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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 April 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 APRIL 2018 23 GREECE Greeks in space: the first crisis Acclaimed astrophysicist Tom Krimigis resigns from the leadership of the newly established Hellenic Space Agency, amidst claims of political interventions on is who is guilty of having allowed Greek sovereignty over the islands in the first place. The main opposition party, the CHP, (Republican People's Party) accuses the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) of "letting Greeks occupy Turkish islands"; the AKP accuses the CHP, the founding party of Turkey, of "letting Greeks take the islands through the 1923 Lausanne treaty." Turkey's quests for new economic gains from additional tourism, but especially from the newlyfound Aegean oil and gas potential, seem to have intensified Turkey's renewed interest in Greece. In 2011, after facing an economic crisis, Greece re-launched its own gas and oil exploration. Last year, France's Total and Italy's Edison companies signed a lease for oil and gas exploration off Greece, Reuters reported. Although Greece might well be willing to partner with Turkey in economic agreements, Turkey appears to prefer ‘other means’. In the meantime, Turkish politicians threaten Greece on Turkish national television. Yiğit Bulut, a chief advisor to Erdogan, recently said that he wants to avenge the blood of his grandfather, whom he claims was killed by Greeks: "Anatolia [Turkey] will walk all over Greece. And no one can prevent this. Greece should know its place. If they try to attack and rape this geography like they did 100 years ago by trusting [French President] Macron, England, the US, Germany and [Angela] Merkel, these attempts will end terribly." The time to stop Turkey is now. * Uzay Bulut is a journalist from Turkey and a fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. She is presently based in Washington DC and is a contributing writer for Gatestone Institute – International Policy Council. It took about 18 months for the Hellenic Space Agency (HSA) to be officially launched. It took only six weeks for it to undergo its first crisis. On Wednesday, the head of the newly established organisation, acclaimed astrophysicist Stamatios 'Tom' Krimigis resigned from his position, stating political interference as the reason. Hailed by NASA as a "Space Exploration Pioneer", Tom Krimigis is Head Emeritus of the Space Department Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in the US, and his storied professional career has closely paralleled American space exploration. His presence at the helm of the organisation was hailed as a significant step forward for Greek science in general – as well as an example of the overall aspirations of the agency. In his resignation letter, Krimigis accuses Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media Nikos Pappas of decisions that effectively annulled the HSA's entire purpose and made it prone to political subservience at the expense of meritocracy. He also reckoned that there is "an effort to manipulate HSA toward specific goals." The launch of a national space agency was hailed as a way to showcase the excellence of Greek scientists (more often than not struggling with adverse conditions, limited resources and lack of funding), but also as a way to attract targeted investment and spark a reversal of the 'brain-drain' phenomenon. The Hellenic Space Agency was the latest step in a journey that started in 1955, with the establishment of the Ionospheric Institute, subsequently renamed Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing. The country has had a satellite program since 2001 and has been part of the European Space Agency for almost 15 years, which explains the optimism around the new agency. All this was put to rest this week; the resignation of Krimigis was followed by that of the HSA managing director, Konstantinos Pilaftsis, while this turn of events sparked a public debate in Greece. In his letter, Krimigis spe- Former Hellenic Space Agency president Tom Krimigis, Minister for Digital Policy Telecommunications and Media Nikos Pappas, and Geneneral Secretary for Telecommunications and Post Vassilis Maglaras before the collapse of their collaboration. cifically targets the General Secretary of Communications and Post, Vasilis Maglaras, "who has undertaken [. . .] the role of 'Space Czar' in Greece, despite having no knowledge nor experience in the field," describing conditions that undermine what he presents as indispensable values: evaluation, meritocracy and excellence. The last word is the Opposition's unofficial slogan, in its attacks on the Tsipras government's practices, and the backlash of Krimigis' resignation led to yet another round of political debate. Nea Dimokratia attacked the government for its choice of Krimigis' replacement, Christodoulos Protopapas. An experienced electrical engineer with a long career in telecomunications and satellite systems, he has been active in the Hellas Satellite programs of Greece and Cyprus up until recently, and he has been at the helm of the European Satellite Operators Association. But Protopapas is a con- troversial figure; he was the person who famously – or infamously – bent Cyprus' legislation to bring internet to the country in 1995 in his capacity as manager of the Cypriot Archdiocese's media group, and he's been under a lot of criticism for nationalistic views he expresses through social media, such as: "When we [the Greeks] were building temples and wrote tragedies and comedies you [Europeans] lived in the mud, ate raw meat, were unbathed and spoke in inarticulate grunts." Ancient wall revealed in Lesvos The discovery is deemed of great significance, outlining the cityscape of Mytilene as it was 2,000 years ago A third century BCE wall extending from the city of Mytilene out to the sea was revealed during an excavation in Lesvos. It consists of massive ashlar blocks from local stone and carries repairs of both the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Sections of the wall have been found elsewhere in the main town of Lesvos, particularly at the site of the modern waste recycling plant, during excavations to lay pipes. The discovery is deemed as being of great significance by archaeologists, who claim that it will allow for further understanding of the island's history and specifically the cityscape of Mytilene as it was 2,000 years ago. A computer-generated rendering of the 17 April incident in which Turkish fighter jets followed a helicopter carrying Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, and in response Greek fighter jets arrived to protect the helicopter. PHOTO: ‘A NEWS’ VIDEO SCREENSHOT The island has been at the focus of archaeologists since the late 1800s, but significant excavations did not start until after WW1, starting with the discovery of the famous city's theatre, considered to be the model of the theatre of Pompeii. In the decades that followed, archaeologists have managed to reveal the island's continuum from the Bronze era to classic antiquity to Roman times to the Genoan and Ottoman rule - and proven that the city of Mytilene itself was built on a grid plan, preceding a Roman planning practice. The city's two archaeological museums have been showcasing this rich history, but the classical city wall remains a link to its history. A section of it runs across the site which was close to the channel that divided the mainland from the offshore island part of the city. Considerable remains of the two moles that protected the large north harbour of the city are still visible just below or just breaking the surface of the sea; it functioned as the commercial harbour of the ancient city although today it is a quiet place where a few small fishing boats are moored.
21 April 2018
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