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A.N.A. Bulletin, 05/02/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 805), February 5, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address:


  • [1] Ciller: Islets issue should be treated as casus belli

  • [2] Samaras

  • [3] Greek fishing vessels fired on by Turkish coast guard ship

  • [4] Pangalos: Turkey unfit for Europe

  • [5] Search continued for missing helicopter crew members

  • [6] Papandreou's condition satisfactory

  • [7] Skandalidis calls Gov't actions during crisis positive

  • [8] National defense council meeting held

  • [9] Christopher says Washington impartial during Imia crisis

  • [10] Expatriates react

  • [11] Evert: Greece going through hard times, grief and anger

  • [12] Agriculture exhibition ends in Thessaloniki

  • [1] Ciller: Islets issue should be treated as casus belli

    Istanbul, 05/02/1996 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkey's caretaker Prime Minister Tansu Ciller said Ankara should adopt the same policy for the Aegean islets that it has declared for Greece's possible expansion of territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, namely the declaration of war.

    Ms. Ciller, who spoke to a gathering of Turkish journalists here Saturday night, said that since 1947 Turkey had said nothing regarding the rocky islets nor had Ankara claimed them as Turkish territory. She noted, however, that Turkey would now bring the status of the approximately 1,000 rocky isles and islets, such as Imia, to the attention of international bodies.

    "There are approximately 1,000 islands, islets and rocky isles such as Kardak (Imia) or larger; we shall bring up their status to the international legal arena and the fact that they are Turkish territory," Ms Ciller said.

    She added that she had commissioned a study on the issue and an international drive to inform world opinion of Ankara's position.

    The uninhabited islets do not affect the division of territorial waters between Greece and Turkey. However, should they be settled, the issue of territorial waters would possibly be raised, as well as all other issues contained in the current international law of the sea.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's weak position regarding the islets has been referred to by both the domestic press and Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal, who noted that behind the Imia issue lay the entire question of the Aegean islets' status.

    The caretaker premier herself mentioned Saturday evening that the Imia incident highlighted deficiencies in Ankara's position, especially among the Turkish foreign ministry's files.

    A Greek foreign ministry spokesman, speaking recently on the issue, noted:

    "There is a 1932 agreement between Turkey and Italy settling the issue of the two countries' sovereignty between the coasts of Anatolia (Turkey) and the Dodecaneese group, which then belonged to Italy," spokesman Costas Bikas said, adding:

    "By virtue of the agreement signed on Jan. 4, 1932, the dividing line of the Turkish sea was drawn between Kastellorizo and the coast of Asia Minor and letters were exchanged agreeing to the formation of a joint committee for the demarcation of the remaining borders.

    "In implementation of this agreement, a further agreement was signed in Ankara on Dec. 28, 1932, by representatives of Italy and Turkey, delineating the remaining border line. Article 30 of this agreement clearly states that the Italian-Turkish border passes through the Imia group of islets, which belonged to Italy and the rocky islet of Kato, which belongs to Turkey.

    "By virtue of these agreements and the Paris Peace Agreement of 1947, Greece became Italy's successor with respect to the Dodecaneese, " Mr. Bikas said.

    [2] Samaras

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    In reference to Ms. Ciller's statements on Saturday, Political Spring (Pol.An) President Antonis Samaras made the following comments yesterday:

    "The Ciller provocation forces the government to finally listen to Pol.An's proposal and immediately convene, based on Articles I2 and I8 of the European treaty, a summit council for the urgent matter of Greece's national security," he said.

    "Finally, the government and the premier must understand that they should move forward with direct and decisive actions concerning the Turkish provocation, instead of dealing with internal party disputes..." Mr. Samaras added.

    [3] Greek fishing vessels fired on by Turkish coast guard ship

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    A Turkish coast guard vessel fired machine gun rounds against two Greek fishing vessels operating off the coast of Alexandroupolis on Saturday evening.

    According to reports, the incident occurred in Greek territorial waters at about 8 p.m. Saturday evening in a sea region east of the island of Samothrace, when the Turkish craft began pursuing the fishing vessels "Sotiris" and "Hatzikonstantis."

    During the two-hour chase the Turkish ship fired several times against the fishing boats and also tried to ram them, the boats' captains said.

    No injuries were reported.

    The incident ended after the two fishing vessels joined another 17 Greek boats fishing in the area.

    Port authorities in Alexandroupolis and the merchant marine ministry were notified of the incident.

    [4] Pangalos: Turkey unfit for Europe

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Turkey had no prospects in Europe.

    Addressing a financial conference in Athens and without actually naming Turkey itself, Mr. Pangalos said that any country that did not respect human rights, that questioned the status quo as determined following World War II, and that based its foreign policy on violence and the threat of violence, had no place in the European Union.

    He was referring to the Aegean crisis last week and its consequences for Greece, while several other senior cabinet ministers over the weekend emphasized the need for a revamped national foreign policy strategy.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, addressing reporters at the same financial conference yesterday, said foreign policy was of utmost priority and would be under discussion in a few days at a meeting of the PASOK Executive Bureau, with the participation of Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Mr. Pangalos.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos called for a national effort on the international arena to promote and confirm Greece's rights, in order to clarify any pending matters. The next few months, he added, would be crucial for Greece, particularly since the upcoming EU's inter-governmental conference would be decisive for the future of Europe.

    He said he had briefed German Social Democrat leader Rudolf Scharping on last week's events in the Aegean, adding that there would be meetings with other European socialist leaders and other international initiatives.

    On arrival in Thessaloniki yesterday to attend the 12th Agrotical trade fair, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos declined to comment on the possibility of a visit to Greece by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, and on disputes within the ruling PASOK party over the Aegean incident.

    However, he emphasized that Greece's foreign policy was entering a new phase, for although new factors were emerging, Turkey's expansionist policy remained constant, as well as the US' interest in securing avenues for the transport of petroleum in the a rea.

    Regarding the handling of the Aegean crisis last week, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said:

    "Much has been said about the handling (of the issue)... The government took a responsible stance, as did the PASOK Executive Bureau."

    Any disagreements, he added, were subjective judgments.

    Meanwhile, Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos, also speaking in Thessaloniki yesterday, proposed a national strategy to ensure what he called collective dignity, adding that public opinion polls regarding the new government were "not a safe guide."

    "No one has the right to publicly state that the nation is weak," he said.

    Greece must take into consideration all the circumstances prevailing in the region and follow a foreign policy which is successful in terms of the country's interests rather than the people's emotions, Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas said in re ply to reporters' questions Saturday.

    "It is in our interest to safeguard peace for the country and the prosperity of the Greek people without losing our independence and national identity," Mr. Tzoumakas told reporters.

    Replying to questions on the latest Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean, Mr. Tzoumakas said that "emotions and patriotic sentiments exist, but reason must prevail... we must understand the correlation of forces in the region, that we are not alone, that we are not the centre of the world and that we must co-exist with others."

    On Turkey's role in the region, Mr. Tzoumakas said that "we have neighbors who do not respect international law... and who do not even respect the law in their own country... and we have allies who have their own interests and behavior in the region."

    [5] Search continued for missing helicopter crew members

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    A search for two missing crew members of a Hellenic Navy helicopter that crashed two nautical miles off the islet of Imia early last Wednesday morning continued yesterday.

    The body of the helicopter's pilot was recovered soon after the late-night crash.

    In addition, a search was still under way for the aircraft itself, believed to be lying at a sea depth of about 100 meters. The navy announced that the specially equipped vessels Thetis and Pytheas are taking part in the search, in addition to a team of divers. Meanwhile, within the next few days Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis is expected to submit a report to the government on last week's events in the eastern Aegean.

    [6] Papandreou's condition satisfactory

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK President and founder Andreas Papandreou is continuing to make satisfactory progress, according to a bulletin released yesterday by the Onassion Cardiology Centre.

    The former prime minister, who has been hospitalized for three months, is also continuing to receive physical therapy.

    A medical bulletin issued on Saturday said Mr. Papandreou's condition was satisfactory, adding that a medical procedure was performed to better facilitate kidney dialysis, which the former premier will now undergo once every 48 hours. A medical team treating the 76-year-old former premier said he is steadily recovering. However, doctors expressed some concern over the re-concentration of a small amount of pleuretic fluid on the right side of Mr. Papandreou's chest.

    [7] Skandalidis calls Gov't actions during crisis positive

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis called the government's handling of last week's Aegean crisis positive, one which maintained the peace without selling out any of Greece's sovereign rights.

    However, he said the people's bitterness and disappointment had been justified since the events had been a blow to their patriotism, while the burden was once more being borne by residents of the country's outlying islands.

    Addressing a gathering in Rhodes, Mr. Skandalidis said the government ought to warn its allies in Europe, as well as the US, that Athens' stance was not one of refusal or confrontation, but simply of protection and respect for Greece's sovereign rights.

    If the contradictory views being stated daily, whether officially or unofficially, were not clarified, then a visit to the region by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke would not offer anything positive at this stage, he added.

    With regard to the crisis, Mr. Skandalidis said the government and Prime Minister Costas Simitis had found themselves confronted with an attempt to draw them into negotiations over Greece's sovereign rights, under threat of an incident which could perhaps have developed into a generalized conflict.

    The PASOK secretary also urged politicians and the mass media to refrain from making continuous statements. He also expressed regret at internal party disputes, rumors and distortions which he said only created confusion.

    [8] National defense council meeting held

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis chaired a defense council meeting yesterday, held with the participation of National Defense Under-secretary Nikos Kouris and the armed forces general staff chairmen.

    According to sources, the council focused on the need to reinforce the Hellenic armed forces on the border areas, as well as on a final report on the Imia incident, which is due to be published soon.

    [9] Christopher says Washington impartial during Imia crisis

    Belgrade, 05/02/1996 (ANA-M. Mouratidis)

    US Secretary of State Warren Christopher told the ANA yesterday that the United States did not support Greece or Turkey in the recent Aegean crisis, while expressing satisfaction "for the peaceful outcome" of the crisis.

    "Instead, we have conveyed to Greece and Turkey the US view that the crisis might be overcome in a peaceful way, through face-to-face consultations," he said.

    Mr. Christopher said the US pursuit was to prevent an armed conflict between the two sides, adding that he made it clear "to the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey that the two NATO allies must solve their differences in a peaceful way."

    Mr. Christopher disputed the notion that Washington took sides, adding that he might visit Athens and Ankara before the end of the year.

    He added that US officials will visit both Greece and Turkey in an attempt "to be useful on the issue as the two allies, Greece and Turkey, will move on their own initiatives to find a solution through negotiations."

    The secretary of state refused to elaborate on the possibility of US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke's visit to Greece.

    In another development, the State Department said in Washington Saturday the US government had no list of Aegean islets of doubtful sovereignty.

    The announcement followed statements by State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns Friday, who said he would look into the list.

    The announcement said Washington did not possess a list of islets, and was not aware of any list of Aegean islets of unclear sovereignty.

    "The Aegean," the announcement states, "is a region with a long history, which has been the subject of many differences and discussions.

    "A number of international agreements have been signed on these issues. There are also points on which discussion is still being carried on," it added.

    The announcement further adds that "we are satisfied that the US was in a position to help end the last difference and prevent a serious conflict. Both sides have made difficult steps to retain peace.

    "The US government appreciates the boldness of both the Greek and Turkish governments to proceed to these steps. We have confirmed the way which this conflict has been eased by both governments, especially noting the view of the US government, that the solution will not be against the positions of any of the two sides.

    "The US reaffirms the commitment to the principles of respect of international treaties, territorial integrity of the interested parties, and international recognized borders."

    In Athens, Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair an inner cabinet meeting today to decide on the visit of Mr. Holbrooke to Greece, whose statements last week caused the displeasure of the Greek government.

    [10] Expatriates react

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    In another development in the United States on Friday, the Council of Hellenes Abroad sent an announcement to US President Bill Clinton, calling on him "to take the matter of Greece's sovereignty rights personally" and "strongly convey to Turkey that any violations of its neighbor's territory will not be tolerated by the US."

    "Furthermore, there was a reaction of great shock to the State Department spokesman's recent refusal to acknowledge Greek sovereign territory as such," the statement added.

    "As a strategically located country that has been an American ally in every conflict this century, such treatment of Greece is considered by many Americans to be extremely inappropriate."

    In Canada, members of the Greek community attended yesterday a memorial service in the St. George Orthodox Cathedral in the memory of the three Greek officers, one of which died and the other two are missing, believed dead, when their helicopter crashed into the sea during the Imia incident.

    In a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chritien, the Hellenic-Canadian Congress requests that the government of Canada condemn Turkish designs against Greek islets and notes that "Turkey as a NATO member should at last learn to respect international treaties, which delineate its borders with its neighboring countries."

    [11] Evert: Greece going through hard times, grief and anger

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert on Saturday told the sixth Panhellenic Women's Conference in Athens that "our country is going through hard times, times of grief and anger."

    He was referring to the critical period following the recent Imia incident, which resulted in the death of three Greek officers after the crash of their helicopter in the area.

    "This sacrifice will not go to waste," Mr. Evert said.

    "The children and the history of this country do not die. And the flag is not lowered," he added.

    Political Spring executive bureau secretary Manolis Kalamidas on Saturday warned the government that the US "will force Greece into a destructive dialogue over the Aegean."

    "Europe must therefore recognize our borders in the Aegean as European borders," he said in a statement.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) parliamentary spokesman Mitsos Kostopoulos on Saturday criticized Mr. Evert for his accusations against Greece's military leadership during the Aegean crisis, saying he was operating in the framework of political and party interests.

    "KKE will not deny proposals for the investigation of the Imia incident," Mr. Kostopoulos said, accusing the US of promoting turmoil in the region.

    In statements over the weekend, Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos called on Premier Costas Simitis to convene a political leaders' council and establish a foreign policy council meeting. Referring to the US attitude in the Aegean crisis, Mr. Constantopoulos said it "encouraged Turkish provocativeness."

    In another development, some 50 members of the extreme right-wing group "Hrisi Avgi" marched to the Turkish Embassy yesterday in protest of the Imia incident.

    [12] Agriculture exhibition ends in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 05/02/1996 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos was among the weekend visitors attending the 12th Agrotica Exhibition, held in Thessaloniki's Helexpo Trade Fair Centre.

    The exhibition, which ended yesterday, was visited by businessmen and trade officials from the Balkans as well as Austria, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Cyprus, Lebanon, Britain, the Netherlands and Slovakia.

    During the fair, a host of trade agreements were signed between Greek and international businessmen. According to organizers, on Saturday alone more than 36,456 visitors and trade officials attended, a record number compared to last year's figure.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed satisfaction at the variety and quality of exhibits as well as the fair's organization.

    The minister said this year's Agrotica was proof of the reform of labor in agriculture.

    "It's clear that agricultural produce should become more competitive in order for Greek products to survive in the local market," he said.

    He added that Greek products faced intense competition from imported produce.

    Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday opened a seminar in Thessaloniki entitled: "The Contribution of Female Farmworkers to the Development of the Countryside," which was held within the framework of the 12th Agrotica Conference.

    Mr. Tzoumakas said the legislative framework for equality between male and female farmworkers has been established, but "in reality, equality has yet to be achieved."

    The seminar was organized by the agriculture ministry, the Agriculture Bank, the Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) and the General Secretariat of Equality.

    Stressing the importance of establishment and operation of 13 farming schools in Greece, Mr. Tzoumakas said "agricultural education is necessary in order to produce competitive products."

    Mr. Tzoumakas said that in order for Greek products to be globally competitive, the Greek farmer should be professionally educated, while the quality of produce improved.

    Another seminar entitled "Traditional Foods - Past, Present and Future," was opened Saturday by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos.

    The seminar was also held within the framework of the 1996 Agrotica Conference and organized by an agriculturalists' union.

    In opening the seminar, the minister said globalization of markets has caused a series of changes in nutritional habits, "but recently a trend for traditional foods has been noted."

    He said that in the past Greek foods were often perceived as "exotic" by consumers in western markets.

    However, the said Greek foods have now become a more popular for other westerners, as a result of the increasing numbers of tourists visiting Greece.

    End of English language section.

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