Greece has a history which really distinguishes its nation from the rest. In 1829, Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire. During the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most with Greek-speaking populations. Following Germany’s defeat in World War II in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. In 1981, Greece joined the EC, which is now the EU, and it became the twelfth member of the European Economic and Monetary Union in 2001. In 2010, the prospect of a Greek default on its euro-denominated debt created severe strains within the EMU and raised the question of whether a member country might voluntarily leave the common currency or be removed (CIA, 2011).
In regards to demographics, Greece is an extremely homogenous country. Ninety-three percent of their population is Greek, ninety-eight percent of their population’s religion is Greek Orthodox, and ninety-nine percent of their population’s language is Greek. Geographically, Greece is located in Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey. Their terrain consists of mostly mountains, with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands. They have mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. Greece’s natural resources consist mainly of lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, marble, salt, and hydropower potential. Their current environmental hazards are air pollution, as well as water pollution, and their natural hazards consist of severe earthquakes, as well as volcanism (CIA, 2011). The conventional short form for the country’s name is Greece and its capital is Athens. Since the Constitution signed in June 1975, after the military junta and a referendum which rejected the monarchy, the newly built democratic Greek system is working like a parliamentary republic with a president as the head of state appointed by legislative. The actual head of government, since October 2009, is the Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and the chief of state, since 2005, is the President Karolos Papoulias (Greeka, 2011). Greece has a capitalist economy with the public accounting sector accounting for about forty percent of GDP and with per capita GDP about two-thirds of the leading euro-zone economies; tourism provides fifteen percent of GDP (CIA, 2011). Concerning international disputes, Greece has a problem with being a gateway to Europe for traffickers smuggling cannabis and heroin from the Middle East and Southwest Asia to the West and precursor chemicals to the East. Greece also has a problem with money laundering related to drug trafficking and organized crime (CIA, 2011). Greece’s major problem is Turkey with which territorial, maritime complex and air disputes are very frequent. But as of March 10th, Greece and Turkey have resolved an 80-year-old dispute, allowing both countries to expand their embassies in Athens and Ankara, according to Sabah newspaper. Turkey has agreed to buy the four-story building opposite its Athens embassy, complete with a library, Sabah said, citing Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Turkey had previously wanted to purchase the next-door property, it said. Authorities in Ankara will now work for a rapid construction permit for Greece to build on the empty lot it owns in the Kavaklidere region of Ankara, the newspaper said (Bloomberg L.P. , 2011). Background—Turkey
Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL. Under his authoritarian leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have...
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