The Turkish opposition parties that together won a majority of the vote in last month’s parliamentary elections were unable to form a government by the deadline. The Islamist President has called for new elections. See my post from June, Islamists Lose their Majority in the Turkish Parliamentary Elections, http://williamcinfici.blogspot.com/2015/06/islamists-lose-their-majority-in.html.
In the meantime,
caretaker government did grant the United States
access to its base at Incirlik from which to launch manned and unmanned
aircraft to strike the “Islamic State” in Syria
and Iraq. Turkey
itself also joined the fight against the Islamic State, as well as attacked
Marxist Kurdish terrorists in western Turkey,
where their rebellion has flared up, and in northern Iraq.
The leftist Prime Minister of Greece has resigned after losing the confidence of a significant minority within his far-left party when he gave into demands from the Hellenic Republic’s creditors for reforms in order to receive a third bailout from them, despite his party’s parliamentary election campaign in February on a platform of rejecting such a deal.
As neither the two next largest parties, the center-right party or a new party formed by the governing party’s most leftwing rebels, are expected to be able to form a government, the President will call parliamentary elections next month. The Premier’s rump leftist party, despite the defections, is again expected to win a plurality of seats, but have to form another coalition government. It currently governs with a right-wing party which shares its anti-austerity platform. The Prime Minister will remain in office as head of a caretaker government in the meantime.
Greece’s creditors, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), had insisted on spending cuts, privatizations, tax increases and market liberalizations in exchange for more loans in order to avoid a Greek default on its current sovereign debt, which is mostly owed to that troika, as well as a possible Greek abandonment of the Euro, the common currency of the European Monetary Union. A Greek departure from the Eurozone would produce an uncertain degree of at least short-term harmful effects on
economy and an additional degree of effect on others. The first two institutions of the troika are
components of the European Union. The U.S. is the
largest contributor to the third troika member, the IMF.
is the European state with the highest gross domestic product, German taxpayers
have generously funded most of the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of
loans to the Hellenic Republic to keep Greece in the Eurozone. The Germans and other Northern Europeans tend
to be more prosperous, as they emphasize work and savings more than Southern
Europeans. They complain about the
Southern Europeans as lazy and unproductive, without considering the hotter
Southern climate that reduces productivity and encourages a slower, healthier, more
leisurely lifestyle, and lecture the Southerners incessantly about the
necessity of being responsible by repaying debts. However, Germany
also has yet to pay Greece
reparations it owes for its invasion during the Second World War. The Nazi regime had been favored by the
overwhelming number of Germans.
does not contribute proportionately to its own defense, the cost of which is born
mostly by the U.S., and it
engages in defensive or peacekeeping missions in only limited manners, and thus
is reliant on foreign taxpayers, like Greece. In contrast, Greece spends a relatively larger
share of its national budget on defense.
Its creditors insisted on some defense cuts, which the Greek Government
accepted, despite objections by the right-wing junior coalition member, which
nevertheless backed the deal.
Although not to the extent of
is bearing a disproportionate share of the costs of rescuing refugees from
North Africa and the Middle East because of
its proximity. The European Union has
begun a rescue mission to replace Italy’s and is also sharing the
load for taking care of the refugees.
The Greek Government also committed to better enforcement of laws against tax evasion. Tax evasion and corruption have plagued
economy, in addition to overspending (e.g. generous pensions and transfer
payments and too many civil servants), too much bureaucracy and lack of
economic liberalization. Greek
governments of the late 1990s and early 2000s had lied about the Hellenic Republic’s
finances to make them appear better in order for Greece to gain entry into the
Eurozone, which some of the other European states apparently ignored for ideological
reasons or the political benefit of the expansion of the common currency. The previous center-right government had made
much progress through austerity of reducing Greece’s sovereign debt, which is
at the highest percentage of gross domestic product in the European Union. Although there had been some economic
recovery from the depression, the Greek economy remained weak, which allowed
the governing leftist party to win a plurality and to form a coalition with the
anti-austerity right-wing party.
I have posted several times during the European debt crisis over the last few years about the flaws of the European Monetary Union, of which the debt crisis in
Greece is the best example.