Stories written by Apostolis Fotiadis
Apostolis Fotiadis writes for IPS from Athens. He has been covering political issues, particularly migrants’ rights as well as ethnic conflict and population movement in the Balkans.
Since 2004, Fotiadis has also written for the national Greek daily Kathimerini and been published in various other regional newspapers. He received his education in history at Aberdeen University and has an interdisciplinary master’s degree in nationalism.
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Closure of the Western Balkans route has trapped tens of thousands of refugees heading to Central and Northern Europe in Greece, including many unaccompanied minors who either escaped from war zones after having lost their relatives, or were sent ahead in hopes of helping their families follow afterwards.
A sit-in protest by Syrian refugees on Syntagma Square opposite the Greek parliament in the heart of Athens has turned into a demonstration of the stalemate faced by both Greek as well as European immigration policy.
‘Mare Nostrum’ – the largest search and rescue immigration operation ever carried out in the Mediterranean Sea – has become an issue of bitter brinkmanship between human rights groups and anti-immigrant lobbies.
Plans by the Greek government to sell companies that handle the key resources of energy and water face serious obstacles and its policy to offer investors exceptional privileges in an effort to boost interest in privatisation is coming under strong pressure.
The evolution of immigration and border control policy in Greece and its interdependence with European funding suggests an agenda which has been decided above national legislatures with strong coordination between European political actors and economic interests, while ignoring the human suffering it produces.
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Greece and other recession-hit European countries as they undergo harsh austerity measures in exchange for a bailout. At the heart of it is the Troika, say trade unions, civil society and rights activists.
The start of Greece’s six-month presidency of the EU was marked by a ceremony Wednesday in the Greek capital attended by the EU commissioners. But protests were banned and there was no in-depth talk about the raging controversy over the bloc’s handling of the Greek debt crisis and the renewed concerns about the vitality of the Eurozone.
A Nov. 19 paper by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU diplomatic corps, considers the possibility of the European military getting involved in the south Mediterranean in an effort to curb the influx of irregular migrants and refugees into Europe.
Greece has started unravelling its civil sector further in an attempt to persuade the Troika - the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission - to commit more bailout money by next October.
With no end in sight for the ongoing two-year war in Syria, the ensuing humanitarian crisis continues to escalate, with over 1 million refugees having fled to neighbouring countries and at least another 3 million displaced within Syria.
Any sense of tranquility that hangs around the mountain of Skouries in northern Greece, 80 km east of Greece’s second largest city Thessaloniki, is a façade. Home to some of the oldest forests in Greece, the pristine region is now a battleground, as the local population takes on the Canadian mining giant Eldorado Gold Corporation and its local subsidiary, Hellas Gold.
Zeki Gorbuz, a Turkish asylum seeker in Greece, who was arrested on Feb. 12, remains detained today due to an international warrant that was transmitted by Turkish authorities to Greece just one day before his asylum interview. Turkish media were quick to report the arrest, describing Gorbuz as a radical leftist and regional leader of the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLCP), which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government.
Saddled with a long list of woes brought on by an economic crisis, debt-stricken Greece now finds itself tackling a different kind of austerity than the one implemented by its European creditors: this time it is press freedom, not public budgets, on the chopping block.
Ignoring the thousands of protestors gathered outside the Greek parliament on Wednesday, the government voted in public spending cuts amounting to 17 billion dollars in an economy already on its knees from a lacerated budget.