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Alliance of Democracies Could Transform United Kingdom



Ever since the British voted to leave the European Union in 2015, the country has struggled to articulate a vision for its future. Yet, the recent revival of the alliance of democracies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has opened up an opportunity to redefine the nation as a leading member of the democratic coalition of states.

Meanwhile, defining the nation around its central role in democratization has the potential to transform its domestic politics.

The United Kingdom has been a monarchy and an empire, a federation and a member of the European Union. Yet, it has never been a single nation bound together by a state. This was the idea behind Brexit, but it was premised on a return to an imagined past, which as many commentators noted never existed.

In this sense, it was a naive project that was bound to fail, as most educated observers recognized. It was also a racist project that sought to preserve the nation by offloading its most ambiguous members. Yet, the real problem with Brexit lay in the way it exacerbated core social tensions.

Modern British history is a story of a monarchy transforming itself into an empire. Yet, it is also the story of an increasingly democratic nation, binding itself together around classically liberal ideals. In this way, its history is ultimately the story of a great contradiction, and it is a contradiction that Brexit was supposed to solve.

The contradiction is common to many empires.

Over the course of the modern era, citizens of the state enjoyed an ever increasing panoply of liberal rights and freedoms. However, the expansion in liberal rights and freedoms came coupled with brutal exploitation within the colonies. Then when the country needed laborers for reconstruction after the Second World War, it internalized its contradictions by recruiting the very same people it had been exploiting in the colonies. Suddenly, the empire had been brought home, and its vast diversity of peoples soon pervaded the sites and smells of storied cities, like London and Manchester.

Yet, at the very same moment, the country was relinquishing its empire.

The nation had long defined itself in relation to its imperial possessions, and this leant to it a sort of cosmopolitanism. The British could look out on a vast empire comprised of people from every corner of the globe, knowing that they were all bound together in one vast commonwealth. Great Britain was the universal nation, upon which the sun never set. Yet, it need not get too close to the peoples over which it ruled, nor look too closely at the crimes against humanity that were such an essential part of maintaining the empire.

When immigration picked up pace after the Second World War, the nation was thereby able to focus on its cosmopolitanism.

Now, it had shed its imperialism and united with cosmopolitan Europe. In this way, the UK became a great melting pot in which people from all over the world adapted to its well functioning institutions. However, as the number of immigrants increased, and as an increasing number of immigrants remained apart, the social system became strained. It was an uneasy social compact premised on an integration that required formally subject people to relinquish their own ethnic identities, which were often not easy to shed.

The strains were exacerbated by increasing inequality, brought about by a two generation long attack on social programs, like the National Health Service, which began in the eighties under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This hollowed out the middle classes, leaving everyone on the margins. The inequality meant that immigrants were often left with little nation into which they might assimilate. Meanwhile, the inequality led previously assimilated citizens to wonder why they suddenly felt left out in the cold.

It was a common story felt across the world, where neoliberalism would contribute to rising rightwing nationalism and fascism, as people the world over sought to unite around a core ethnic identity. Rising inequality was tearing every society apart, and in every major region of the world it was being blamed on the ethnic other. But the tensions were exacerbated in the UK by the interplay between high and low culture.

At least since the time of Shakespeare, one can identify a high and a low British culture. The high culture has been unusually refined and repressed; the low culture has been unusually uncouth and drunken. The two were always in tension, and the one could easily be seen to be a release from the other. High culture tended to hold the upper civilized hand, and it kept watch over British institutions, but low culture kept its haughtiness in check. At least this is how many writers depicted the society, and the dynamics can still be observed today.

Then Brexit smashed the social compact to pieces.

Brexit represented the victory of low over high culture, and it represented a victory of insular over cosmopolitan culture. This left immigrants marginalized, but to be a marginalized outsider to British culture is to be exploited, because that’s what the British did with marginalized outsiders over the course of hundreds of years of empire—and now they were reverting to form.

Suddenly, minorities came to assume the roles of exploited colonial peoples. Meanwhile, a drunken and rowdy low culture came to attack Britain’s refined high culture, which was increasingly defined by immigrant professionals, taking advantage of the opportunities provided by Britain’s strong institutions, and liberal members of the creative classes.

The dramatic cultural transformation also killed something far more deep and subtle.

British culture has long possessed a sensitive and quiet interiority. The interiority is both personal in the sense that the British can be reflective and often quite introverted. Yet, it also shows up in the intimate spaces of gardens and pubs. This sensitivity could be found in all dimensions of British culture. And while it is artfully depicted in everything from Jane Austin to Downton Abbey, the writings of John Stuart Mill to the poetry of Wordsworth, it is perhaps the most essential element of the culture that outsiders tend to miss.

Unfortunately, rowdy low culture cannot help but walk all over this quiet sensitivity, if only because it typically comes out when people are drinking. And outsiders who might have previously participated in it were pushed out. As a result, they began to overlook the quietness that remained, seeing instead the not so subtle manifestations of an all pervasive racism. And it was all the worse when covid came along, because masking and social distancing made it so hard to pick up on subtle social cues.

Hence, the problem for the British is not simply that their nation has been cast adrift in a search for itself that hardly anyone is up to. Their most laudable attributes have also been trampled upon by the very same people professing an undying love for the culture. Meanwhile, a vast population of minorities has been transformed into hostile outsiders, and inequality has only deepened the tensions. However, President Biden’s reinvigoration of the alliance of democracies, and its rebuke to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, may have provided an opening to a new path. Participation in a wider alliance of democracies can draw from the best British traditions while situating the country in a wider community of nations.

It can also give the nation a sense of purpose in the global fight to preserve institutions that it was often at the forefront of pioneering. And in fighting for democracy, the UK may be able to preserve some of its own, which Conservative rule has so often threatened since Brexit.

The UK can serve as bridge between the European Union and America by pulling closer to its wealthier former colonies like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Yet, it can also help integrate into the alliance a multitude of former colonies, which are now democracies. These include Ghana, Belize, Malta, Cyprus, Grenada, Botswana, Namibia, Malaysia, Barbados, Bermuda, South Africa, Honduras, Mauritius, Somaliland, the Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Meanwhile, India remains the crown jewel, whose democratic institutions in recent years have been weakened but far from spent.

In short, the UK can triangulate the US and EU while helping integrate a multitude of other states into the alliance. In this way, it can define itself as uniquely British while remaining part of a wider international project. And it can restate its relationship to its own minorities by once more embracing a more cosmopolitan identity. Finally, it can make these ties more concrete by using them to form a wider trading block.

In this way, even if the core of Great Britain breaks up through the loss of Scotland and perhaps Northern Ireland, England will not simply collapse into its ethnocentric core. Rather, the story of Brexit will be like stepping back to get a running start in the leap into a richer and more cosmopolitan world.

The UK will never be an empire again, for the days of empire are thankfully long gone But it can be the lynchpin in a wider alliance of democracies, and it can use its position to redefine itself as essential to freedom in the world. Meanwhile, it can use the process of redefining itself as a means of reintegrating its minorities and renegotiating the social compact.

If that seems too visionary to be realized, that’s simply a measure of the delusion that Brexit has fostered. For the country is already a lynchpin to the association of democracies. All it need do now is recognize the importance of its role and redefine itself accordingly.

Theo Horesh is the author of four books on the psychosocial dynamics of globalization, including The Fascism This Time: And the Global Future of Democracy and a newly revised version of The Holocausts We All Deny: The Crisis Before the Fascism Inferno. He is a democracy advocate who has written hundreds of articles on genocide, climate change, fascism, and human rights. He frequently writes for the Kyiv Post. And he is currently completing his PhD at the University of Leeds, with a thesis on The Retreat from Globalism: And the Reconstruction of the Cosmopolitan Imaginary.

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Bangladesh-UK strategic dialogue: Significance in the post-Brexit era

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On September 12th, Bangladesh and the UK held their fifth strategic dialogue. The future of Bangladesh’s ties to the United Kingdom in the wake of Brexit has been the subject of much conjecture. Analysts questioned Dhaka’s duty-free access to Britain, which has been generous to an LDC economy like Bangladesh’s, as the UK prepared for its exit from the EU. However, the United Kingdom and Bangladesh have weathered these worries quite well. Rather, the statement by FCDO Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Philip Barton during the dialogue, sums up the strength of Bangladesh-UK relations in current times- “The Dialogue is a reflection of the growing relationship between our two countries, and our desire to work together more closely on our economic, trade and development partnerships and on regional and global security issues.”

Dhaka and London are having a great year on cooperation and connectivity. In the post Brexit era, the year 2023 seems like to be the year that will shift the ties between these countries from a bilateral partnership to each other’s crucial strategic partner in the current geo-politics.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina went to participate in the formal inauguration of the new King Charles III of the United Kingdom earlier this year. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had only good things to say about Bangladesh during the visit. This is also reflected in London’s post-pandemic approach to Dhaka.

Bangladesh-UK held their first ever defense dialogue in March of 2022 where they discussed various ways of strengthening cooperation including defense, security and trade and climate change. This year started with the second Bangladesh-UK Trade and Investment Dialogue on February. Both the UK and Bangladesh agreed during the discussion that they would want to enhance their trade connection in order to increase their prosperity. This discussion was followed by signing an agreement on March for working together in climate action bilaterally and multilaterally to help deliver the outcomes of COP26 and COP27.

UK’s Indo-Pacific Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan signed the doctrine during her visit to Bangladesh which also signifies UK’s understanding of Bangladesh’s geostrategic importance in the Bay of Bengal and in the Indian Ocean.

So, this dialogue was surely a much anticipated one among the foreign ministries of these countries.

The provisional agenda included the state visit of President Mohammed Shahabuddin to the United Kingdom in November and the possible visit of British King Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George) to Bangladesh in 2024. Other than that bilateral trade, investment, and market opportunities; migration, mobility and a new visa scheme for students are expected to be at the top of the agenda. Discussions on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Rohingya crisis will also be featured.

The more complex agendas this year include discussions on mutual legal assistance and the extradition of convicted persons.

But Bangladesh has failed to gain an extradition treaty with UK. Although both countries agreed to constitute a joint working group to discuss migration, mobility and mutual recognition of qualifications, and agreed to sign a standard operating procedure (SOP) on returns of Bangladesh nationals in irregular situations in the UK.

The discussions regarding extradition issues if was fruitful, it might have helped the government to bring fugitives to national justice finally. Except this, the strategic dialogues between these countries in recent years have usually brought deep discussions and decisions on bilateral issues.

On the first of this strategic dialogue was in 2017, the issue of defense purchase was discussed- a much needed ground setting for the Forces Goals 2030 of Bangladesh. On the last edition of this dialogue, held in London back in 2021, the UK pledge to extend duty-free, quota-free access to its market until 2029, aiming to facilitate Bangladesh’s export-led growth.

Not only that, UK also added Bangladesh’s name to the list of the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) where the country will experience a more simplified regulation system and reduced tariffs on its products entering the UK. This only adds to UK’s commitment towards Bangladesh’s development – where the country is already one of the biggest developing partners of Bangladesh.

UK’s such generosity towards Bangladesh isn’t only because of the benevolence of its heart. The country is now out of the shell of EU, certainly has to widen its reach across other regions. Indo-Pacific is its preferred place to start.

Bangladesh’s geostrategic location between China and the Indian Ocean with its advantage of having a gate way to Southeast Asia makes Bangladesh seemingly the perfect candidate for UK’s strategic interests. Both countries have also announced their Indo-pacific policies which focuses mainly on their economic aspirations. With such resonating goals for the region, the countries can definitely build a bigger stage of collaboration with each other.

The countries used this occasion as the pinnacle of their further economic cooperation as Bangladesh and the UK have agreed to create new institutional cooperation to promote business, trade, investment and are considering signing a new MoU on economic cooperation. They also discussed potential increase of cooperation and capacity building on global and regional security issues of mutual interest, including maritime and blue economy goals in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.

The UK also announced a further £3m contribution to the Rohingya response, taking its total contribution since 2017 to £368m.

Another important discussion was on defense and cooperation where UK expressed its interest in selling advanced weapons to Bangladesh for protecting its air and maritime territory.

UK already recognizes Bangladesh as a critical stability provider in the Indo-Pacific and as both the countries have played their cards right, one could argue that bilateral ties are stronger than ever before. The dialogue has served as a further golden thread binding their visionary future together.

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Greece-UAE Relations through a Personal Lens

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Image source: Ministry of Defence, Greece

Bilateral relations between two countries are cultivated over time through shared values, partnerships, as well as common strategic interests and concerns. This is the case between UAE and Greece, as described below as per my personal experience.

As part of the bilateral military cooperation, the F-16s of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) came to Crete and trained with the Greek crews in the operational environment of the Eastern Mediterranean. Emirates aircraft have also frequently flied from Greece during operations in Libya.

Any strategic analyst, in order to study, understand and then successfully analyse the complex issues of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, should have visited the countries in the region and should have exchanged views with their citizens and experts.

I visited the UAE as a member of the Greek delegation of the Ministry of Defence, but also, I was member of the team hosting the UAE military delegations in Greece, for the signing of the annual bilateral military cooperation programs.

The First Official Experience.

  The first official visit to the UAE was my participation, as a representative of the Greek Ministry of National Defence, in IDEX-2001 (International Defence Exhibition & Conference). The entire event was held under the patronage of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The hospitality was excellent with accommodation at the Abu Dhabi Officers Club which is an impressive building with a bat-shaped architectural design, with hydro-cultures in the inner corridors and wonderful gardens in the surrounding area.

At my disposal was a luxurious white car with the Greek flag on the windshield and an officer of the Emirates Air Force as my escort. This officer had studied for ten years in the United States, attending professional development Training Schools. He was an outstanding professional with military training and strategic thinking.

During a break in the scheduled activities of the Exhibition, the attendant offered to give me a “surprise” as he called it and show me something that connects the UAE and Greece. I accepted the challenge. We visited a small harbour in the north, where colourful boats from Iran were moored. Merchandise was spread out on the dock and on the boats, creating a great bazaar like a flea market. The strange thing was that around this peculiar bazaar there were iron bars and a strong police presence.

My escort explained: “we have serious problems with Iran, but we wish to maintain good relations with Iranian citizens through trade. For this reason, we allow this trade bazaar to be organized at regular intervals”.

Relations between UAE and Greece

“What does this “bazaar” have to do with Greece?” I asked, and my escort explained: “Iran claims islands of the UAE and has taken a military operation on Abu Musa Island where there are oil wells, as well as on the Little and the Great Tunb islets. These are near the entrance to the Gulf, inside from the Straits of Hormuz. Due to the depth of the sea, large ships must pass between Abu-Musa and Tunb, giving to these occupied islands great geostrategic importance, that Iran has been exploiting since their military occupation.

The UAE has submitted a formal proposal to the UN for a negotiated settlement of the disputes with the goal of a final settlement at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), based on International Law. On the contrary, Iran has militarized the dispute by occupying the islands with military forces. The Iranians do not accept the validity of International Law for these islands, because as they believe, historically they once belonged to the Persian Empire and were occupied by the British, who then handed them over to the UAE under an international treaty.” Iranians do not respect this International Treaty.

Concluding, my escort mentioned that the tension in the relations between the UAE and Iran resembles the corresponding relations between Greece and Turkey, especially after the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus. “Our staff monitors and analyses the way Greece deals with Turkey’s aggression, both diplomatically and militarily, and draws useful conclusions that we apply in our relations with Iran. This is our unique strategic relationship with Greece,” he told me.

Turkish Ministry of Defence Industry

Within the framework of the IDEX Exhibition, the Turkish Deputy Minister of Defence Industry invited all participants to a reception at one of the luxury hotels in the area. After proper advice from Greek Ambassador Zoes, I accepted the invitation. On the evening of the reception, I approached the Turkish Deputy Minister for the formal reception. The “allied” official offered me the emblem of his Deputy Ministry saying: “I want you to have as a gift from me the emblem that symbolizes the development efforts of the Turkish Defence Industry. We plan to be self-sufficient in the production of weapons systems in a decade.”

The emblem was a red glass ladybug with a large eye on her right spine. I thanked him and walked away to my companion who witnessed the brief conversation and commented, “the Turks are making a very strong presence at this IDEX. They are trying to secure Arab funds for the development of their Defence Industry.” In a period of about ten years, they managed to gain access to Arab funds from Qatar, while in 2013, in their favourite tactic, they managed to establish a military installation in Doha.

For the Hellenic Aviation Industry (HAI)

In the year 2009, I visited the UAE once more time as member of a delegation of the Directorate of International Relations of the Ministry of Defence/National Defence HQ. One of the topics discussed was related to the Hellenic Aviation Industry (HAI). The ground technical personnel of the UAE Air Force were trained in the past at the Hellenic Aviation Industry (HAI) in Greece. The UAE officers resided in the town of Chalkida about 80 Km north of Athens, contributing to a certain extent to the economic life of the town. I had been informed by Chalkidian friends that the Emirati military were very friendly and were beloved by the locals.

The training of the UAE Air Force Staff was halted after an unfortunate moment of misunderstanding occurred by the representatives of the Police and Diplomatic Authorities of Greece at the expense of the Sheikh when his aircraft made an unplanned landing at the Hellenikon International Airport of Athens on March 2000.

Being in the UAE, I requested to meet with Colonel Mohammed who was the head of the last group of UAE technicians trained at the HAI. In the context of traditional Arab hospitality, the Colonel offered a working dinner. During the discussion, he mentioned the pleasant memories he had from his stay in Chalkida, but also the professionalism with which HAI organized the training of the technicians he supervised. Of course, the decision to resume technical training was far away from the jurisdiction of the Colonel, but he promised to work to support the resumption of bilateral cooperation between Greece and the UAE for the training of UAE Air Force technicians in Greece.

Finally, after ten years, the efforts succeeded and in 2019, an Agreement was signed to restart training of UAE AirForce technicians in HAI.

The Last Official Visit to UAE.

In November 2011, I visited the UAE once again, as representative of the Hellenic Ministry of Defence. During this visit, an extremely important event happened, precisely on the day of the opening of the Airshow and specifically during the day of the official reception. All the guests formed a line in front of the host Sheikh Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The protocol of introduction and greeting was a formal process that unfolded in a calm and repetitive pattern.

When I approached the Sheikh and presented myself as representing the Greek Ministry of National Defence, something spectacular happened. Putting formalities aside, the Sheikh grabbed me by the shoulders and with genuine interest asked me: “How is Greece dealing with the economic crisis?” Will she be able to overcome it?” Impressed by the Sheikh’s reaction, I replied: “Your Highness, those of us who love Greece will help it deal with whatever economic problems the recent international crisis creates.” “Yes, indeed this is what we have to do” he replied.

After the reception was over, I headed to the exit of the hall in order to watch an aerobatic demonstration. Suddenly I felt a light tap on the shoulder. Turning I saw a gentleman in a grey suit, who politely asked me: “Excuse me, do you know the Sheikh personally? Because this appeared from your conversation. I replied that it was the first time I had ever met him in person, but we were connected by our common interest in the economic future of Greece. The gentleman nodded and handed me his card. He was the Defence Minister of India.

Thoughts and Conclusion.

The strategic threat faced by the UAE from Iran is like the strategic threat faced by Greece from Turkey. To counter this threat, the National Defence Policy that is formulated in both friendly countries is almost identical. On this basis, it is possible to develop relationships that are not temporary and situational, but a strategic cooperation that will be strong due to mutual understanding and mutual respect.

The development of the Greek Defence Industry is suffering due to the lack of vision, political determination, and long-term strategic planning. There is great opportunity for collaboration between the UAE and Greece on the field of Defence Industry. In contrast, the competitive Turkish Defence Industry, despite its structural problems, managed in a single decade, after succeeding to receive Arab funds from Qatar, not only to develop and cover much of the needs of the Turkish armed forces but also to export defence systems.

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High Time for Multi-Track Dialogues between Greece and Turkey

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Image source: ministry of foreign Affairs, Greece

Dialogue is a valuable communication process that fosters mutual understanding among warring parties, paving the way for conflict resolution. Dialogue can take the format of track-1.5 and track-2 diplomacy to sustain channels of communication either when discussions between officials have ceased or when there is need to engage civil society, and groups of experts. As known, Track-1.5 dialogue involves non-government experts along with government officials who participate in an unofficial capacity, while Track-2 engages only unofficial members. While both tracks constitute the so-called “back-channel” diplomacy, none holds the official importance of traditional diplomacy. 

Since members of these meetings participate unofficially, they have unprecedented freedom to exchange views informally with counterparts who they might otherwise see only as competitors or adversaries. These meetings allow time for one-on-one “walks in the woods” that can generate new ideas and fresh approaches to solving problems, without the must-achieve pressure of diplomatic summits.

It is upon this logic, that the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP), an international foundation with 54 member states and the Canton of Geneva that facilitates discussions between civil servants, military officers, diplomats, experts, and civil society, provides substantive support and acts as secretariat of the Eastern Mediterranean Initiative (EMI). EMI is an inclusive dialogue platform for collective reflection and action that brings together experts from around the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Since 2020, GCSP has facilitated a series of Track-2 meetings between EMI experts from Greece and Turkey to discuss maritime differences in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Seas. Swiss sponsored Track-II meetings have turned into an interactive conflict resolution process that developed concepts of sustained dialogue among Greek and Turkish experts during a period that tensions climaxed between Greece and Turkey.

In fact, nine Track-2 meetings were held along with respective meetings in Greece and Turkey where experts on both sides discussed differences over maritime zones in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean Seas, and not issues of “national sovereignty”. Greek and Turkish experts, participating in their private capacities, have created dialogues that would otherwise be impossible because of frequent communication gaps among their countries. For example, exploratory talks resumed in January 2021 after a five-year hiatus. 

As a result, these Track-2 meetings hosted by GCSP, free from the constraints of formal government­-to­-government discussions, have operated in a painstakingly fostered climate of openness. The meetings have created a sense of comfort and trust, encouraging otherwise wary and aloof experts from both countries to engage, share ideas, and develop a common statement. This statement comes at a time that Greece and Turkey prioritize dialogue to settle their maritime differences. The meeting of the Greek Premier with the Turkish President on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius after the devastating earthquake in Turkey, where Greek rescue teams were sent in affected areas, led to the reignition of the engines of an action-oriented formal (Track-1) dialogue between the two countries. Political dialogue, Confidence Building Measures, and the Positive Agenda are the three pillars of the Greek-Turkish rapprochement.

Let us Continue Dialogue

The statement by Greek and Turkish members of EMI, among them Prof. Yücel Acer, Lt Gen (retd) Ioannis Anastasakis, Ms Antonia Dimou, Prof. Talha Köse, Prof. Petros Liacouras and Prof. Zuhal Mert Uzuner, goes as follows:

One hundred years ago, Turks and Greeks put an end to decades of confrontations through the Treaty of Lausanne. Within only a few years, this led to an almost miraculous friendship between the two countries. Since then, however, new conflicts arose over issues that were not on the table in Lausanne, among them the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and beyond, as the Law of the Sea evolved at the global level.

Nonetheless, the issues to be resolved are much less complex and painful than the ones that were settled one hundred years ago. And the reward for overcoming the differences would be a huge win-win situation for both nations. The way to a settlement is not going to be easy and will require a will to accommodate each other’s crucial and legitimate concerns. The fact that the supreme principle in both customary international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is that of “equitableness”, could greatly assist overcoming differences.

The Greek and Turkish people have lived side by side for hundreds of years, sharing the same geography and developing commonalities in culture and customs. It is a fact, proven through countless personal encounters and by recent opinion surveys in both countries, that at a personal level, Greeks and Turks get along well and do not see each other as enemies. All of us, as individuals and members of our respective societies, can contribute in this spirit to overcome remaining prejudices and distorted concepts of the other side and create a degree of understanding of its legitimate concerns. This is required if common ground is to be found.

Thus, we can encourage and support our leaders in going down the road of completing the basis of peaceful and fruitful neighborly co-existence, that was established one hundred years ago. They have recently decided to engage in an enhanced process of dialogue and deserve our full support in this endeavor. Success in their search for common ground will have positive repercussions outside our borders in the whole Eastern Mediterranean and beyond. At a time when to the north of our region, political differences have led to unbearable bloodshed and destruction, this could inspire others.

Once again, the region of the Eastern Mediterranean, which is the cradle of various civilizations, could become a beacon of light onto humanity. Let us not squander this opportunity.

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