Now Europe has to live with the fact that the Greek people have voted democratically to reject their terms for debt relief and come up with a new solution
Greece is not the first or the last country to fall into a financial default. Many countries around the world and especially in Latin America have fallen into a default and have survived. So what is extraordinary about the Greek situation? What is unprecedented, is that the Greeks did not fall into a default and then bow to international pressure to accept bitter measures and eventually pay back their debts at a high social and financial cost. The Greeks said the terrible situation they had fallen into was the outcome of a crooked and defective international order where the rich exploit the poor and they acted defiantly to challenge the international order by rejecting the idea of paying back their debts to the EU through a package being imposed on them by their creditors. On Sunday, 61 percent of the Greeks voted "no" in a referendum, and thus set a new international precedent that the creditors and major financial powers of the world will find highly dangerous. Many more countries could fall into the position of Greece and thus the Greek example of angry defiance could be repeated in other places. The people of Portugal and Spain are closely watching what is happening in Greece and may get some new ideas on how to deal with the EU in the future, as their own economies also suffer because of what they call the greed of the creditors.
It is true that the international financial order has unfortunately been set on some form of exploitation where the rich skim the poor in pretense that they are providing much-needed financial aid. However, it is also true that some countries like Greece have done very little to put their economic and financial house in order, implement sweeping reforms or create a sound economy. Turkey has done this and has created a strong financial system, starting from the early 2000s. The arrival of the single party rule of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) rule since 2002 has further enhanced the implementation of the economic reforms and thus Turkey now has a good financial system that has already withstood the shocks of several international crises. Greece on the other hand, has just lived in a dream world receiving hefty EU assistance and spending the money on welfare and creating artificial prosperity instead of investing the funds in industry and production. Turkey accumulated its own funds by attracting Arab oil money as well as boosting its exports and tourism revenues. It has used its money for investments but even that is regarded as insufficient.
The Greek people are defiant. They have been forced to tighten their belts for the past few years with no tangible dividends. They have been knocked around with financial disasters and they need some ray of hope. So much so that in the end, they voted for a radical government led by Alexis Tsipras that was there to defy the EU. Now Europe has to live with the fact that the Greek people have voted democratically to reject their terms for debt relief and come up with a new solution. If they fail, this could trigger the eventual disintegration of the EU as we know it. Our duty in Turkey will now be to show solidarity with the people of Greece and try to help them in any way possible. That is the recipe to turn the Aegean into a sea of peace. This should also be a wakeup call to the international financial community that there may be several new examples like Greece on the horizon and they too have to set their own house in order and reform the current system that is based on exploitation and hardship.
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