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Really American's Talking Heads is a game-on approach to the real stories behind the news and their political implications. Interviews with sitting members of Congress and the media that covers them, Talking Heads goes places you might not expect. Hosted by Chip Franklin, a veteran talk show host and winner of the Edward R Murrow award for writing, and Endy Zemenides, a politico insider who is also the Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), Talking Heads actua ...
 
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The last week has seen Greece take important steps in exercising its rights in its maritime space south and southwest of Crete. First, Athens and Cairo signed a deal on search and rescue missions across the Mediterranean - a move that follows up on their 2020 deal to delimit their exclusive economic zones. It also strikes at the heart of Turkey’s B…
 
After years of tension between Turkey and Egypt, Turkish President Erdogan and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi shook hands at the opening of the World Cup in Qatar in what Cairo described as a new start in bilateral relations. Despite this meeting, there are still a number of unresolved issues between the two countries, from Libya, to…
 
Turkish fighter jets carried out dozens of airstrikes in northern Syria and Iraq on Sunday, in what Turkish officials said was a retaliation for a bombing in Istanbul last week. Ankara has blamed the PKK and the YPG in Syria for the bombing, despite both denying any involvement, and, as many have pointed out, there are still a number of questions a…
 
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ planned visit last week to Tripoli, Libya, to meet the head of Libya’s Presidential Council, Mohamed Menfi, ended before it even started when the Tripoli-based government’s foreign minister Najla Mangoush, who signed an illegal energy exploration deal with Turkey, that tried to force a meeting at the airport. Dendias…
 
On Thursday the UN and other parties said an agreement that unblocked grain shipments from Ukraine and helped temper rising global food prices was to be extended by four months. There was a fear earlier this month that the deal would collapse after Russia’s President Putin abruptly pulled out. After rejoining, Turkish President Erdogan boasted that…
 
A potential EU-wide cap on gas prices - an initiative supported by Greece - hangs in the balance as Brussels has yet to present a legislative proposal needed for its creation, while countries remain divided over the issue even as energy ministers prepare to meet next week to hammer out a deal ahead of what could be a difficult winter. Instead, the …
 
Senator Bob Menendez led a stinging indictment of US policy in the Caucasus during a Senate hearing on Wednesday in which he called out the State Department’s both-siderism, citing its apparent refusal to clearly and unequivocally condemn Azerbaijani aggression. This all comes as the US is trying to broker a peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ar…
 
Prime Minister Mistotakis’ recent participation at COP27 in Egypt and the latest announcements by Greece that it is exploring for hydrocarbons at sea have put a renewed focus on energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, specifically Greece’s role as a key energy player. Greece’s gas ambitions, as the Prime Minister spelled out at COP27, are just a part …
 
While votes are still being counted following last Tuesday’s midterm elections in the US, there are a few things we can say with certainty. The anticipated Republican “red wave” failed to materialize, Democrats will hold the Senate, meaning Senator Menendez will remain Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Greek American and Philh…
 
This week Sweden’s Prime Minister went to Turkey in a bid to convince President Erdogan to green light its NATO membership bid. Instead, Erdogan demanded Sweden do more to get his approval. Holding up Sweden’s membership to NATO isn’t the only area where Turkey is creating problems for the transatlantic alliance. Its aggression against Greece - a N…
 
With the US midterms behind us, we are turning our attention back to the Eastern Mediterranean, where Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey are all getting ready for national elections in 2023. Tom Ellis, the editor in chief of Kathimerini English Edition, joins Thanos Davelis to look at the general climate as the region moves into this pre-election period. W…
 
Greece is kicking off a delayed natural gas exploration project with ExxonMobil, reserving two areas off southwestern Greece this week. Potential natural gas reserves in the area are estimated to be between 70-90 trillion cubic feet, which would meet all of Greece’s gas needs and potentially cover 15-20 percent of Europe’s natural gas needs as well…
 
We’re going on the campaign trail on today’s episode for an up-close look at the US midterm elections that are finding Americans deeply polarized. Petros Kasfikis, the Washington DC correspondent for the Athens News Agency and Greece’s Mega TV, who has been on the road covering key races in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire where he is following Repre…
 
Turkey’s worsening economic crisis has eroded President Erdogan’s popularity ahead of elections in 2023, threatening to oust him from power for the first time in two decades. Yet a large number of voters continue to support him despite his role in creating the crisis. During his twenty years in power Erdogan has developed widespread patronage netwo…
 
The latest visit to Turkey of Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has put the Israel-Turkey relationship in the spotlight. Despite the continued tensions on a number of issues - from Turkey’s hosting of Hamas to Turkish President Erdogan’s aggressive rhetoric in the past against Israel - Ankara and Jerusalem have taken several steps to improve rel…
 
Today we’re heading to Washington, DC, where the US Supreme Court recently turned down Turkey's bid to dismiss 2 lawsuits against it filed by demonstrators in the now infamous attack by Turkish President Erdogan’s bodyguards that took place at Sheridan Circle in 2017. Andreas Akaras, an attorney from the firm Bregman, Berbert, Schwartz & Gilday, LL…
 
The UN Security Council recently extended the mandate of the UN mission to Libya – known as UNSMIL – for another year, a move welcomed by Greek diplomats. This decision puts the spotlight on the situation in Libya, where the Tripoli government seems to be giving Turkey a blank check as we’ve seen with the recent illegal Turkish-Libyan MoU on energy…
 
On Tuesday Israelis went to the polls for the fifth time in four years, and analysts expected a tight race for the 120-member Knesset, Israel's parliament. As Israelis wait for the final results of these elections, which are expected later this week, countries in the region - from Greece and Cyprus to the UAE - are also watching the results closely…
 
On Friday Finland and Sweden’s prime ministers said they will join NATO at the same time, presenting a united front to Turkey which has raised questions about both their applications. All NATO members, besides Turkey and Hungary, have approved their bids. The new Swedish government has also stated that it will fulfill all requirements under a deal …
 
Thanks to investments in the port of Alexandroupolis and the start of the commercial operation of the IGB pipeline, Greece is emerging as a key player in the region. The operation of a second natural gas pipeline from Greece to North Macedonia now presents an opportunity for the region to connect even further and for Greece to cement its role as an…
 
Every year on October 28th Greece remembers its entry into World War II and the moment in 1940 when it refused to surrender to Mussolini’s Italy, choosing to fight for independence and against fascism. Greek resistance to fascist Italy and then Nazi Germany inspired many in occupied Europe, and came at a time when the Axis seemed invincible. This y…
 
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who arrived in Athens on Wednesday evening, kicked off his visit to Greece on Thursday morning with a visit to the Acropolis with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Scholz is the first German chancellor to visit Greece in the post-Merkel era. This visit comes one year after former Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Athe…
 
Migration is back in the headlines this week, as the UN released a report warning of increasing numbers of deaths on routes across the Mediterranean, on land borders to Europe and within the continent. The news comes as Greece’s migration ministry released statistics of an 80% increase in migrant arrivals, as Europe turns its attention to curbing m…
 
On Tuesday, November 8th, Americans will be heading to the polls to vote in a midterm election that many anticipate will have an enormous impact on the direction of the US. While it looked like Democrats may have gained some momentum late this summer, polling shows that Republicans are regaining the edge, meaning the leadership of the House and the…
 
The Mediterranean, which connects Europe, Africa and the Middle East, is once again on the frontlines of important developments - as it stands at the crossroads of multiple crises engineered by Russia as part of its effort to weaken Europe’s resolve. In addition, China and Iran are looking to make inroads into the region, while countries like Turke…
 
Late last week 92 asylum seekers were found by Greek police and European border guards stripped naked at the Evros border between Greece and Turkey. Questions about this incident spilled over onto Twitter, where Greece and Turkey traded accusations about what happened as Greece’s officials said that Turkey orchestrated the incident. In 2020 Turkey …
 
While everyone’s attention is on Ukraine, key developments in Syria have gone under the radar. Recent reports put the spotlight on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the jihadi faction that runs the northwestern province of Idlib, which had moved into Afrin, the Kurdish-majority enclave that was occupied by Turkey in 2018. This move, and the broader trend…
 
This week is largely seen as crucial for European leaders as they work to make sure rising energy prices and short supplies do not further tank their struggling economies while keeping all 27 members united in their opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Leading up to this week’s key summit, the European Commission announced a set of new e…
 
Tensions in the Aegean, Turkish overflights over Greek islands and its violations of Greek airspace, and the evolving story in the US over the sale of F-16s to Turkey have put the issue of air superiority in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean into focus. Today the pendulum is swinging toward Greece, as it has taken key steps to bolster its ai…
 
Turkey’s President Erdogan and Russia’s President Putin met this week in Kazakhstan, where Putin floated a proposal to turn Turkey into an energy hub that could feed Europe with Russian gas. On Friday, Erdogan gave the project the green light, saying that Turkey and Russia had instructed their respective energy authorities to immediately begin tech…
 
Despite the fact that amendments attaching strings to the sale of F-16 fighter jets and upgrade kits to Turkey were not included in the US Senate’s version of the annual defense spending bill, or the NDAA, this week, the issue of US F-16 sales to Turkey is not over. This was made clear when Senator Menendez tweeted that he will not approve any F-16…
 
Prime Minister Mitsotakis has said that he believes Britain is edging closer to returning the Parthenon Marbles, and will raise the subject with the UK’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, on an upcoming visit to London this year. Mitsotakis said he believes the “mood is changing in the UK,” a reference to reports that, after decades of defensiveness, …
 
It’s been roughly a week since Turkey and the Tripoli-based Libyan government signed an agreement on hydrocarbon exploration, a follow up agreement to their illegal 2019 memorandum on their exclusive economic zones that completely disregards geography and international law. Greece is looking to its partners and allies amid concerns that this latest…
 
The war in Ukraine seems to have given Turkey’s President Erdogan a renewed lease on life in Western capitals, while at the same time giving Turkey leverage to press its Western allies into ignoring its non-stop abuses - primarily directed against NATO ally Greece - simply to get Turkey to help Ukraine against Russia. This dynamic is playing out mo…
 
Europe’s attention was on Prague on Thursday and Friday as the leaders of Europe’s countries, from the broader region and the EU specifically, met to tackle key issues facing the continent - from the war in Ukraine to the looming energy crisis. Aside from attempting to tackle these pressing issues, the two days also saw lingering tensions come to t…
 
A close reading of recent statements and threats by President Erdogan and Turkish officials that target not only Greece, but also the US, as well as a consistent pattern of events over the last months, show that the risk of conflict between Turkey and Greece is on the rise. Ryan Gingeras, a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs a…
 
The New York Times recently took its readers to a small village in the southern Peloponnese, Iklaina, where archeologists have uncovered a site that is opening a new window into the world of the Mycenaean civilization, the world described by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey. Dr. Michael Cosmopoulos, the endowed Professor of Greek studies and Professo…
 
In 2019 Turkey signed a memorandum with the Tripoli-based government in Libya to split the Eastern Mediterranean in two, completely disregarding international law and Libya’s neighbors like Greece and Egypt. On Monday, Turkey took this a step further, announcing that it had signed an agreement with Libya’s interim government allowing for Ankara’s o…
 
As EU leaders prepare to head to Prague, they will be called on to find answers to the pressing questions around rising energy costs. A small majority of EU states, including Greece, has called on Europe to place a cap on natural gas prices as a way for Europe to not only take back control of its gas market, but strike back at Russia, which is weap…
 
Azerbaijan’s recent attacks against Armenia have once again seen calls for the US to revoke a waiver that the current and previous administrations have issued to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, thus cutting military aid to Azerbaijan. Given that Azerbaijan’s aggression is directly linked to Turkey, which openly supports Baku, the question h…
 
Google made a major announcement from Athens on Thursday, laying out its plans to set up its first regional cloud service hub in Greece. This investment follows major decisions by Microsoft and Amazon to set up shop in Greece, and promises to create nearly 20,000 jobs through direct investment and partnerships by the end of the decade while giving …
 
Turkey’s Erdogan is once again taking tensions with Greece to new heights with his statements this week accusing Greece of harboring terrorists and conducting a “covert occupation” of the eastern Aegean islands, language that is reminiscent of Putin’s statements before his invasion of Ukraine. At the same time he’s also targeting the US and the dee…
 
On Tuesday Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio introduced bipartisan legislation condemning Azerbaijan’s recent unprovoked attack on Armenia and calling for the immediate end to US security assistance to Azerbaijan. This is the latest effort from members of Congress to hold Azerbaijan and President Aliyev - who is backed by Turkey - accountable. …
 
Today we’re looking back at a hectic week in New York, where world leaders gathered for the 77th UN General Assembly. This UNGA kicked off with Turkish President Erdogan’s attempt to rebrand himself before a Western audience while taking a stroll in Central Park, but instead saw him fail to secure a meeting with President Biden, while in his speech…
 
With its recent decision to completely lift the Cyprus arms embargo, Washington is now in a position to take its relations with Nicosia to the next level. At the same time, as three scholars at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argue, this move also presents a valuable opportunity to reach an agreement with Nicosia to transfer some of its R…
 
While the world’s attention is on Ukraine, recent deadly clashes between political factions in Tripoli are a reminder not only that there is still an open conflict in Libya, but also of the role of outside forces in the country, like Turkey. In the meantime, Greece, given its geography, its historic ties to Libya, and naturally the illegal Turkey-L…
 
This week Turkey announced that its research ship, the Oruc Reis, is going to make a return to the Eastern Mediterranean to carry out exploratory research for natural gas and oil. Turkey didn’t specify the exact location, but the Oruc Reis was deployed in 2020 to conduct surveys in what Greece claims as its exclusive economic zone, leading to a sum…
 
Aside from key elections next year in both Turkey and Greece, 2023 also marks the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne, the treaty that established Turkey’s modern borders and is at the heart of Greek-Turkish relations, and the centennial of the founding of the Turkish Republic. While Turkish President Erdogan has been dangerously ramping up…
 
As the world leaders gathered in London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, the focus was naturally on the British royal family. It seems in their efforts to add a veneer of royalty to their coverage, outlets like CNN and BBC made a move that has prompted a sharp reaction in the Greek world - they featured the son of Greece’s former King, referring…
 
On Friday the Biden administration announced that the US would fully lift the arms embargo on Cyprus, a landmark decision that confirms the deepening of the strategic partnership between the two countries. This move follows the partial lifting of the embargo in 2020. It also comes after years of advocacy work on Capitol Hill, where Congressional le…
 
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