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September 24, 2017

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Greeks believe their crisis was 'premeditated': study

ATHENS, Greece--Most Greeks believe that the economic crisis gripping the country for the past four years was "premeditated" by foreign centers of influence, a university survey said on Friday.

The survey of slightly more than 1,000 people, published in Kathimerini daily, also shows that Greeks are firm believers in urban myths.

In answer to a question about whether the crisis was "premeditated by foreign centers of influence," more than 75 percent of those questioned answered yes.

In addition, 69 percent think a cure for cancer exists, 59 percent believe the 2001 al-Qaida attacks were a U.S. plot, and 27 percent said that the 1969 lunar landing was staged.

Greece descended into economic crisis in 2010 after the then socialist government revealed that the state's public deficit estimates had been misreported by the previous conservative administration.

The subsequent loss of confidence in Greece on financial markets pushed Greek borrowing costs to untenable levels and the country was forced to seek an EU-IMF bailout.

The country was unable to repay huge slices of debt incurred on the bond market.

Under deep reforms of the economy and huge cuts in public spending imposed in return for the rescue, hundreds of thousands of Greeks lost their jobs and their wages and pensions were cut sharply.

"The economic crisis seems to exacerbate phenomena of irrational political thought," said George Antoniou, one of the researchers who worked on the project.

The survey was conducted on more than 1,000 people by researchers from the university of Oxford, and the university of Macedonia and the international Hellenic university in Thessaloniki.

It also showed that on a scale of 1 to 7, Greeks trust the Orthodox Church the most, and parliament the least.

Jews, Turks and Americans also rank near the bottom on this scale, and 60 percent of respondents said that Greek Jews "are more Jewish than Greek."

The findings were originally presented at a Berlin conference on anti-Semitism in early July.

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