Help for Greece coming from across the Atlantic
From the Greek-American lobby to the country’s embassy in Washington, national issues are being raised at fundraisers and on digital media
WASHINGTON DC – The degree to which the Greek-American lobby can actually influence policymaking in the United States is debatable, but some things cannot be denied: A first is the close-knit ties between a number of Greek-American millionaires and big political players in Washington; a second is the persistent efforts of various organizations, institutes and committees to promote the motherland’s so-called “national issues;” and, thirdly, the growing challenges in pushing Greek interests in the
Dimopoulos pointed out one more crucial factor: the need to reach an agreement on a set of key interests. As he says, “I’m for a strong, holistic lobbying campaign; not here, but in Greece. This is where we need to train, inform and win over public opinion, so everyone will be on the same wavelength on issues that are important to all Greeks and on which we should all be united.”
Despite the lack of resources and outside help, the understaffed Greek Embassy in Washington is putting a great deal of energy into social media and digital diplomacy as a member of Washington’s Digital Diplomacy Coalition and with a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr. In fact, the @GreeceInUSA Twitter account was the eighth most influential diplomatic account in Washington. Greek Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos was one of the first diplomats to join the microblogging service.
The embassy does not always deal with high politics, but it is trying to mold a positive image for Greece. A recent social media campaign was aimed at promoting study programs in Greece for foreign students, while the next plan is the promotion of Greek entrepreneurship, innovation and research.
Meanwhile, Turkey is working with FleishmanHillard advertisers to strengthen its presence in social media. The same company is responsible for organizing jazz nights at the stunning residence of the Turkish ambassador, thus promoting not just the political but also the cultural dimension of the country. Turkey is spending millions of euros on the promotion of its objectives through a wide range of channels, including Turkish Airlines as well as the movement of Muhammed Fethullah Gulen.
According to ProPublica, Turkey spent 3.5 million dollars in 2008, the fourth-highest amount among foreign states, and approached members of Congress 2,268 times in its efforts to avert the recognition of the Armenian massacres as a genocide.