POLL: As US wades into row, should UK hand Elgin Marbles back to Greece?

The artefacts, which date back to the 5th Century BC, are regarded as some of the finest examples of marble sculpture in the world. Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin and British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, took them from the Parthenon in Athens between 1801 and 1805.

Greece has long pushed for their return – and now has the support of 18 members of the US House of Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans, who have written to Mr Johnson to outline their concerns.

Their letter states: “The Marbles have been the source of controversy among western allies for many decades.

“Greece has long wanted these Parthenon Marbles back.

“Today we write to you as members of the congressional caucus on Hellenic Issues to urge your government to negotiate with the Greek government in earnest on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.”

The group urges the return of the sculptures by 2021 – the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the modern Greek nation.

The letter adds: “We remain appreciative of your efforts and good will in support of the historic special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, and look forward to strengthening that relationship through the accomplishment of matters such as this.”

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In Greece, the remaining marbles are laid out with gaps for the ones currently in the UK.

Protesters were pictured outside the British Museum, in Holborn, yesterday dressed as statues and carrying signs sharing the hashtag #lostmymarbles.

In June, the Greek newspaper Ta Nea quoted a UK Government spokesman as saying: “The UK’s position on the Parthenon sculptures remains unchanged – they are legally owned by the British Museum.

“This will not be up for discussion in any future trade negotiations.”

Also speaking to Ta Nea last year, British Museum director Hartwig Fischer defended the acquisition of the Marbles, saying: “When you move cultural heritage into a museum, you move it out of context.

“Yet that displacement is also a creative act.”

Mr Johnson himself is unlikely to be swayed by the US politicians if his track record is anything to go by.

In 2015, during a debate with academic Mary Beard at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, he said the Marbles had been “rescued, quite rightly, by Elgin”.

A survey undertake on June 4, 2018 with a sample of 2658 British adults indicated broad support for the return of the sculptures.

The YouGov poll suggested 56 percent believed they belonged in Greece, with just 20 percent saying they should stay in the UK, and 20 percent undecided.



POLL: As US wades into row, should UK hand Elgin Marbles back to Greece?

The artefacts, which date back to the 5th Century BC, are regarded as some of the finest examples of marble sculpture in the world. Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin and British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, took them from the Parthenon in Athens between 1801 and 1805.

Greece has long pushed for their return – and now has the support of 18 members of the US House of Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans, who have written to Mr Johnson to outline their concerns.

Their letter states: “The Marbles have been the source of controversy among western allies for many decades.

“Greece has long wanted these Parthenon Marbles back.

“Today we write to you as members of the congressional caucus on Hellenic Issues to urge your government to negotiate with the Greek government in earnest on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.”

The group urges the return of the sculptures by 2021 – the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the modern Greek nation.

The letter adds: “We remain appreciative of your efforts and good will in support of the historic special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, and look forward to strengthening that relationship through the accomplishment of matters such as this.”

READ MORE: Taiwan invasion: China ‘rehearsing takeover’ of island – Trump warned

In Greece, the remaining marbles are laid out with gaps for the ones currently in the UK.

Protesters were pictured outside the British Museum, in Holborn, yesterday dressed as statues and carrying signs sharing the hashtag #lostmymarbles.

In June, the Greek newspaper Ta Nea quoted a UK Government spokesman as saying: “The UK’s position on the Parthenon sculptures remains unchanged – they are legally owned by the British Museum.

“This will not be up for discussion in any future trade negotiations.”

Also speaking to Ta Nea last year, British Museum director Hartwig Fischer defended the acquisition of the Marbles, saying: “When you move cultural heritage into a museum, you move it out of context.

“Yet that displacement is also a creative act.”

Mr Johnson himself is unlikely to be swayed by the US politicians if his track record is anything to go by.

In 2015, during a debate with academic Mary Beard at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, he said the Marbles had been “rescued, quite rightly, by Elgin”.

A survey undertake on June 4, 2018 with a sample of 2658 British adults indicated broad support for the return of the sculptures.

The YouGov poll suggested 56 percent believed they belonged in Greece, with just 20 percent saying they should stay in the UK, and 20 percent undecided.



Holiday horror: NASA satellite shows deadly hurricane as freak weather devastates Greece

A freak Mediterranean hurricane known as a ‘medicane’ has ravaged Greek islands, and even completely washed away entire beaches. The devastation has uprooted trees, severely flooded entire cities and caused power cuts on the Ionian islands and the western Peloponnese. Cyclone Ianos swept through central Greece last night and has even reached the Greek capital of Athens, with an emergency was declared at Zakynthos.

Greek civil protection authorities have been put on maximum alert for the aftermath of the hurricane. 

Authorities have confirmed that at least two people have died so far from the medicane. 

Greece’s national meteorological office issued a red alert for the Ionian isles, Peloponnese peninsula and central Greece.

The Hellenic National Meteorological Service (HNMS) warned of a threat to life throughout the country.

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The weather agency warned of “severe rain and thunderstorms and gale-force winds” through the weekend, with Crete also at risk later on Sunday. 

Five boats sank off Zakynthos and Lefkada on Friday.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said the government will provide economic relief to the affected areas.

He said: “Saving human lives is our priority.”

The fire brigade revealed it has received more than 2,450 calls for assistance. 

Nikolaos Gousios, a resident at Farsala, told state TV: “We’re dealing with a total catastrophe.”

Eyewitnesses posted footage online showing the cyclone even washing away the entire Jerusalem Beach on Friday. 

Waves were described as 7 metres high when the cyclone struck Greece, with train services linking the north and south of the country completely cut.



Turkey slams 'Napoleon' Macron for meddling in Greece tensions – 'Protecting what's ours'

Turkey and Greece have been embroiled in a bitter battle of wills further exacerbated by the intervention of Emmanuel Macron in support of Athens. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar warned the French President he must stop interfering if the ongoing dispute is to be resolved quickly. Speaking to Channel 4 News, Mr Akar said: “Mr Macron is not contributing to a solution here.

“He is pouring fuel onto the problems and this is why the issue is being prolonged. Mr Macron himself is dreaming.

“He is trying to take on the role of Napoleon, who died 200 years ago. But we can all see that he is neither powerful enough nor tall enough to do it.

“We are not pursuing any kind of imperialistic aims. Here we are protecting our rights and the law.”

The latest bout of tensions between Ankara and Athens is the result of Turkey refusing to back down from conducting energy research in the disputed section of the Eastern Mediterranean. 

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Asked whether his country will keep up with the research, Mr Akar said: “Of course we will continue to do it.

“This is the right and law of out 83 million people and of the nation. This is not a threat against anyone.”

President Macron has been trying to broker a new treaty between Greece and Turkey in a bid to deescalate the tensions but with little success so far.

On Wednesday, former Secretary-General of the Turkish Ministry of National Defence Ümit Yalım claimed Athens had not sovereignty over a group of Aegean islands and should evacuate their citizens immediately.

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Speaking to Turkish website Haber 7, Mr Yalım said: “The legal status of the islands located in the north of the Aegean Sea was determined by the Six Great States Decision of 1914 and the Lausanne Treaty of 1923.

“Greece was given only the right to use of the islands of the North Aegean and not the right of sovereignty

“The areas of sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction as well as the airspace of the islands of Thassos, Samothrace, Lemnos, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Ikaria, Psara and Agios Efstratios remained in Turkey.”

Germany, who is currently leading the European Council until January 2021, suggested action could be taken at the European level to ensure Turkey stands down.

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Dr Ernst Reichel, Germany’s ambassador to Athens, told the Standing European Affairs Committee of the Greek Parliament Ankara could soon see the “stick” of the Council.

Dr Reichel said: “Germany, during its European Union presidency, maybe at the next European Council, will talk to Turkey with the threat of sanctions and the general deterioration of its relationship with the EU.

“We are dealing with a difficult neighbour and this is a problem we have not only with Turkey but also with Russia, which is also a difficult neighbour.

“We must persuade Turkey and the question is how to persuade it. I believe the right answer is with a stick and carrot approach. I want to say that the European Council will show Turkey the stick very soon.”



Turkey demands Greece pull troops as fears of full blown war erupt – 'Have sense!'

Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s Minister of Defence, visited Turkish island Antifellos and called for Greece to demilitarise 18 neighbouring islands. It comes after Greek troops were spotted mobilising on Kastellorizo, a short distance from Antifellos, and other islands in response to Turkey’s ships using contested waters to search for oil. Both countries have accused the other of breaking international law and have been embroiled in conflict over maritime rights in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Mr Akar claimed Greece’s increased military presence on the islands is “violation of international agreements and increases tensions” and stressed a desire to see the territory dispute resolved.

He added while visiting Antifellos: “An area of 40,000 kilometers is granted to Greece for Kastellorizo and this is not acceptable to us.

“We call on everyone to have sense. This is not how problems are solved.”

The Turkish minister’s comments came as Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou visited Kastellorizo to mark independence celebrations, which provoked Turkey.

READ MORE: Macron SHAMED: Turkey brands French President’s intervention ‘arrogant’ in stinging jibe

During his visit to Kastellorizo, Mr Sakellaropoulou hit out at Turkey for “mounting pressure” on Greece due to their actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He said to reporters: “We are going through a difficult and dangerous period.

“The Turkish leadership… is undermining the peaceful coexistence that was built over many decades by Greeks and Turks, who saw the sea between them not as an impenetrable frontier but as a passage of communication.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also refused to demilitarise the islands, issuing a categorical Oxi, meaning no, response.

Mr Mitsotakis also said he was open to meeting with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He added: “Of course I can meet with the Turkish President and I am not against such a possibility.”

But he also warned the EU will always be able to hit Turkey with a “list of sanctions”.

Despite the threat, Mr Mitsotakis insisted Greece wants to de-escalate the conflict, and said: “Greece is ready to start a new round of contacts with Turkey”

Turkey also savaged Greece for its massive “robust” arms deal with France, claiming it “ignores” the rights of Turkish Cypriots.

Mr Mitsotakis said Greece would acquire 18 Rafale jets, four multi-purpose frigates and four navy helicopters.

He also announced Greece is recruiting 15,000 new troops and pouring extra resources into the national arms industry and cyber-attack defence.

In a brutal attack on Emmanuel Macron over the deal, Mr Akar said: “It’s a fact that what France is doing is for commercial purposes.

“It wants to strengthen its economy by equipping Greece, but … there has never been a result from the work being done under Macron’s leadership and his policies have gone bankrupt.”



Turkey demands Greece pull troops as fears of full blown war erupt – 'Have sense!'

Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s Minister of Defence, visited Turkish island Antifellos and called for Greece to demilitarise 18 neighbouring islands. It comes after Greek troops were spotted mobilising on Kastellorizo, a short distance from Antifellos, and other islands in response to Turkey’s ships using contested waters to search for oil. Both countries have accused the other of breaking international law and have been embroiled in conflict over maritime rights in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Mr Akar claimed Greece’s increased military presence on the islands is “violation of international agreements and increases tensions” and stressed a desire to see the territory dispute resolved.

He added while visiting Antifellos: “An area of 40,000 kilometers is granted to Greece for Kastellorizo and this is not acceptable to us.

“We call on everyone to have sense. This is not how problems are solved.”

The Turkish minister’s comments came as Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou visited Kastellorizo to mark independence celebrations, which provoked Turkey.

READ MORE: Macron SHAMED: Turkey brands French President’s intervention ‘arrogant’ in stinging jibe

During his visit to Kastellorizo, Mr Sakellaropoulou hit out at Turkey for “mounting pressure” on Greece due to their actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He said to reporters: “We are going through a difficult and dangerous period.

“The Turkish leadership… is undermining the peaceful coexistence that was built over many decades by Greeks and Turks, who saw the sea between them not as an impenetrable frontier but as a passage of communication.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also refused to demilitarise the islands, issuing a categorical Oxi, meaning no, response.

Mr Mitsotakis also said he was open to meeting with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He added: “Of course I can meet with the Turkish President and I am not against such a possibility.”

But he also warned the EU will always be able to hit Turkey with a “list of sanctions”.

Despite the threat, Mr Mitsotakis insisted Greece wants to de-escalate the conflict, and said: “Greece is ready to start a new round of contacts with Turkey”

Turkey also savaged Greece for its massive “robust” arms deal with France, claiming it “ignores” the rights of Turkish Cypriots.

Mr Mitsotakis said Greece would acquire 18 Rafale jets, four multi-purpose frigates and four navy helicopters.

He also announced Greece is recruiting 15,000 new troops and pouring extra resources into the national arms industry and cyber-attack defence.

In a brutal attack on Emmanuel Macron over the deal, Mr Akar said: “It’s a fact that what France is doing is for commercial purposes.

“It wants to strengthen its economy by equipping Greece, but … there has never been a result from the work being done under Macron’s leadership and his policies have gone bankrupt.”



Greece refugee camp fire: Panic as 13,000 at risk from blaze – 'We will burn to death!'

A refugee camp in Moira, Greece, was filmed on fire just after midnight tonight. Stand By Me Lesvos, the media team for the refugee camp, has reported shootings and protestors, and has claimed the fire brigade has been called to the scene.

The refugee camp reported “a kind of uprising” took place on the grounds at 10pm BST.

Stand By Me Lesvos posted on their social media the new isolation area was “looted”, along with other buildings.

They added: “Currently various fires in the camp are reported and it seems even shootings happen. 

“It’s a nightmare coming true, but a nightmare that could have been easily prevented and all the months were not used for it.”

The camp, split into various zones to keep distance between groups, was filmed burning.

At 9:58pm BST, the non-profit posted a video of the camp, which saw fires in three zones.

The video also captured the sound of gunshots and of panicked refugees.

At 10:05pm BST, the group issued an update that said: “Fires are spreading everywhere and the fire brigades seemed entrance by some angry protesters. 

“Our partners in the camp say that the situation is getting worse every minute.”

Stand By Me Lesvos is a non-profit group working with refugees to help them learn and develop skills.

Recently the group declared an emergency due to the risk of their refugee population catching coronavirus.

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Greece refugee camp fire: Panic as 13,000 at risk from blaze – 'We will burn to death!'

A refugee camp in Moira, Greece, was filmed on fire just after midnight tonight. The camp is managed by the Municipality of Mytilene and UNHCR. The media team for the refugee camp has reported shootings and protestors, and has claimed the fire brigade has been called to the scene.

The refugee camp reported “a kind of uprising” took place on the grounds at 10pm BST.

Small fires were started in the encampments, and the media team reported shootings.

An hour after the incident began, the media team said the fires had reached a makeshift hospital.

The media team posted at 1am BST that migrants were escaping the camp, but were reportedly met by attacks from locals.

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Turkey issues military warning to EU over clash with Greece – ‘Ready for anything’

In a strongly-worded speech, President Erdogan said this weekend Turkey is prepared for every possibility and consequence regarding the Eastern Mediterranean issue. Speaking at the opening ceremony of a hospital in Istanbul, he stressed that Turkey has “the political, economic, and military power to tear away immoral maps and documents imposed by others”.

Ankara and Athens have been locked in a bitter dispute over claims to potential hydrocarbon resources in the region, based on conflicting views on the extent of their continental shelves.

Turkey sent a survey vessel, escorted by frigates, to explore for oil and gas in waters claimed by Greece, a move Athens said was illegal last month.

A collision between the Greek and Turkish warships shadowing the survey vessel last month highlighted the risk of conflict whilst Turkey has also undertaken military drills.

The EU has already imposed minor sanctions against Ankara over the matter and the 27 EU leaders will tackle it again soon at an upcoming meeting in Brussels.

EU Council President Charles Michel, who will host the meeting, said the EU would reaffirm its support for Greek and Cypriot sovereignty.

Mr Michel, who is due to travel to Greece, Cyprus and Malta before the summit, also proposed an international conference on the eastern Mediterranean involving the key parties and NATO.

Michel said the gathering could discuss the thorny issue of maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, energy, security and migration.

In a statement, Mr Michel said they were focusing on a “carrot and stick” approach when they meet on September 24th and 25th.

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He added: “There is no need for such hysterical behaviour from France, it makes them look laughable.

“We are two NATO member countries.”

Relations between the EU and Ankara could be seen as bilateral as Ankara has long sought an upgrade of its customs union with the EU.

The process has been stalled over President Erdogan’s sweeping anti-terrorism legislation that underpinned widespread jailings of opponents following an abortive 2016 military coup.

At the same time, the bloc relies on Turkey to prevent millions of Syrian and other refugees and migrants on its soil from heading to the EU, where migration feuds have spurred the rise of eurosceptic nationalist parties in recent years.

The EU has already promised 6 billion euros to help Turkey host migrants but Ankara has long complained the money was too slow to arrive.



Greece rejects Nato peace talks as Turkey feud erupts with order to remove warships

Athens insisted the only way to de-escalate the situation was for Turkey to withdraw its warships from Greek waters. The furious rebuke comes after Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg claimed the two members of the military alliance had agreed to technical talks to defuse a row over energy exploration. Mr Stoltenberg said: “Following my discussions with Greek and Turkish leaders, the two allies have agreed to enter into technical talks at Nato to establish deconfliction mechanisms and rescue the risk of incidents and accidents in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

He added: “I remain in close touch with all concerned allies to find a solution to the tensions in the spirit of Nato solidarity.”

But Greek diplomatic sources hit back, claiming the Nato chief’s statement “does not correspond to reality”.

“De-escalation is only the immediate removal of all Turkish ships from the Greek waters,” one source said.

Tensions between Nato members Greece and Turkey have reached breaking point in recent weeks.

It comes after Ankara decided to send its Oruc Reis research vessel, accompanied by a naval escort, into Greek territorial waters to hunt for natural gas.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced several extensions to his exploration programme despite the threat of European Union sanctions.

The Turkish foreign ministry voiced its support for Nato to mediate discussions between the two parties.

A statement said: “This initiative, which is also supported by Turkey, refers to the initiation of military-technical meetings between the two countries with Nato, as the secretary-general announced.”

“We expect Greece to support this initiative of the secretary-general of Nato,” the Turkish foreign ministry added.

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It is understood he is most concerned about France’s response to the stand-off after Emmanuel Macron sent warships to the Mediterranean.

“The support offered by some countries to the selfish and unjust attitude of Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean is unacceptable,” President Erdogan said.