Mass protests disrupting normal life

The last few months of 2008 left a rather unpleas­ant feel­ing to the vast major­i­ty of Greeks. The gov­ern­ment, haunt­ed by rumors of a major politi­co-finan­cial scan­dal, found itself unable to defend itself ade­quate­ly on moral grounds while the sit­u­a­tion of the econ­o­my was becom­ing alarm­ing even before the erup­tion of the world finan­cial cri­sis. On top of all that, the killing of a 15 year old boy by a police­man in the cen­ter of Athens on 6 Decem­ber led to a wave of protests of unprece­dent­ed vio­lence that dis­rupt­ed nor­mal life not only in the cap­i­tal but in many oth­er towns as well. These events were wide­ly reported/publicised inter­na­tion­al­ly and paved the ground for those who want­ed to depict Greece as the ide­al ‘vic­tim’ for rumors about the country’s expul­sion from the Euro­zone, due to its bad finan­cial situation.[1] Mean­while, Greek east­ern islets are con­tin­u­ous­ly dis­put­ed by Turkey, a fact that brings for­ward the argu­ment that there are some con­tra­dic­tions in the over­all Greek for­eign pol­i­cy: The polit­i­cal sys­tem in Greece con­tin­ues sup­port­ing the Turk­ish can­di­da­ture for EU mem­ber­ship for strate­gic rea­sons, despite cer­tain con­cep­tions of the Greek pub­lic opin­ion, expe­ri­enc­ing a sense of threat once more. How­ev­er, the ‘per­pet­u­at­ing myths’ are a neces­si­ty in for­eign policy.[2]

The fact that Greece under­takes the Pres­i­den­cy of OSCE is not giv­en sig­nif­i­cant impor­tance in Greece, despite the fact that the role of this organ­i­sa­tion in 2009 will be quite significant.[3]

At the end of the day, the sur­round­ing dele­te­ri­ous polit­i­cal atmos­phere con­tin­ues to put pres­sure on the recent­ly reshuf­fled Kara­man­lis gov­ern­ment ‘to do some­thing dras­tic’ or to call an ear­ly elec­tion.




[1] See K. Moschonas: “The back-stage rumors on Greece’s ‘expul­sion’ from the Euro­zone”, in Eleft­herotyp­ia-Econo­mia, 18 Jan­u­ary 2009, p. 4.
[2] See the ref­er­ences in foot­note 10; Tas­sos. Gian­nit­sis (ex For­eign Min­is­ter) in the Jan­u­ary 2009 issue (No 21) VIMA IDEON; J. Kar­tal­is: “The new ten­sion [between Greece and Turkey]”, in To Vima, 7 Decem­ber 2008.
[3] See P.C. Ioakimidis: “Greece in the Pres­i­den­cy of OSCE”, in Ta Nea, 16 Jan­u­ary 2009.