highways, railways, energy facilities, telecommunications firms, water
purification facilities, natural gas, lottery and postal services,
mines, refineries, renewable energy production centers, golf courses,
hotels and 100 million square meters of real estate are being endorsed to Turkish businessmen. The news obviously pleased the Turkish side so much that it was slapped on the first page of their English edition of Today’s Zaman. It does not take a genius to understand that if we surrender these assets we will once again be conquered by the Turks.
Young Executives and Businessmen’s Association (GYİAD) delegation last
week in Athens that Turkish entrepreneurs should take advantage of
extensive privatization tenders being held in the financially troubled
country as part of its search for cash.
In a statement posted on its website, GYİAD said Athens-based Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) International Relations Coordinator Ioannis Patsiavos, extended an invitation for Turkish businesses to take part in tenders to acquire Greek state assets including air and naval ports as well as the country’s postal and telecommunications services companies.
Talk of asset acquisition between Turkey and Greece has always been a matter of heated debate as the neighbors had been each other’s fiercest foes for a long time. Although their relationship has progressed in a peaceful and much friendlier direction in the last few years, they still remain at odds over certain foreign policy issues, particularly the ongoing matter of Cyprus and the extension of territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.
An earlier plan by a Turkish businessman to acquire some Greek islands was met with sharp criticism from certain media outlets in the southwestern European nation. Opposition newspapers and political websites led the anti-Turkey rhetoric by expressing their belief that “Greece will be conquered by the Turks.” Among them, Eleutheri Ora, an ultra-nationalistic newspaper, argued this in its lead story shortly after Fikret İnan, chairman of construction company FİYAPI A.Ş. expressed his intention to buy at least three islands in the Aegean Sea. The previous Greek government led by former Prime Minister George Papandreou was accused collectively by the nation’s far-right media of having a pro-Turkish foreign policy that had opened the door to Turkish investors.
The planned sales — from which Greece is expecting to earn 50 billion euros by 2015 — have been demanded by Greece’s lenders, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose financial support is of crucial to the survival of the debt-ridden country. At present Greece cannot borrow in international bond markets because of investors’ distrust of its ability to repay its debts on time.
Having so far raised less than 4 percent of the targeted 50 billion euros in asset sales, Greece now aims to sell gas company DEPA and 35 state buildings by the first quarter of 2012, Costas Mitropoulos, head of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, the country’s privatizations agency, said on Monday.
The ongoing market reaction to Greece’s financial capabilities coupled with a referendum decision Papandreou made late last month over a set of new austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF eventually forced him to resign on Nov.11. Lucas Papademos, a former European Central Bank vice president, was appointed as the new head of the country’s executive branch by President Karolas Papoulias the same day. Papademos now has to show his country’s lenders that it is serious about living up to its commitment vis-à-vis the substantial financial assistance it has received from them.