I have been following the Athens Review of Books since its first issues. Each time I read it, I find it hard to believe that a publication of such quality circulates every month in the small Greek market. The Greek counterpart of the New York Review of Books has earned a special place in Greek letters and a strong presence in the field of ideas, not only in our country but internationally as well. Now, on the threshold of 10 years in circulation and with its 100th issue forthcoming, not only has it achieved international prestige, but a pan-European negative distinction as well: it is in danger of closure because the recently dismissed Foreign Minister has made it his purpose to destroy it.
On the pretext of a reader’s letter that characterized him as a fanatic Stalinist, Mr. Kotzias dragged the magazine to court and asked for 250,000 euros as "compensation". As Foreign Minister, over the course of 3½ years he illicitly exerted the power of the state for his private legal dispute in order to destroy the magazine, employing as his lawyers I.K. Mantzouranis and F. Kranidiotis. Just recently, however, the magazine’s persecutor publicly confessed that he "served Stalinism", although in his lawsuit he considered this to be... libelous.
A magazine such as the Athens Review of Books, a privileged member of the Republic of Letters, should be supported by the state, not terrorized and persecuted with a shameless use of the apparatus of the state. New Democracy and I personally believe that without freedom of speech and the press there is no democracy. We will defend the freedom of the press and especially a magazine that honors Greek letters. We have already brought the matter to the European Parliament. And, if necessary, we will bring it before the House again. The persecution of The Athens Review of Books is a shame for the Hellenic Republic. It must end, here and now. If it continues, the government will be held responsible.
To the Athens Review of Books, I wish continued success, and may it always raise the bar of quality even higher and reach a thousand issues!