The mayors of 13 small Greek islands have sent a request to the government asking for free access to the internet. The petition, published by the Athens-Macedonia News Agency, bears the names of mayors on islands that have less than 1,000 residents. They hope that the coalition will give their proposal due consideration.
Mayors from Lipsoi, Gavdos, Halki, Agathonisi, Tilos, Aghios Efstratios, Anafi, Sikinos, Psara, Megisti, Folegandros, Oinousses and Kimolos have signed the document. “Your recent decision to provide the possibility of receiving a free digital signal where it was previously not possible, and shortly before that, the provision of fast internet access to remote areas filled us with joy and optimism,” the 13 mayors wrote.
They added that the government's previous gestures showed that “the state cares about residents of remote areas and that it is willing to take the appropriate action to provide security and bring us closer to the rest of the world.”
After the government's recent initiatives, the mayors say that there is a unanimous desire on the part of the residents of their islands for “a very significant digital service that would improve even further the political support for the regions... and has to do with free wi-fi for all the residents of the islands that share the same particularities.”
In their missive, the local authority chiefs insist that they are not asking for special treatment for the islands' inhabitants but for “equal treatment of people who constantly face the danger of being cut off transportation-wise.” Air and sea connections to these islands are limited and often disrupted by bad weather, especially in the winter.
“We are sure that you will be touched by this constant sense of injustice that every resident feels on our islands, which represent the country's borders and which, for this reason alone, should be the first to benefit from political initiatives and actions to improve their economic and social lives rather than to have to beg for help,” the mayors added.
The letter ended with the local officials arguing that free internet access would be a good way of deterring the “expansionism” displayed by Turkey.
Turkish European Union Affairs Minister Omer Celik recently claimed that Agathonisi “belongs to Turkey. It’s Turkish land.” His comment drew the condemnation of the Greek Foreign Ministry, which accused Ankara of adopting a revisionist policy that leads to Turkey “disputing the internationally recognized borders as those were historically defined and established by international law, during the last century.”