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Politics is the art of the possible

26 July 2012 / 12:07:59  GRReporter
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"Yesterday, the documentary I was talking about was on national TV. It showed Greek officers who explained how their chiefs right up until the last minute, kept telling them to leave the region and that the Turkish troops were doing military exercises. An old man, who had been there at the time, said that this was the first time he had heard about these things. All Greeks already know that this case's file is the only still secret file. Just this fact alone is indicative that something is wrong."

According to the Liberal Alliance, when a person wants to be free he or she wants the others to be free, too. "We do not offer solutions to people, just ways to find them. I do not know whether Cypriots are only one people or more. I respect the fact that some of them want to call themselves Greek Cypriots and they feel Greek. I respect the fact that others want to be called Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Jews, Romas, etc. However, we support "fair play". If the Greek Cypriots have decided to go back to the 1960s and put the Turkish Cypriots in a zoo, let them just say so, so that we can discuss it. The fact that a community doesn’t want to respect another, is a different thing. Today, the international community acknowledges the problem as a problem between two equal communities. This is also stated in Kofi Annan's plan, which was not a very good one, but it was possible to apply it. For so many years, everybody had urged for a UN plan and when it was presented, the answer was "no." Now there is no plan. All I know is that when the Cypriot President, who is a communist, is making statements, the word "Presidency" behind him is written in both Greek and Turkish. And during anniversaries, the Greek national anthem is played. I do not know how Cyprian is this. I do not know if people understand that the current rotational President of the European Union is from a country borrowing the national anthem of another country, while still saying that it consists of two equal communities. This is a very specific and indicative example.

We also respect the rights of the Greeks in southern Albania to want to preserve their language and traditions. This is different from their possible desire to unite with Greece, but this is something that can be debated. I am not the man who will tell them what to do. This is the position of freedom.

In this sense, Cypriots will have to decide what they want and to discuss it with today's society, so as not to mislead themselves and the world. The same goes for the Greeks in Albania, Albanians, Macedonians and all the rest."

The dispute over Macedonia's name

"The Liberal Alliance does not accept nationalism as a human value. Everyone wants to be something and this should be respected by others. But when this causes hatred, violence and discrimination against others, then this option is not acceptable.

I cannot accept that one race or a nation is above the others. Like every logical person, on the issue with Macedonia's name, I would like a name that is accepted by both sides to be found. Our experience of the past 30 years shows that Greece is not seeking something like this.

The proposal of the Liberal Alliance is as follows: In contemporary international law such matters are decided based on the needs of those who are alive, involving as little history as possible. In this sense, the last word for the name of the country will be its citizens'. If you like, our more difficult position is, by the same logic, that the group of people in north-western Greece, who believe they are Macedonians, and not Greeks, should be able to express this. The European Union and the decision over the European Court's issue of Human Rights are very specific. Today, international relations are regulated as follows: I acknowledge what it is, and after that I start a discussion about who accepts it and who does not accept it. There is no violence in this, no change of borders. To summarize: We would like to find a name, which is accepted by both sides. This is not possible because neither Greece nor Macedonia want it. Furthermore, we are against nationalism: both from Greece and Macedonia. The last word will be to the citizens of the country."

The Turkish minority

Grigoris Vallianatos defined as shameful the fact that in modern Greece there are citizens who are distinguished on the basis of their religion. "This is something that is not done to Greeks. I find it unacceptable for this to happen against another community, just because it is defined in the Treaty of Lausanne. To be legally exact, this agreement is anachronistic. Remarks have been made to us that today the Treaty of Lausanne is not a logical basis for talking about minority rights. "

The Greek Mohammedans

"One obvious example of Modern paradox are Greek Mohammedans. These are the people who want to call themselves this and say they are not Turks and are not determined by the fact that they are Muslims. At some point the Greek state decided to take advantage of this gap in the Muslim community because they found that we are being monitored from abroad for the actions on these issues. However, the state continued to distinguish them only on religious grounds, without ever mentioning the issue of the language spoken by these people. Here I endorse the right of a community to protect their language and their cultural heritage.

Jews and anti-Semitism

"In Greece, people still do not distinguish between Israelis and Israelites. The latter is the definition of a religion and the former - that a person is a citizen of Israel. "He cited the still implemented customs as the "burning of Judas" at Easter, the idea of the rich Jew - skinflint with a big nose, reaching to the still open discussion on whether the Greek Jews were saved or handed over to the Nazi troops.

Tags: Politics Liberal Alliance Grigoris Vallianatos taboo topics human rights minorities
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