Papachelas: ‘Now, a political Big Bang has started in Greece’

Kathimerini’s Editor, Alexis Papachelas, explains the prospects very clearly and simply in his column:


”There are two dangerous things lurking around the corner for Greece: the anti-Greek sentiment that has taken root in the minds of powerful eurozone players and the anti-European sentiment growing among Greek citizens.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his allies want to prove that Greece cannot survive. Meanwhile, we are facing a tough new bailout agreement that is politically toxic and incredibly challenging on the implementation level.

The hawks are waiting for Greece to fail in some aspect of its implementation so they can say that they had been right all along and the country is indeed incapable of radical reform.

At the same time, the country is set to have entered another period of recession by fall, there will be little hope of positive change and even today’s champions of the deal will have grown despondent from the increasing tax burden.

It is very likely that we will see the formation of a strong anti-European block in the next few months that will challenge Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s hold on power, making the governance of the country even harder than it is right now.

The solution lies with Tsipras himself. If the young politician has decided to put his past behind him and sees himself as a reformist, then he is looking at an amazing opportunity. He has to be openly and brutally honest, however, because any sign of obfuscating will sink him like it did all the other prime ministers during the crisis before him who tried to balance between two different sides.

By moving closer to the center and by making use of individuals of a leftist leaning who are serious and experienced, he will have a chance, though it will be short-lived. After all, he is the only political leader in Greece right now who could convince people who voted “no” in last Sunday’s referendum to support his efforts to keep Greece in the eurozone.

The ideal scenario, of course, would be an interim government of politicians and technocrats to serve for a period of two years and get the country back in order. It would take at least a year or so to get the economy back on its feet and just as long to quell the flames of indignation that will certainly flare up in society.

Will the country’s political staff find the nerve and determination to see the agreement through? We will know which way Tsipras is headed very soon. That said, the big bang of the political system has already started.”

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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