambassador to the United States, joins T…
 
The United States and Greece signed an extension of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) on Thursday, renewing their agreement for five years with an understanding that from then onward, it would remain in place indefinitely. The MDCA will boost defense cooperation between the two countries, including further investment in bases operated…
 
Last week US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that President Biden was truly willing to support greater European military and defense capabilities, a key point in the joint statement with Macron aimed at smoothing over the AUKUS dispute. But Sullivan said it was crucial to deal in specifics. This statement, the AUKUS deal, and the recen…
 
Vassilis Nedos, Kathimerini’s diplomatic and defense editor, joins our podcast today to discuss his latest report that highlights Greece’s key foreign policy goals in the near future. We kick off by discussing Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ trip to Washington, DC, where he is expected to sign the updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement on Thu…
 
Is it time to check the power Turkey seeks to exert on the global stage? Expert Michael Rubin makes the case that it is in his latest piece for The National Interest - “The West Shouldn’t Deny the Big Picture on Turkey’s Erdogan”. Michael Rubin joins The Greek Current to discuss Turkish President Erdogan’s ambitions on the global stage and the meth…
 
Great power rivalry with China has become the central feature of American foreign policy, and is playing out across the globe, including in the Aegean and the Balkans. In his latest op-ed for Kathimeinri titled “Is America back?” Endy Zemenides argues that the US needs to step up its presence in the region in order to prove that “it is back”, espec…
 
Reuters reported this week that Turkey made a request to the US to buy 40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes, as Turkey looks to modernize its Air Force after it was kicked out of the F-35 program. The deal, which would be worth billions, would need the approval of both the US State De…
 
On Thursday Greece’s lawmakers ratified a historic defense deal with France that includes a mutual assistance clause in case of an armed attack against either, the first such deal between two NATO members. The agreement was announced in Paris last week by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron, with Greece also anno…
 
On Wednesday EU leaders tried to reassure Western Balkan countries they could eventually join the EU if they met its standards, but the leaders failed to provide a credible signal that the bloc’s enlargement process will be relaunched in the near future. Instead, it looks like membership is slipping further into the future, to the frustration of ca…
 
Last month the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers agreed to initiate the infringement process against Turkey in December unless it complies with a European Court of Human Rights ruling and releases political prisoner Osman Kavala. Kavala has been unjustly jailed for almost four years. The Council of Europe’s warning also urged Ankara to com…
 
In his latest piece for Foreign Policy Magazine titled “Erdogan Might Be Too Sick to Keep Leading Turkey”, expert Steven Cook looks at some rumors that are circulating about Turkish President Erdogan’s health, and breaks down how Turkish politics could be impacted in the near future should Erdogan not be in a position to run for re-election in the …
 
Petros Kasfikis, the Washington DC correspondent for the Athens News Agency and Greece’s Mega TV, joins The Greek current today with the latest analysis from the capital of the United States. We’ll look at the US reaction to to the defense agreement Greece and France signed on Tuesday, the ongoing negotiations for the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agr…
 
On Wednesday Turkish President Erdogan traveled to Sochi, Russia, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for nearly three hours. While there was no official readout from either side detailing what was discussed, reports indicate that a number of key issues were on the table, including tensions in Syria, energy, and weapons deals. The me…
 
The US House of Representatives passed a bill on September 23 with an amendment - introduced by Representative Dina Titus - that requires the secretary of state to submit a report assessing whether Turkey’s Grey Wolves — a far-right militant group — meet the criteria to be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. If the Senate also passes th…
 
Greece sealed an arms deal with France on Tuesday for the purchase of frigates worth about 3 billion euros. The agreement is part of a broader defense and security strategic partnership pact that includes a clause on mutual defense assistance and which French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described as “histo…
 
On Sunday Germany held federal elections that saw the center-left Social Democrats win the largest share of the vote, narrowly beating outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc in a closely fought race. Both of Germany’s traditional leading parties finished with well under 30% of the vote, while the Greens and the pro-business liberals,…
 
After 16 years, Germany is saying farewell to Angela Merkel, its longtime Chancellor. As Germans head to the polls on Sunday, the rest of Europe will also be watching closely to see who emerges as the next leader of Germany. Throughout her tenure, Chancellor Merkel has steered Germany and the European Union through a number of crises, from the euro…
 
Earlier this week His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, joined by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, attended an event marking the opening of the Turkish House - or the Turkevi Center - in New York. Both leaders chose to attend the event, which was officiated by Turkish President Erdogan, despite having prior knowledge that Turkish Cypriot lead…
 
Over the last decade we’ve seen the involvement of Turkey and the Gulf states grow significantly in the Horn of Africa, and the region became one more arena - like Libya and Tunisia - of competition between Turkey and Qatar on the one hand, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE on the other. While clashing interests and ideologies still shape dynami…
 
On Saturday Greece opened a new migrant camp on the eastern Aegean island of Samos. The facility is the first EU-designed, EU-funded migrant camp in the country, and is part of a broader European response to the tent cities that had emerged on Greece’s frontline islands since migrants and refugees began to arrive en-masse at the beginning of the mi…
 
The Biden Administration announced on Monday that it will lift coronavirus travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers, reopening its borders for the first time in more than a year and bringing an end to the series of travel bans first imposed by President Donald Trump 18 months ago. This decision by the White House also answers a growing EU…
 
Nine EU countries on the Mediterranean held a summit in Athens on Friday to discuss issues ranging from climate change to migration, security, and Afghanistan. The summit comes two days after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen - who was also in Athens on Friday - underlined the need for a common EU strategy in dealing with climate c…
 
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