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Dimitri Kitsikis

Dimitri Kitsikis

Dimitri Kitsikis (Greek: Δημήτρης Κιτσίκης) (born June 2, 1935 in Athens, Greece) is a Greek turkologist, professor of International Relations and Geopolitics.

Life

He is turkologist, professor of International Relations and Geopolitics at the University of Ottawa in Canada since 1970, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he received his doctoral dissertation in 1963 from the Sorbonne in Paris. He is the descendant of a famous Christian Greek-Orthodox family of intellectuals and public figures in Greece, since the 19th century. His father, Nikos (Νικόλαος, 1887-1978), born in Nauplion, professor and rector of the Polytechnical School in Athens, the most famous civil engineer of Greece, was a senator and an MP. His grand father Dimitri Kitsikis senior (1850-1898), chief justice, settled in Athens from Lesbos in 1865, where he married Kassandra, the sister of Dimitri Chatsopoulos (Δημήτρης Χατσόπουλος), Member of Parliament from Karpenesi. Dimitri Kitsikis jr. is truly thus, a Panhellene, with roots from all over Greece. His mother, Beata Petychaki (Μπεάτα Πετυχάκη), the famed feminist and ELAS fighter against the German occupation of Greece, was born in Herakleion, Crete, from a wealthy Cretan family who married Greek Italian nobles from Trieste of mixed Roman Catholic and Orthodox origin. Her father, Emmanuel Petychakes founded a beverage production plant in Cairo, Egypt and her stepfather Aristidis Stergiadis was the High Commissioner of Greece in Smyrna from 1919-1922. Dimitri’s second wife Ada (Ἀδαμαντία) is the daughter of a farmer from the historical Byzantine town of Mystras, near Sparta (he has two children from her: Agis and Kranay) and he himself is a fervent admirer of the Byzantine Empire. Not only is he a Panhellene but also global Hellene - he holds citizenships from France and Canada.

During the Greek civil war, at the age of 12, he was sent to a boarding school in Paris, by Octave Merlier, the head of the French Institute in Athens, because his mother had been condemned to death as a communist fighter. He stayed in France for 23 years with his British wife Anne Hubbard, the daughter of a chief justice, whom he had married in Scotland in 1955, with his two first children, Tatiana and Nicolas. He was expelled from the French University for his active participation as a Maoist in the French student revolt of May 1968. Since 1958, Dimitri Kitsikis had traveled to the P.R. of China where he became a committed Maoist. He was then promoted to associate and later to full professor, after being invited to Canada in 1970 by the University of Ottawa. Since then, he has been living and working in Ottawa as well as in Athens.

Since he was a child he had an idée fixe. He wanted not only to reconcile Greeks and Turks, but also to unite them into a Greek Turkish Confederation and to revive the Ottoman Empire. A devout Orthodox Christian, he came to sympathise with the Turkish religion of Bektashism-Alevism and sought to ally it with Orthodoxy, in order to form a basis for a future political union between Athens and Ankara. Believing in the collaboration of religious communities, as in the millet system of the Ottoman Empire, he worked closely with shia muslims in Iran, Jews in Israel and Hindu vaishnavs in India. His elder son Nicolas has been a Vaishnav since 1984 and lives with his Hindu wife in the Vaishnav community of Gainesville, Florida. Although a member of the official Church of Greece, he always sympathised with the Old-Calendarist movement, the adherents of which reject the Church’s use of the Gregorian (New) calendar and maintain a traditionalist attitude towards Christian life and worship. As Orthodoxy prevailed over the heresy of Iconoclasm in the 9th century and restored the use of the icon in Christian worship, he stands convinced that the Old Calendar will once again be adopted by those Orthodox Churches which rejected it in the earlier part of the 20th century.

At universities in the West, he has been teaching Chinese and Turkish history, political ideologies and geopolitics since the 1970s. His plethora of books, have been translated in many languages, while many articles concerning his work have been published in Chinese, the Balkan languages, German, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. He also taught at the Universities of Boğaziçi in Istanbul and Bilkent in Ankara, where he was one of the closest friends and advisers of the President of the Turkish Republic, Turgut Özal. In Greece, he was resident researcher at the National Institute of Social Studies and taught at Deree College, the American University in Athens.

He is a public figure in Greece and had been a close friend and advisor of Greek President Konstantinos Karamanlis senior in the 1960s and 70s. He contributes regularly with political articles to Greek magazines and since 1996, publishes in Athens a Greek quarterly journal of Geopolitics named after his civilisation model, «Endiamese Perioche, Ἐνδιάμεση Περιοχή» or “Intermediate Region”.

Named after his father, who died in 1978, the “Nikos Kitsikis Library and Archives” resides in the home of family member, the famous high commissioner of Smyrna Aristeides Stergiades (1861-1949), in Herakleion, Crete. Nikos Kitsikis’ statue is placed at the entrance of Herakleion harbour, which as an engineer, he built in 1920. Similarly, Dimitri Kitsikis jr. was honoured by the Greek State in 2006. The latter established and financed the “Dimitri Kitsikis Public Foundation and Library” in Athens.

Philosophy, Thought and Achievements

Dimitri Kitsikis, since the 1960s, has been the recognised theorist, first in Greece and then in Turkey, of the idea of a Greek-Turkish Confederation, which he has promoted by influencing statesmen, politicians, journalists, artists and thinkers in both countries. His books in Turkish became best sellers in Turkey and were praised by the Prime Minister of Turkey. He kept close ties with Prime Ministers Konstantinos Karamanlis senior of Greece and Turgut Özal of Turkey as well as the Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. His books in Greek created one of the greatest controversies ever encountered in Greek historiography. They were even debated in the Greek Parliament. The well-established notion of Greeks enslaved by Turks, as well as a series of beliefs on the Ottoman Empire that had been traditionally taught in schools and universities throughout Greece, such as the story of the so-called “secret school,” were strongly questioned. While his father, Nikos Kitsikis, rector of the Polytechnical School, was a Leftist Member of Parliament, Senator and elected Mayor of Athens, Dimitri Kitsikis is averse towards the parliamentary system, which he regards as foreign to the Greek model of a government by the people or laocracy, Greek “λαοκρατία”.

He has been the initiator in France of the branch of the History of International Relations that deals with propaganda and pressure as a government weapon of foreign policy. He has also opened the way to the study of technocracy in international politics. He has insisted that religion is an essential component of international politics and strove by conferences and other means to facilitate the collaboration between the four main religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. He organised Orthodox dialogues with Iranian Shiites and Indian Hindus. He worked with Israeli Jews and fundamentalist Catholics from Quebec, where he, along with his students, produced the quarterly journal “Aquila” (eagle) which, with a double-headed eagle on the front cover promoted the Byzantine imperial idea amongst catholic circles. Everywhere and at all times, the idea of a global hellenism is prevalent in his works and his teaching.

He has created a model for a new approach of the three political ideologies of Liberalism, Fascism and Communism, and has published on the history of China. He is the founder of the branch of study known as Photohistory. He is also a recognised poet with six collections of poetry published by Pierre Jean Oswald (Paris), Naaman (Québec), Kedros (Κέδρος), Hestia (Ἑστία) and Akritas (Ἀκρίτας.) In 1991 he was honored with the first Greek-Turkish prize for poetry Abdi İpekçi, a Turkish journalist who had been shot dead by terrorists. Some of his poetry books, namely “Omphalos” (1977), “l’Orocc dans l’âge de Kali” (1985) and “le Paradis perdu sur les barricades” (1989-1993), became part of an anthology of 32 Canadian poets by H. Bouraoui and J. Flamand (eds), Ecriture franco-ontarienne d’ aujourd’ hui, Ottawa, Les Editions du Vermillon, 1989.

He is the founder of four concepts that revolutionized the history of the Greek-Turkish Area: a) The “Intermediate Region” (Endiamese Perioche, Ἐνδιάμεση Περιοχή) of civilisation, extending from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River, between the Euro-American West and the Hindu-Chinese East. A published Ph.D. dissertation in German took as its subject this new concept (P. Davarinos, Geschichtsschreibung und Politik, Düsseldorf, Heinrich Heine University, 1995) and the Royal Society of Canada recognized its originality by electing Kitsikis a fellow of the Academy in 1999. b) Eastern Party (Ἀνατολικὴ Παράταξις) versus Western Party (Δυτικὴ Παράταξις) as an antagonist couple; c) Hellenoturkism (Ἑλληνοτουρκισμός) as an ideology and as a phenomenon of civilisation for the last one thousand years; d) Bektashi-Alevi religious origin of the Ottoman Dynasty, the islamisation of which developed hand-in-hand with its secularisation and westernisation.

In 2007, his 34th book was published under the title, "A Comparative History of Greece and China from Antiquity to the Present" (Athens, Herodotos, 345 pages). This is the only book ever published in any language which shows the relationship between these two civilisations, not only during Antiquity, but throughout their history spanning three millennia. The study focuses on two concepts: 1) the Greek-Chinese civilisation in a planetary context and 2) its political expression during the last 2500 years, that is, the ecumenical empire as the ideal organisational model.

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Categories: Geopoliticians | Greek academics | Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada | Greek poets | Historians | Turkologists | 1935 births | Living people

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