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A.N.A. Bulletin, 19/08/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 966), August 19, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Simitis in Cyprus underlines need for more international efforts to solve Cyprus problem

  • [2] Cyprus, Greece issue unanimous communiqui

  • [3] Simitis, Clerides pay respects to bereaved families

  • [4] Michaelides: Cyprus ready to embark on peace process

  • [5] UNFICYP condemns 'unnecessary force' by Turkish occupation troops

  • [6] President of the Republic responds to Erbakan's statements

  • [7] Clerides, Arsenis pledge to pursue Greek-Cyprus joint defense doctrine

  • [8] Gov't regrets rowdy demonstrations outside Turkish consulates

  • [9] Ciller calls for protection of Turkish missions


  • [1] Simitis in Cyprus underlines need for more international efforts to solve Cyprus problem

    Athens, 19/08/1996 (ANA)

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Saturday in Nicosia that Greece and Cyprus had unanimously decided to intensify co-operation in the international arena to protest Turkish aggression, facilitate Cyprus' accession to the European Union and boost bilateral defense co-operation.

    Mr. Simitis has also reiterated that any fresh advance by Turkey in Cyprus would signify war.

    "Any offensive against Cyprus will meet an immediate and decisive response from us," Mr. Simitis said.

    The Greek premier was talking to reporters after a nine-hour working visit to the island for talks with the Cypriot leadership on ways to intensify diplomatic activity internationally for the purpose of condemning Turkey's recent behavior and provocations.

    During his visit Mr. Simitis attended a Cyprus National Council meeting, the island's top advisory body to the Cypriot president on the handling of the Cyprus problem.

    Greek Foreign Minister Thedoros Pangalos, Press Minister Dimitris Reppas and ruling PASOK party Eurodeputy Yannos Kranidiotis also attended the meeting.

    Prior to attending the meeting the Greek premier held talks with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides. He later held a meeting with Archbishop Chrysostomos who briefed him on the positions of the Church on the national cause. Mr. Simitis also met with the leadership of the Cypriot Bikers' Federation who told him that "defeatism is a serious hazard to the country."

    "The only way we can solve the problem is through peaceful diplomatic efforts, continuous pressure in international fora and alliances we have," the Greek prime minister told reporters upon departure from Larnaca airport.

    "Efforts should continue unabated to help solve the Cyprus problem and we will seek new avenues to achieve this goal," he said.

    "There is no other way to find a settlement than the peaceful method, this is our policy and we shall stick to it," Mr. Simitis said, stressing that the joint defense doctrine between Greece and Cyprus could serve only as a deterrent to prevent any Turkish offensive against Cyprus.

    Asked whether he saw any sense in a dialogue with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Mr. Simitis said talks "with one or other person will depend on the circumstances," but refrained from taking a position on whether President Glafcos Clerides should meet with Mr. Denktash:

    "This is a matter for Cyprus to decide," he replied.

    Referring to fresh initiatives that need to be undertaken to press on with a settlement in Cyprus, Mr. Simitis said "the process relating to the European Union provides further assistance towards a settlement because the EU wants to see peace and security in the region."

    On the prospect of Cyprus's accession to the European Union, Mr. Simitis expressed hope that "the Turkish side will understand that Cyprus' course to Europe is irreversible and that it will co-operate in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem."

    Asked if there was a shift from the ultimate goal of establishing a federation in Cyprus, he said that "whatever has been agreed so far still stands and will stand in the future."

    "If a change is needed it will be discussed in the future," Mr. Simitis said.

    The Greek prime minister arrived to a warm welcome by civilians and bikers flying Greek flags and chanting slogans in Cyprus a day after the funeral of Solomos Solomou, 26, who was shot dead on Wednesday by Turkish occupation army troops as he was climbing on a flagpole flying the Turkish flag on the buffer zone in Dherynia, in southeastern Cyprus. Last Sunday, his cousin, Tassos Isaac was savagely beaten to death on the same spot by Turkish soldiers and a mob as he protested the Turkish occupation of t he island.

    "Greece is here. Hellenism is here. Together with Cyprus we will all be here in the struggle for a just, viable solution to the Cyprus problem," the Greek prime minister said on arrival at Larnaca airport.

    "We are here to show that Hellenism, united as one, stands up to Turkey's provocations, as well as to reaffirm our unwavering position that Cyprus' struggle is the struggle of the entire nation," Mr. Simitis said .

    The premier said his visit to Cyprus was "of a substantial nature." Its aim, he continued, was "to brief each other, to discuss and chart the directions for our next steps, together with the political leadership of the Cyprus Republic."

    "As you know, the efforts made to date to resolve the problem of the hostile occupation, chiefly within the framework of the United Nations, have not been successful. So we have to consider and undertake additional initiatives," Mr. Simitis said.

    "Unfortunately, the recent events, the murders and injury of unarmed citizens has shown to the entire international public opinion what we have known for some time. They illustrated the provocative stance of Turkey, the fact that it ignores the rules of law, the rules of international law and the resolutions of international organizations. And there is no doubt whatsoever that this behavior of Turkey during the last few days has further worsened Greek-Turkish relations," he added.

    "On our part," the premier went on, "we condemn Turkey's unacceptable actions before the international community and we shall continue our efforts at all international organizations, and particularly the European Union, as well as at a bilateral level with all countries, so that the international community may at long last assume its responsibilities and exert the appropriate pressure on the Turkish side. The cease-fire line, which has for the past 22 years divided Cyprus in two, is a monument of disgrace." "Today, when Europe is strengthening its ties of solidarity, today when Europe is promoting co-operation, today when it is opting for unification in order for there to be a common future, the division of Cyprus is not compatible with the future expected by the peoples of Europe. Cyprus can no longer remain the last country in Europe which is divided, split in two, without basic freedoms, such as the freedom to settle and of communication," Mr. Simitis stressed.

    "Greece will continue its undivided support for the Cyprus Republic and Cypriot Hellenism. Co-operation between Greece and Cyprus will be close in all sectors, whether this concerns the restoration of a country without (internal) borders, partitioning walls, or our defense effort within the framework of the joint defense doctrine, as well as the accession of the Cyprus Republic to the European Union," Mr. Simitis said.

    "Our message is one and one alone. Greece is here, Hellenism is here, together with Cyprus, we will all be here, in the struggle for a just, viable solution to the Cyprus problem," the premier added.

    Welcoming Mr. Simitis, Mr. Clerides said that the presence of the Greek premier on the island illustrated "in practice" the great interest of the Greek government and Greek people in the Cyprus problem, the priority which they give to "this great nation al issue" and their support and co-operation for efforts to resolve the problem.

    In statements yesterday, main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yielded support to the mutual decision between Greece and Cyprus to intensify a diplomatic campaign in order to attain a peaceful settlement to the Cyprus problem but raised once again the issue of a political leaders council meeting along with a series of specific proposals.

    Commenting on the outcome of the extraordinary Cypriot National Council meeting, Mr. Evert said that "despite their righteousness, views and conclusions are never enough for an immediate finding and promotion of a just and viable solution to the great national problem of Cyprus, as well as for the effective dealing of constantly rising and intensifying Turkish provocations."

    Calling for immediate decisions, Mr. Evert said such decisions should be based on a long-term national foreign, defense policy, "which is absent today."

    "Once more I call on the prime minister to rise to his mission and depend on the responsibility and decisiveness of all political forces of the country and to define under (the supervision of the) President of the Republic, the strategy that the current critical situation calls for."

    President of the Political Spring party Antonis Samaras, who was in Cyprus to attend the funeral of Solomos Solomou on Friday, called on Mr. Simitis yesterday to clarify whether he had agreed to a dialogue between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. Mr. Samaras said the Cypriot president was under pressure to conduct a dialogue with Mr. Denktash and that such a meeting would constitute an "offense to the memory" of the two murdered youths.

    "Mr. Denktash's position is not at the negotiations table but in the dock of an international court, as a war criminal," he said in a statement.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) lashed out against the premier saying that his statements following the Cypriot National Council meeting aimed at "disorientation as well as to conceal subordination to the Imperialists and to 'soothe' the Greek and the Cypriot people."

    "The Greek government is consciously nurturing illusions that a Cyprus EU accession will contribute to the solution of the problem," the KKE announcement said.

    [2] Cyprus, Greece issue unanimous communiqui

    Nicosia, 19/08/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    Greece and Cyprus, having reviewed recent developments in Cyprus, unanimously decided on Saturday to intensify co-operation in the international arena to protest Turkish aggression, facilitate Cyprus' accession to the European Union and boost bilateral defense co-operation.

    Government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides, who read the joint communiqui, issued after nearly three hours of talks between Cyprus' political leadership in the presence of the Greek PM, said also that the recent upsurge of Turkish aggression, demands "continuous vigilance to deal with any provocation."

    The extraordinary session of the National Council reviewed the situation in Cyprus and the Cyprus question in the light of the recent killings of two Greek Cypriot demonstrators by Turkish troops in the buffer zone, Mr. Cassoulides said.

    He said that after an exchange of views all sides have agreed that the indignation of the people of Cyprus and the entire nation is totally justified but stressed that neither government in Greece or Cyprus would be dragged into heightened tension, as Ankara is seeking.

    "Both will continue, steadily and decisively, to protect their inalienable rights," the communiqui said.

    Nicosia and Athens have undertaken an international campaign to protest the recent Turkish acts and the general role Turkey plays in the Cyprus problem, it added.

    Mr. Cassoulides said that "a specific plan of action to protest and condemn the Turkish side" was agreed upon but avoided giving any further details except that the culprits of the recent criminal acts must be punished.

    The unanimous communiqui said that "efforts for Cyprus' bid to join the European Union will continue and intensify and co-operation and coordination of moves towards this goal will continue in a pressing manner."

    EU accession prospects, it added, open up new possibilities for a solution of the Cyprus question.

    Saturday's meeting reaffirmed the importance of "further promoting the defense co-operation between Greece and Cyprus and it was stressed once more by the Greek PM that any further advance by Turkey is casus belli (cause for war)."

    Cyprus and Greece also said that the "the demilitarization of Cyprus continues to be the best means for peace and stability."

    The political leadership reiterated that UN decisions on Cyprus and the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979 (signed by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides) "form the framework for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus question" and pointed out that the efforts and good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General provide the best method to seek a solution.

    The agreements provide for the establishment of a bicommunal bizonal federation on this east Mediterranean island that has been divided since the Turkish invasion in 1974.

    "The fait accompli of the Turkish invasion and occupation cannot be accepted," the communiqui said.

    Cyprus and Greece will continue to show keen interest in the issue of the missing persons and the improvement of the living conditions of enclaved Greek Cypriots in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus.

    The National Council will convene again tomorrow to take decisions on a number of issues, Mr. Cassoulides announced later.

    Asked if the Council decided yesterday on whether President Glafcos Clerides intends to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, as requested by the occupation leader, Mr. Cassoulides replied that this and a number of other issues will be discussed tomorrow.

    [3] Simitis, Clerides pay respects to bereaved families

    Paralimni, Cyprus, 19/08/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Saturday visited the homes of Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, both killed by Turkish forces during peaceful demonstrations against the continuing Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus.

    The two leaders first expressed their condolences to Isaac's family. Isaac was savagely beaten to death by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot extremists, including so-called police officers, a week ago on Sunday.

    The two leaders were greeted by Paralimni mayor Nikos Vlittis and local peoples, who welcomed them with continuous applause.

    The Greek premier offered his condolences to Isaac's black-clad family and widow, who is expecting.

    Mr. Simitis, accompanied by his Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his entourage, expressed sadness and pain for Isaac's loss, a young man who wanted to show injustice Cyprus is suffering as a result of the Turkish occupation.

    "Your sacrifice will not go in vain," Mr. Simitis said in his brief remarks in reply to a welcoming address by the mayor of this eastern town.

    He also said the National Council, which met on Saturday in his presence, dealt with the barbaric murders of the two young men and adopted a plan of action to inform world public opinion and international fora and expose Turkish criminal acts, seeking a t the same time its condemnation.

    Mr. Vlittis expressed the hope that the sacrifices were not in vain and that it would be exploited in an appropriate manner to expose Turkish barbarity and the injustice the continuing occupation imposes on Cyprus.

    Later, the Greek premier visited the family of Solomou, shot dead by Turkish troops while trying to pull down the Turkish flag from its pole on Wednesday during a demonstration protesting Isaac's murder.

    Turning to Solomou's father, Mr. Simitis said: "I am not crying. I am proud of your son".

    [4] Michaelides: Cyprus ready to embark on peace process

    Nicosia, 19/08/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    Cyprus is ready to embark on a peace process which would set in line moves towards a settlement of the protracted Cyprus question, Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said here Saturday.

    He also appealed to the international community to take an increased and more active engagement in the Cyprus question to move things closer to a solution.

    Mr. Michaelides, though critical of Greek Cypriot demonstrators breaking into the UN buffer zone, said the demonstrations were "fully justified" as they expressed the people's feeling of frustration over the past 22 years, when "not an inch of Turkish occupied land has been freed."

    The minister was speaking at a press conference here Saturday after the most violent events on the island since the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the killing of two Greek Cypriots by Turkish soldiers and extremists, in the UN-patrolled buffer zone.

    "We want to embark on a process, we are ready to enter into a process now to set in line meetings and other moves that would help towards a settlement of the Cyprus issue," the minister said.

    The question now is not how to reduce tension but how to take "resolute action to settle this problem," he explained.

    It is also very important, he added, that the UN, the US, Europe and all interested countries "multiply their efforts and create a momentum to accelerate the peace process and bring a solution closer."

    The minister reiterated the government's readiness to enter into a military dialogue as proposed by the US, envisaging a meeting between the commander of the National Guard and the commander of the Turkish occupation forces.

    The move has so far failed to materialize because the Turkish Cypriot side has requested a presence at the meeting, a move President Glafcos Clerides has turned down.

    "The situation is now calmer, we have come out of the tension of the past few days even though the situation on the island remains explosive because of the continuing Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus," Mr. Michaelides told the press.

    The minister laid political responsibility for the tragic events of recent days clearly and squarely on Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who consented to the use of excessive force against the unarmed demonstrators and reacted in a disproportionate manner to the threat posed by them.

    "The protests are fully justified as one must understand the feeling of frustration among the people of Cyprus," he said.

    In the past 22 years, not an inch of occupied land has been freed, he said and people continue to endure the repercussions of the Turkish invasion and occupation.

    Fending off criticism about the inability of the Cypriot police to control demonstrators and prohibit entry into the buffer zone, the minister recognized the mistake on the part of the demonstrators but pointed out that "Turkish forces also violated the buffer zone and moreover killed two people there." "I do not know of any police force which can guarantee that no demonstrator will get through its cordon during demonstrations," he added.

    He said the government would like to talk to UNFICYP to discuss with them ways to help them exercise their duties in a more effective way, be it through an increase in numbers or a change in their mandate.

    The minister also raised the issue of "unaccountability" of those responsible for the two killings and said Cyprus expected all interested countries to "look into all possible avenues and demand accountability."

    Similar calls for bringing to justice the culprits have also been made by US congressmen, EuroMPs and the US State Department.

    [5] UNFICYP condemns 'unnecessary force' by Turkish occupation troops

    Nicosia, 19/08/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    An official report of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has stressed the degree to which the u se of firearms was unnecessary by the Turkish occupation forces which resulted in the death of a young Greek Cypriot man and the injury of eleven other people, including two British members of UNFICYP.

    The second unarmed Greek Cypriot to be murdered in less than a week was Solomos Solomou, 26. He was shot to death by Turkish troops on Wednesday, shortly after the funeral of the first victim, Tassos Isaac, 24, who was clubbed to death by a Turkish Cypriot mob on Sunday during a peaceful demonstration.

    The UNFICYP report said that when a group of Greek Cypriot protesters entered the buffer zone at Dherynia on Wednesday, Turkish troops took up battle positions. At the same time, UNFICYP asked the Turkish forces to show restraint, but to no avail.

    The report stresses that "UNFICYP had full control of the situation in the buffer zone," adding that peacekeepers were in the process of removing protesters and that when Solomou ran towards the occupation troops and began climbing the flag pole flying the Turkish flag, the peacekeepers had nearly reached him for the purpose of removing him, too.

    The report notes that Solomou had climbed about three meters when he was shot by a Turkish soldier. Immediately afterwards, it added, Turkish soldiers began firing indiscriminately at the unarmed protesters in the buffer zone.

    It said UNFICYP officers personally witnessed a uniformed member of the Turkish forces "kneeling down and firing at the protesters in the buffer zone."

    As a result of the indiscriminate fire, the report underlines, two peacekeepers and two Greek Cypriot citizens were shot from behind. Another person, who was outside the buffer zone near the Greek guard-post, was seriously injured, the report said.

    "On the afternoon of 14 August," the report concludes, "the commander of UNFICYP met with the commander of the Turkish forces in Cyprus to strongly protest the unnecessary use of force," by the Turkish occupation troops.

    [6] President of the Republic responds to Erbakan's statements

    Athens, 19/08/1996 (ANA)

    The President of the Republic, Kostis Stephanopoulos came out with a strong reply to Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan's belligerent statement Saturday that Turkey was militarily superior to Greece, saying that Greece was a country that pursued its rights in accordance with the rules and provisions of international law and treaties.

    "The Turkish prime minister is not setting out just demands, he is simply referring to military force. Greece sets out the force of justice. The era of military force is past. Greece sets out its rights respecting the rules of international law and inter national treaties," Mr. Stephanopoulos said while on a tour of Aegean islands.

    He was responding to the Islamist premier's comments from Malaysia, reported by the semi-official Anatolian news agency on Saturday in which he said "Turkey is an unhappy country for it has a neighbor like Greece."

    "For as long as Greek maintains such a temperament it will not be easy to rehabilitate peace in the region," Mr. Erbakan added, stressing that Turkey had a population of 65 million while Greece had only 15 million.

    Mr. Erbakan was critical of the "encouraging role" played by unnamed western countries in last week's events on Cyprus, saying that "at least half of the blame rests with these countries".

    The Greek president referred to Turkey's ambitions for entry to the European Union. "Turkey does not possess the requirements for entry. It needs democracy, respect for neighbors and international rules. It is a country far removed from Europe, morally and culturally," he said.

    Commenting on the killings last week of two young Greek Cypriots by Turkish occupation forces, President Stephanopoulos said that:

    "Now it is not the gallows of the British but the murderous weapons of the Turks which are killing unarmed people, and this is indeed murder.

    "Why are people who simply want to protest the fact that for 22 years they have been forced to stay far from their homes being murdered?".

    "(Turkish Cypriot leader) Rauf Denktash has threatened that anyone entering the buffer zone will be shot. Just imagine. Let's assume that this is a minor infringement. It is however punished with death and each one of Denktash's guards has the right to kill people. And thus we have reached the point where international public opinion is not sufficiently moved," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    The president also referred to Turkey's recent groundless claims against Greek islets and rocks in the Aegean.

    "The Turks claim that there are places in the Aegean of undetermined sovereignty, while it is certain that the Treaty of Lausanne recognizes only limited rights for Turkey, with the exception of the three islands which are near the entrance to the Dardanelles. And apart from these three islands, they have no other rights except with respect to those islands, islets and rocks which are located within three miles from the Turkish coast. They have no rights on any other island... We are 100 per cent right and when we invite them to have recourse to the existing international court (at the Hague), we are not doing so in order to have someone question our sovereign rights. We do so because we know only too well that we are in the right and the other side dare not respond to the invitation," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    The president also criticized the stance of the United States and Europe saying:

    "Although they see in our proposal the refusal of the Turks, they do nothing except further strengthen with arms the Turks who, if they did not have that supposed sense of military superiority, they would certainly not have the gall to provoke Greece or put forward unjustified claims."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos likened Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller to Mussolini, saying that she was trying to repeat what the Italian dictator did in the past.

    "We must realize that we can rely only on our own strength. We must realize that international relations today are not determined by the rules of law but by the interests of the major powers," Mr. Stephanopoulos told the people of Heraklia and Schinoussa.

    [7] Clerides, Arsenis pledge to pursue Greek-Cyprus joint defense doctrine

    Athens, 19/08/1996 (ANA)

    In the aftermath of a week of extremely tense events in Cyprus, Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Greek Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis, reiterated the determination of both governments to pursue the two countries' joint defense doctrine.

    "The Greek people must know that if Cyprus falls, other regions of Greece will also be in danger. The joint defense doctrine has bolstered the spirit of the Cypriot people, who do not feel alone now," the Cyprus president said yesterday in Thessaloniki .

    "The joint defense doctrine is defensive, not offensive. So, we shall try to provide a solution to the problem through peaceful means. But shall not hesitate to defend the rights of Hellenism with every means," he added.

    Mr. Clerides arrived in Greece in order to attend the opening of events in Fanari, Rodopi, yesterday, of the 'Thrace - Aegean - Cyprus' programme, sponsored by the defense ministry and Panteion University, and designed to emphasize the cultural unity of the three regions through the symbolism of the travels of Ulysses and other classical Greek figures. The programme involves a tour of the Greek navy vessel 'Samos' through the Aegean to Cyprus, hosting plays and other events.

    Mr. Arsenis said the Cypriot president's visit coincided with critical moments for Hellenism, and stressed that the joint defense doctrine had changed the balance of power in the direction of stability, but also had a cultural dimension.

    "The doctrine means political will to fight in war if necessary for our national rights, but also denotes a single cultural area. It is our duty to stress the identity of defense and cultural armor," he said.

    The programme also aims at strengthening ties between the armed forces and the civilian population in the areas affected by the Greece-Cyprus joint defense doctrine.

    Cultural events under the programme will run till September when Greek government officials will travel to Cyprus for the closing ceremony.

    [8] Gov't regrets rowdy demonstrations outside Turkish consulates

    Athens, 19/08/1996 (ANA)

    The government on Saturday expressed its regret at the demonstrations outside the Turkish consulates in Rhodes and Komotini Friday night by Greeks and Cypriots angered at last week's killings of two Greek Cypriot youths by Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus.

    "Such acts do not express the perceptions of the Greek people concerning bilateral relations and the way to resolve problems. It must however be understood that the continuous provocativeness and barbarity shown by the Turkish side has given rise to feelings of rage and indignation among all Greeks," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    The spokesman called on Greek citizens to "show restraint and express their feelings in a grand and imposing way but always in a peaceful and civilized manner.

    In Komotini, approximately 400 demonstrators marched to the Turkish consulate, burning the Turkish flag and causing minor damage to the exterior of the building, following a protest rally against the Turkish government's plans to convert the Byzantine church of Ayia Sofia in Istanbul into a mosque.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of Cypriots, Greeks, Armenians and Kurds on Saturday morning demonstrated peacefully outside the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki protesting the killings of the two Greek Cypriot youths.

    A strong police force had cordoned off the area early on, and prevented the demonstrators from reaching the building.

    The demonstrators shouted slogans such as "Turks out of Cyprus." A small group of youths belonging to the neo-fascist organization "Golden Dawn" shouting nationalist slogans tried to influence the mood of the demonstration but were isolated by the other protesters.

    [9] Ciller calls for protection of Turkish missions

    Ankara, 19/08/1996 (ANA)

    Responding to the events outside Turkish consulates in Greece Friday night, Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller called on Greece to adopt measures for the protection of Turkish diplomatic missions.

    "We have strongly protested to the Greek government and asked once more that the necessary security measures be taken to protect our representations in Greece," she said in a statement. "We expect the Greek government to arrest and punish the culprits who caused these incidents and burned our precious flag".

    Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Inal Batu said on Saturday that demarches had been lodged with Greek officials in Ankara and Athens, demanding a stop to the violence against members of the Moslem minority in Komotini".

    According to Mr. Batu, two elderly Moslem women were seriously injured by the demonstrators and taken to hospital.

    He added that he had spoken to Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who expressed his regret over the incidents and said many people had been arrested.

    "We received assurances concerning the security of the members of the Turkish minority," said Mr. Batu, adding that other countries had been briefed on the incidents.

    End of English language section.

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