Connect to share and comment

Greeks see worrisome signs in first 100 days

There's a long history of anti-Americanism in Greece and a tendency to blame the United States for all the world's ills. Like the rest of Europe, Greeks welcomed Barack Obama's election and the end of the George W. Bush era — although Obama-mania didn't stop the annual Nov. 17 protest march, commemorating the crushing of a student revolt by the country's military junta in 1973, which by tradition ends at the U.S. embassy. 

A hundred days in, Greeks generally still prefer America's current president to its previous one. But many are skeptical that he'll be able to change much. Greece's own political system is deeply corrupt and controlled by powerful political parties, so there's little faith here that any one man can challenge the system. 

Obama also worried Greeks with his recent high-profile visit to Turkey. The Greek media kicked up a fuss because, unlike previous administrations, the president did not balance his visit to the powerful Muslim country with one here. They also accused Obama of trying to play down a visit in Istanbul with the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, in order to assuage Turkish sensitivities.

Greeks consider Istanbul — which they still call Constantinople — the spiritual capital of the Orthodox faith and accuse Turkey of persecuting the country's dwindling Christian minority.