Sunday, April 21, 2024

1821-2021, two hundred years ago Greece freed itself from the Ottomans but not from future defaults


Celebrate the bicentennial of Greek revolution that sanctioned the end of the Ottoman yoke can be useful, as well as for historical memory, also to analyze geopolitically and financially the relations between Europe and Greece since 1821 to date: a useful exercise to highlight little-known and in-depth aspects of the Euro-Mediterranean dynamics, also in light of recent events linked to the position of the European Union, the US and Turkey.

For the first time, a christian town had gotten independence from Ottoman rule and established a completely independent state, recognized by Europe. Greece after the events of 1821 represented to some extent a novelty in the entire continental area, not only for political reasons but also for social, cultural and military reasons, with a breakdown of positions and influences in two strategic quadrants such as those found in the Our sea: that’s the Euro-Mediterranean and Middle East quadrant.

The country bore the scars of a decade of struggle and it was finances that immediately became protagonists with the birth of the International Financial Investigation Commission, stimulated in 1857 of the United Kingdom, France and Russia: the objective was to understand the real capacity of Greece to pay the debt contracted in 1833.

Data in hand Greece has spent more than half the years from 1800 to today in default– It is as if a car has traveled most of its gear on flat tires, drastically slowing down its travel due to continuous ballast.

Analyzing the official data it appears that Greek insolvencies on external debts they circled 1826, 1843, 1860, 1893, 1932. One characterization, that of debt, that did not allow total freedom of action and movement. As for the loans that financed the Hellenic independence movement, it is clear that they had an incontrovertible underlying motivation, although it should not be overlooked that many intermediaries London they saw their coffers swell down that golden passage.

But then Greece contracted loans to pay the old ones, entering the quicksand of a system that has borne very bitter fruits, because it is not counteracted with adequate industrial policies that really put that money to good use and reform the country in a modern and functional way. The West, therefore, an economic-financial mentoring phase for a country deranged by clientelism, where the Olympic Games In 1896, although famous and of absolute importance, it multiplied the public debt, as happened in the Olympic Games of 2004.

Negotiations with representatives of the creditors, that is, the United Kingdom, France, Austria-Hungary, the German Empire, Russia and Italy resulted in a memorandum of 1898, which defined a mega-loan of 6 million pounds, or 26.8% of Greek GDP, guaranteed by the same powers, that Athens should have used to pay war reparations to Turkey and to honor restructured debts with its private creditors . The project was led by Germany for various reasons, economic but also geopolitical. It is clear that there is next to an insolvent or recurring debtor a creditor profitably exploring alternative routes return to the exhibition itself: paths that often go beyond one’s own economic interest and go to the limit of political influence, to be exercised directly or indirectly for more or less years.

What can be remembered as geopolitically significant beyond the success of the 1821? I would like to mention an event of 1897, the first military confrontation of the Greeks with their former colonial lords, the Turks, with whom the Greeks crossed swords in the eastern Mediterranean for the status of Crete. The conflict took the name of “unfortunate war” and attracted all the great western powers like Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, the Russians and the British who sent warships to Crete in an attempt to keep the peace.

Although they greatly sympathized with the Greeks, with the exception of the Germans, yesterday as today, the aforementioned great powers offered a diplomatic solutionCrete gained autonomy but under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, with the Turks controlling the island’s foreign relations, and Prince George of Greece became the island’s high commissioner. In 1913 Greece formally annexed the island.

Today in that patch of water we are witnessing a similar scenario, with Western powers working to find another short term solution, to avoid a shock fueled by gas claims from the Istanbul government while the European institution shows uncertainty and ultra balance so as not to hurt the needs of individuals, especially those who intend to direct operations.

The dial in question, it must be remembered, is very strategic because it is the place where the events that occur have surgical repercussions, both in Europe and in the Middle East. Today Greece is a candidate to be a new lighthouse aimed at the Balkan coast and an Atlantic interlocutor in the Euro-Mediterranean dynamics prey to the anguish of the Silk Road because it is a transit route of three gas pipelines (Tap, Tanap and Eastmed when it will be completed).

Precisely by virtue of a renewed stance linked to foreign policy, it is now possible, 200 years after that historical curve, to highlight this new status of Greece, in consideration of the main chess boards present in that endless meadow of interests and balances that go from Gibraltar to the Black Sea.

twitter @ FDepalo

Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.

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