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  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: PalThink For Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Investment opportunities are rare in the Gaza Strip. So when Nabila Ghabin saw one last year, she pawned her car and jewelry and put $12,000 into a network of tunnels that brought in supplies smuggled from Egypt. She was one of about 4,000 Gazans who gave cash to middlemen and tunnel operators in 2008 as Israel blocked the overland passage of goods. Then Israeli warplanes bombed the tunnels before and during the Dec. 27 to Jan. 18 Gaza offensive and the investments collapsed. Now investors, who lost as much as $500 million, want their money back from Hamas, which runs Gaza. Hamas Economics Minister Ziad Zaza says about 200 people were taken into custody in connection with the tunnel investments; most have been released. Hamas is offering a partial repayment of 16.5 cents on the dollar using money recovered from Ihab al-Kurd, the biggest tunnel operator. The imbroglio over the 800 to 1,000 tunnels has deepened Hamas’s decline in public opinion in Gaza and highlights the Wild West nature of the underground economy that supports this jammed enclave of 1.4 million people
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Author: Constantine A. Papadopoulos
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The central argument of this essay is that, in order to understand the reasons behind the Greek economy’s inability to recover sooner from its 8-year recession, analysis must focus on the institutional, political and cultural traits of the country rather than take a primarily “economistic” approach and simply blame “excessive austerity” and/or the euro. In fact, it will be argued that Greece’s positive performance under the euro (until government actions derailed the economy) is generally underappreciated, suggesting that if the country’s institutional weaknesses are addressed, the economy will grow. If they are not, the country’s long-term economic potential will almost certainly remain unfulfilled
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Kostas A Lavdas
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on stalled Europeanization as a field of practices, institutions and discourse connected with a process of ambivalent reform. The absence of a consensual national strategy of adaptation to a particularly challenging environment, i.e., participation in the eurozone, produced dramatic consequences when confronted with the financial crisis after 2009. It is argued that the country’s sluggish Europeanization reached a critical turning point in 2009 when the urgency of the crisis brought to the fore a number of issues and vulnerabilities. Asymmetric policy adjustment – limited in some areas, extensive in others – has been the combined result of perceived necessity, insufficiently designed and implemented reform packages, party-political repositioning, and plain politicking. Europeanization in Greece became a stalled process in 2015; restarting the stalled process since 2016 leads to ongoing but sluggish Europeanizing interactions, involving shifts in the roles of domestic politics, institutional traditions and interest groups while reshaping the patterns of political contestation.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Nicolas Papanastasopoulos
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The field of crisis management in public policy (both in its internal and external aspect) is currently facing a number of essential and important challenges with theoretical, institutional and political dimensions. This paper aims at deconstructing existing limitations by bringing together the necessary inter-disciplinary elements. The paper attempts to analyze Greek public policy and the government’s capacities to cope with a turbulent (geo)political environment. At the same time, an effort is made to analyze the way the Greek political personnel managed the debt crisis. In this context, the discussion combines both theoretical and empirical approaches.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Dimitris Keridis
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The migration and refugee crisis that erupted in 2015 landed recession riven Greece with a series of humanitarian, political, social, and financial as well as foreign policy and security challenges. Following a near disastrous open- borders policy steeped in leftist ideological parochialism, Athens aligned itself closely with Germany in support of the EU-Turkey deal that drastically reduced the human flows from Turkey into the EU and invited NATO naval forces to help monitor the implementation of the agreement. This paper is structured around two parts: the first part describes the immigration and refugee crisis itself, from a global, European and national-Greek perspective; the second part analyzes the risks to and policy responses of Greece and how they relate to the country’s overall geostrategic position, at a time when Europe is being redefined as it struggles to respond to a multitude of challenges
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Christos Baxevanis
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Since the signing of the EU-Turkey Statement, there has been a significant reduction in the number of people unlawfully crossing European borders or losing their lives in the Aegean. Turkey plays a crucial and decisive role in addressing the refugee crisis in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. At the same time, Greece is invited to carry out an unprecedented administrative, legislative and operational project that has not been undertaken so far. Furthermore, Greek authorities have to deal with a series of urgent needs (accommodation, nutrition, asylum procedures, health) or social integration processes (education, training, access to labour). This article focuses on the legal and political aspects in terms of Greek Asylum System as well as special attention is given to the EU- Turkey statement and how its implementation impacts on Greek-Turkish-EU relations. The author notes that this discussion cannot be taken place without taking into account the European institutional and political framework as well as the greatest economic-fiscal crisis faced both by EU and Greece.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Kostas Ifantis
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: The paper focuses on the impact of the crisis on the Greek public debate on, perception of, and strategy towards Turkey. The analysis is placed in the context of a strategic consensus that was ruptured during the crisis and the lack of bipartisanship on the country’s security preferences. Although Athens and Ankara have enjoyed an unusually long period of calm waters in the Aegean from 1999 to 2016, the last two years have produced the familiar aggressive rhetoric and mutual mistrust. With the bilateral issues intact, the traditional inertia on both sides can easily turn into heightened tensions with the risk of miscalculation given the proximity of military hardware being hardly insignificant. The paper also presents some of the findings of a research conducted by the two guest editors of this special issue on the Greek elites’ perceptions of Turkey in the midst of the crisis.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Dimitrios Triantaphyllou
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to explain how crisis-ridden Greece defines and defends its national interest. The constellation of the twin economic and migration crises coupled with the increasingly transactional nature of the global order have forced Greece’s hand in sticking to its guns with regard to its membership in both NATO and the European Union. While deterrence vis-à-vis Turkey remains a high priority, Greece has had to labour to regain its status and credibility within both aforementioned organizations by evolving away from its traditional policy of balancing between its membership obligations in NATO and the EU and its more nuanced approach to relations with Russia in contrast to many other countries. This has been done with the consensual adoption across the mainstream political spectrum of a policy of strategic realism which sees a distancing from the Euro-Atlantic context as an anathema, albeit the persistence of the reflex of exceptionalism and ethno-centrism. Its flank state status and the danger of further marginalization at a time of a changing Turkey have forced its hand while also presenting opportunities for the adoption of a renewed positive agenda with its neighbours.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Author: Kostas Ifantis, Dimitrios Triantaphyllou
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This is a collection of essays on Greece during a crisis that has already lasted more than eight years. A group of scholars discusses several aspects of the grand failure that is Greece since 2009. It is by no means a comprehensive treatise of what went so wrong and why a country that is still among the most developed and wealthy in the world cannot bounce back, reform itself, and deliver the public goods to its citizens. Although it is not explicit, a careful reading of the papers reveals an underlying theme. A populist wave finally swept Greece in early 2015 and nearly destroyed the old political guard. The post- Junta political, social and economic consensus that served as a bulwark for rapid democratization and modernization came under enormous pressure from extreme right and extreme left bullies. Civil War discourse and oratory was used to target political opponents and pseudo-revolutionary voluntarism was offered as the anti-European and anti-elite solution to the country’s misery. The justified rage became violent outbursts with the agents of populism barely hiding their satisfaction
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Greece
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: On 12 October ISPI in cooperation with the IEMed organised a workshop “New Euro-Mediterranean Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean”. The event was organised in the framework of the EuroMeSCo ENI Project, co-funded by the European Commission. This dialogue workshop aimed at discussing the initial research results of the Joint Policy Study and engaging the participants in analyzing and sharing their perspectives on whether the Russian moment in the MENA region corresponds to opportunism, a new strategy or it falls in between these options. Additionally, this workshop aimed at shedding light on the role Russia is currently playing, how this can influence the balance of power as well as how regional players look at Russia. The present report is a summary of main points raised in workshop discussions
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, North Africa