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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 29 April 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 29 APRIL 2017 23 GREECE Ancient Civilizations Forum held in Athens "In culture, Greece is a great power. Our heritage is particular and it is one sector where we can, and should, play a role in world affairs. It's a sector in which Greece has a lot to offer," said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, introducing the Ancient Civilizations Forum, an initiative that promotes Greece's role as a geostrategic and cultural hub. Co-organised by Kotzias and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the Forum welcomed representatives from India, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia at the Zappeio mansion. The diplomats represent ancient civilisations and will work towards closer international cooperation. The Forum is part of the Foreign Ministry's multidimensional policy of soft power which concerns utilising intellectual, traditional, historical, and cultural issues. "Upgrading culture is important because culture brings peace, it doesn't bring war. It brings education; therefore it upgrades people's quality of life,” Mr Kotzias said. During the press con- ference, the minister announced he will accompany Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on his visit to China in May. He also said the second conference for security and stability in the eastern Mediterranean will be held in Rhodes on 22-23 May. In November Athens will host the second conference for the protection of religious communities in the Middle East. Cruise ship with 200 Chinese passengers marks a first for Greek tourism Saint Friday Church - Royal Court, Targoviste, Wallachia The emergence of Napoleon ensured the sultan relied more on Russia and the Greek Phanariotes to keep the principalities under nominal control. In 1802, the sultan allowed the term of a prince to be a minimum of seven years and could only be dismissed upon consultation with the Russian Ambassador in Constantinople. In 1812, Russia gained sections of the Danube and part of Moldavia between the two rivers Pruth and Dniester. The Ypsilanti family at this time were the effective rulers of Wallachia, with Alexander strongly in favour of the independence movement which had grown from a light breeze to something stronger. It is interesting that the family originated from Trebizond, hence a strong feeling of anti-Ottoman resentment was felt. Trebizond was a Greek majority city ruled by the sultan. Some might ask the question, ‘why on earth would one want to give up the good life for a Greek uprising that had no guarantee of success?’ After all, many a revolution had occurred in Greek history only for the heroes to become oppressors once the threat was over. Look at the Spartan Empire in the Fourth Century BCE when oligarchs were installed across conquered lands. It is probable that the Ypsilatis were genuine in their desire to see the Greeks rise again. Perhaps the Pontic spirit was the true guide. Greeks were educated, had a long history, and had proven themselves capable in the principalities, more or less. It is perhaps the education and enlightenment of the ancestors of Homer and Aristotle that longed to be free of any overlord. Alexander was succeeded by his son (Constantine) and grandson by the time the 1821 uprising took place. This said grandson was a name that will forever be remembered in Greek folklore: Alexander Ypsilantis. The young Alexander fought in the service of the Tsar for over a decade, helping turn the tide against Napoleon. He was promoted to the rank of general before making his way back to Bucharest by around 1820. He became the leader of Philiki Eteria. I should volun- teer that I once visited the main house of the Eteria in Odessa, Ukraine which is now a museum preserving the revolutionary history. By the end of the year, Alexander thought he could muster Romanians as well as Greeks in the principalities and from across Europe. Romanians were not enthused by helping Greeks; they had not suffered unduly by the Ottomans who did not keep any troops stationed past the Danube. With the Tsar offering no support, Ypsilanti nonetheless pressed ahead with his plans. Unfortunately, a 30,000 military contingent crossed the Danube on orders of the sultan. Rather than meet them before they crossed into the principalities, Alexander fell back on a defensive position with his limited forces. Hence, whilst the revolution was declared in March, by June the Greek leader had been completely defeated. Further ignominy was heaped upon him by the Tsar who stripped him of his Russian military rank. There was not yet a concept of Greece as defined by modern boundaries. Ypsilanti, had he been successful, would have resurrected a Greek entity that was far from the Greek heartland. It is probable that up to 10 per cent of the population was Greek; not enough to have a viable Greek country in the long term. Trivia note: the town of Ypsilanti in the US is named after Alexander's brother Demetrios, a hero of the Greek Revolution. As the Greek Revolution was now in full swing in the Morea, one could historically count 31 Greek Phanariote princes across the Principalities. They were drawn from less than ten families. An impressive figure that demonstrates how far Greeks had come since the end of the Byzantine Empire. The Greek princes had governed almost as if they were practising for a new Byzantium. It helped that the Ottomans trusted the princes, were scared of Russia and of Napoleon and did not keep troops on the ground. Ironically, Napoleon is said to have been from a Greek village in Corsica, though this is a story for another day! *Billy Cotsis is the writer of ‘From Pyrrhus to Cyprus Forgotten and Remembered Hellenic Kingdoms, Territories, Entities & a Fiefdom’. In what marks a significant turning point for the Greek tourism industry, the first cruise ship carrying a group of Chinese tourists is setting sail from Piraeus. During the fourday cruise around the Aegean, the ship will dock at Mykonos, Kusadasi, Samos, Patmos, Heraklion, and Santorini, carrying more than 200 passengers. The significance of the event was underlined by the Greek government, tourism professionals and the Chinese shipping giant COSCO, which manages the Port of Piraeus. "We want to become a bridge linking Chinese tourists to Greece, and welcome more and more Chinese visitors who will enjoy cruise vacations here in Greece with quality service," said Fu Chengciu, CEO of Pireaus Port Authority, noting that cruises have become extremely popular in recent years. At least 2,000 Chinese tourists are expected to board the Celestyal Cruises ships this year. The industry goal is for all involved parties to work together to bring more tourists from China and other countries worldwide in a bid to triple the overall one million tourists Piraeus port currently handles per year to three million in the long term. Tourism is the only lifeline of the Greek economy and tourism industry stakeholders have set their eyes on the rapidly developing Chinese market, hoping to attract more Chinese visitors, seeing them as a valuable addition to the millions of tourists already choosing Greece as a holiday destination.
22 April 2017
6 May 2017