OPINION

On politicians, Turkey, the European crisis, tourism, taxes, Cyprus, Greece

Mr Rogge, it would be fair to say that Greece’s politicians and their business cronies made vast amounts here, and we the taxpayer are now being forced to pay again. The Games could easily have been finished on time, but Greek politicians again, with their hands in the cookie jar — what could we expect? We see it with Mr Tsochatzopoulos, free after stealing millions, everyone knows it, especially our politicians. Their silence betrays their guilt and greed on the matter.

Lionel Luthor

Re: Mesut Yilmaz

This man is the biggest crook in Turkey; he is close to being arrested on corruption charges.

He is one of the most corrupt PMs in the history of Turkey, and a liar. There was no plan as such. He wants to create controversy to make his name heard as he is being investigated by the new government and will definitely go to jail soon.

Mark Tak

No to Turkey in the EU

It was not that long ago that former Greek PM Mr Papandreou was calling Turkish PM Mr Erdogan a friend. His friend has been stirring up trouble not only against Cyprus, Israel and Armenia, but now France on the Armenian Genocide resolution. As usual the Islamists of Turkey, Erdogan, Gul, Davutoglu and Babacan, continue their bully boy tactics.

Where does this leave Greece?

For one Greece should stop supporting Turkey’s EU prospects. France, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Holland and most EU citizens do not want Turkey in the EU for two reasons: sheer size and religion. Islam is a demographic threat not only to the EU but to Greece as well, something the «naive» Greek government has not thought of. If Turkey was admitted to the EU it would have the second most votes in the EU parliament and millions of poor Turks would cross into every EU capital in search of jobs.

Mr Erdogan continually tells the world that the EU is a Christian club and does not want a Muslim nation. Turkey is a member of the (OIC) Organization of the Islamic Conference, which has 57 Muslim nations in it — there are no Christian countries there. And finally, in the words of former French President Giscard D’Estaing, «admitting Turkey into the EU would be the end of the EU as we know it.» Greece needs to take the French side and get on the front foot with Turkey.

George Salamouras

The European crisis

Only the end of an unreliable political system would be synonymous with serious foreign investments.

The latest poll in France shows a large increase (+10%) in citizens who believe in Europe. 50% now say Europe is indispensable to an improvement in the country’s future, 33% do not agree, while 17% do not have a precise opinion. This is an important poll as, at the same time, unemployment is reaching — just as in Greece — a high. Presidential elections will be held very soon, and while Mr Sarkozy’s chances of being re-elected seemed very low a month ago, and have since only slightly improved, it is intriguing to discover at the same time that a small majority of French still trust him more than his contender to get them through the crisis, for the crisis is affecting all of Europe and this European crisis is in turn significant enough to affect all the world’s economies. I note this — everyone knows 2012 promises to be a very crucial year for Greece too — because last week Chinese investors (it is their best interest as a nation too) have been very active, with three large investments, one of them in Portugal. But they are far from being the only ones who are taking advantage of the current weakness of the eurozone, which harbors many world-class companies (though American investors often seem to believe the worse is yet to come).

But still. Since all of the eurozone now shows attractive investment opportunities, what makes the difference for investors? Taxes of course, flexibility, but also the institutions that form what is called: The government. No one says corruption and inefficiencies do not exist here or there, or everywhere — of course they do! However, in Greece they are synonymous with government at large. Even worse, so is unreliability. That is a very urgent challenge for all Greeks to understand: Will it be easier for France, Germany or Italy to attract investors? Yes! Do they all need it now? Yes! Not only because they have good companies but because some stability is attractive, as is clarity.

And on that front, who can argue a single institutional change has occurred in your favor — «you? being the people — as some like to say, in the past 3 years?

Marc Sursock

Geneva

Re: John Ress?s letter

Dear John Ress,

What an interesting letter!

The first comment I can immediately identify with. When this crisis first erupted in its present predicament earlier in the year, I found myself getting emotionally involved, bursting into tears, letting the Greek situation wound me. I was once told that Seferis said much the same thing.

After a while I began to realize that it was far better for me to switch off emotional involvement and take the situation at a distance, more objectively .

Now I’m not a real Greek. My mother was Greek (but more of a German Greek really: I shouldn’t say German should I? That’s becoming a bit of a don’t mention that in public kind of thing) but my father, thank God, was British. I was brought up and educated in the UK and in Western Europe so while I can appreciate the feelings of Greeks, thankfully I do not have to share them to the extent of being hurt by them. I can shut myself off from emotional involvement and this is the best course for me because there is nothing I can do about the Greek situation so there is no point in upsetting myself needlessly. I have my own life to get on with.

However, your second comment:

?After all, all they have to do is pass the laws, the orders, the checks and balances which will eliminate corruption and dependence on borrowing as a daily function of their life? begs a question, is this comment a theoretical prescription or a case of wishful thinking? It does state what should happen, but is it also an expectation of what could happen? If the former, it is correct, but if the latter then it is wildly optimistic bordering on the fantastical. The idea that this ‘optimistic solution’ could happen in present-day Greece in any time within the next two generations is too fantastical to bear thinking about. It presents itself as a ‘romantic foolish’ notion from someone who while having a passionate love for their country also mistakes illusion for reality in Greece.

However, you are definitely not alone in this as a great number of Greeks also seem to share this illusion, only they still seem to believe that the euro and the EU will bring this solution to pass.

I thank you for your commitment your country, but please awaken towards what is really going on there and what is possible to achieve within realistic limitations.

Philip Andrews

Forest fires

Pardon me, but shouldn’t the article have mentioned compensation? We have a former Turkish PM admitting to crimes against our state and the only thing our MPs can be is indignant? This is further evidence of their narcissistic behavior that has led to a complete lack of concern for us, the citizens of Greece, who have to suffer because of their incompetence. When will we reach the limit of patience for their betrayal? Isn’t it time we admitted that our political system is completely broken and that we need to establish a new system of government in which there are term limits and under which no elected official is above the law? As the country who founded democracy, we certainly have forgotten its principles. Shame on us.

Jonathan Reynik

Grandstanding

Greek politicians grandstanding in public again and behind closed doors, the Turks are giving them a disciplining of note! What the hell can Greek politicians do? They robbed their own country to begin with. The kettle calling the pot black! Pathetic.

Lionel Luthor

Spending power

Every article I seem to read gives official numbers of holidaymakers visiting Greece, and they always appear positive. The only problem is the spending power of the people coming over. I have seen a big drop in the amount of money people are spending. Just because there is more in numbers does not mean more money in our pockets.

Paul Randell

Galaro, Zakynthos

Well done Kathimerini

I am constantly surprised at the quality of readers? letters that get published in K, but also that K has the courage to publish them.

All writers in English are passionate in their wish that Greece should come out of the crisis better than she went in. Yet the criticisms of Greece, while mostly constructive are very direct and biting and quite painful for anyone emotionally involved. Yet K has the courage to ‘bite the bullet’ and print even the most painfully critical.

As one of the severest critics, I feel I must congratulate K for not being afraid to publish such letters and such criticism. The fact that you balance the criticism with some genuinely interesting positive comments (travel, gastronomy) is equally to your credit.

Please carry on the good work.

Philip Andrews

The end result of increased taxes

Government keeps upping taxes, squeezing sales, investments, spending etc., instead of applying a supply side economic model. And now they’re saying no one is paying Christmas bonuses. With what must these bonuses be paid?

We all know that our politicians live in a cushy tax-paid little dream, an ivory tower far, far away from the land of reality, thus this lack of bonuses is directly tied to the increases in taxes.

Then again, our politicians have never had a real job, so they wouldn’t understand how an economy works.

Lionel Luthor

Cyprus partition

As we draw to the close of 2011 the ongoing talks between the two sides since 1974 have made little progress. Even the UN has suggested it may stop future talks if no progress can be made. The Greek side wants a united Cyprus minus the 100,000-plus settlers and 40,000 Turkish troops and the TC want a two-state solution.

As it stands, the ROC (Greek side) controls 60% of the total area, the Turkish side 37% of the total area and the two British bases account for 3% of the land. If there is no immediate solution the Greek side should consider a «land for recognition formula,» in other words it could add an additional 10% percent of land which would include Varosha. Former TC President Talat was prepared to accept a 29% offer for recognition.

Failure by both sides to reach a solution will mean the current status quo will remain permanent as the Greek Cypriot side has no Plan B. What is interesting here from the Greek side is the Greek government is prepared to accept a geographic qualifier for FYROM such as Northern Macedonia or Upper Macedonia but won’t consider a Northern Cyprus. You be the judge.

George Salamouras

Australia