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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-26

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Greek Press & Information Office
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  • [01] Greece reiterates status quo in the Aegean clearly set
  • [02] Opposition comments
  • [03] Demirel interview
  • [04] Turkey's foreign under-secretary in Athens
  • [05] Turkish military textbook disputes Greek isles and islets
  • [06] Greece against reduction in number of European Commissioners
  • [07] Businessmen hold significant meeting in Istanbul
  • [08] Event in Mitilini on EU-Turkey relations
  • [09] Greece takes gold and silver in rhythmic gymnastics
  • [10] Olympiakos lifts Greek soccer championship cup
  • [11] Thessaloniki can be important link for north, south Europe, Romanian president says
  • [12] Greek investment in Bulgaria
  • [13] Athens hosts UN conference on Mideast
  • [14] ND leader plans to clear party register

  • [01] Greece reiterates status quo in the Aegean clearly set

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greece has reiterated that the status quo in the Aegean is clearly set by international treaties, and that the only possible topic for discussion with Turkey is the status of the continental shelf.

    The reiteration came over the weekend from Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, in response to statements by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel in a two-part interview with the Greek Antenna TV channel, where he said that the sovereignty of 130 small islands and rocky islets in the Aegean is questionable. Mr. Demirel added that this issue must be handled first with dialogue and accused Greece of attempting to occupy the islets.

    "Because there is nothing to claim in the Aegean, there is nothing for discussion, except the continental shelf," retorted Mr. Tsohatzopoulos to Friday's first part of the interview in a press conference in Irakleion on Saturday.

    "This is an artificial questioning of our borders, aiming at creating the impression that there are 'gray' zones in the Aegean, the sovereignty of which he intends to dispute with the strategic aim of overturning the status quo in the Aegean. It is an indirect attempt at questioning Greece's sovereign rights. Our answer is most clear: There is nothing to claim in the Aegean," he added.

    He urged the Turkish president to seek recourse at the International Court at The Hague to find out what Turkey can claim.

    "The Aegean is delineated through international treaties and everything is well-defined," he added.

    In follow-up statements yesterday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the disputing of the sovereignty of Aegean islets had nothing to do with the recently set up bilateral committee of experts that will examine problems, as this was conceived in the framework of the EU, and "it must proceed in order to establish where justice lies and who really wants restoration of international law, stability, and the application of international treaties and agreements".

    Mr. Kranidiotis stated that the Demirel interview added nothing new and did not contribute to the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations as they reiterated already known positions, based on unlawful claims which are now codified.

    [02] Opposition comments

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy defense minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis commented that the Turkish president had appeared extremely irreconcilable, and warned that the government had already begun a form of dialogue with Turkey which could lead to a dangerous entanglement.

    Communist Party deputy Orestis Kolozof called on the government to face up to the danger that the Demirel interview might cast Greece and not Turkey as irreconcilable in the eyes of the allies.

    Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos said that the content of the interview had to be analyzed now that Greece had to win international public opinion as a force of dialogue and stability at a time when Turkish policy faced problems in being understood.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said the interview proved that a dialogue had begun through the committee of experts, leading to the joint management of the Aegean and exploitation of the oil deposits therein.

    "The government is being led to this dialogue," he said.

    [03] Demirel interview

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    In the second part of his interview to Antenna TV channel on Saturday night, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel stated his categorical opposition to Cypriot EU membership before Turkey.

    "If the Greek part of Cyprus becomes a member of the EU, there will be no solution, and the problem will remain for years and years," he said. He claimed that the Turkish side is ready to discuss the finding of a solution, and blamed the Greek side f or reluctance to do the same, stressing that his country is only interested in the security of the Turkish Cypriots.

    "Turkey has no intention of occupying Cyprus, or creating problems. If it wanted to occupy the whole island, it should have done it 22 years ago," he said.

    He reiterated that his country's proposal for dialogue with Greece is still open, emphasizing that chronic problems cannot be solved overnight.

    As this might take even years, as he said, the solution of Greek-Turkish problems cannot be set as a precondition for his country's' membership of the EU.

    "In the reshuffling of Europe, Turkey must not be left out," he said.

    Referring to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, the Turkish president said his country is not willing to accept its ecumenical character, because "according to the treaties, it has never agreed to any such thing".

    "What other countries do is a different thing," he added.

    [04] Turkey's foreign under-secretary in Athens

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    Turkey's Foreign Under-secretary Onur Oymen arrived in Athens yesterday to join Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou on the podium of a conference on Greek-Turkish relations in Athens, beginning today.

    In arrival statements, Mr. Oymen said that "where there are problems there are also solutions," and referred to what he called "a new era in Greek-Turkish relations" which was inaugurated with the meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his Turkish counterpart Tansu Ciller and that of his own with Mr. Papandreou.

    Mr. Oymen expressed the conviction that the operation of the two countries' committees of experts will constitute a positive step and that the non-binding proposals that will be submitted will be beneficial.

    [05] Turkish military textbook disputes Greek isles and islets

    Istanbul, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    A Turkish Military Academy textbook, published last May and reportedly withdrawn from circulation since then, disputes a score of Greek isles and islets in the Aegean and the Argosaronic sea waters, adding that Turkey should lay claim to them in order to change to its benefit the current equilibrium of powers. Despite strong criticism by Turkish diplomats and politicians, the textbook reflects the same views which had been presented by the Turkish general staff to a selective group of US correspondents in Ankara, published in the Wall Street Journal.

    "Turkey has struck a victory of tactics in the crisis of the Ikizce Kardak (Imia) islets," the textbook notes, adding that "ensuring the same victory on a strategic level depends on whether (Ankara) will force Greece to the negotiations table on all Aegean-related issues." "If (Ankara) proves unable to bring into the limelight the unjust status quo in the Aegean, which is benefiting Greece, it will simply put under reconsideration its own sovereign rights in the Aegean," the textbook adds.

    Revealing Turkish military leaders' efforts to change the existing status quo in the Aegean, the textbook resurfaces old Turkish theories according to which the Greek islands in the Aegean do not have a continental shelf.

    "It has been scientifically proven that the Aegean sea has been formed by the geological sinking of a part of the East," the textbook alleges. "The islands of Thracian Sporades (Trakya) and Eastern Aegean (Bogazonu ve Saruhan) and the Dodecanese (Mantese) are natural anomalies of the continental shelf of the Anatolia. They do not have a continental shelf, they are part of the continental shelf."

    [06] Greece against reduction in number of European Commissioners

    Noordwijk, The Netherlands 26/05/1997 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday that Greece disagreed with a proposal for a reduction in the number of European Commissioners.

    Mr. Papandreou, who is accompanying Prime Minister Costas Simitis to Noordwijk for a special summit of government leaders convened by the Dutch EU presidency, said however that Athens agreed the powers of the Commission president should be expanded.

    On flexibility, Mr. Papandreou said the views of Athens were similar to those of London, adding that he would meet with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council next week to discuss the issue of the implementation of the principle of flexibility.

    Mr. Simitis said yesterday that although there was a "willingness" to agree on a revision of the Maastricht Treaty, it was unlikely it would be reached by EU members at the June summit in Amsterdam, since many issues remained unresolved.

    [07] Businessmen hold significant meeting in Istanbul

    Istanbul, 26/05/1997 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)

    A group of Greek and Greek Cypriot businessmen held a meeting today in Istanbul with a group of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot businessmen, the first meeting of its kind ever.

    Analysts say the meeting, which was held at the initiative of the Turkish Committee of Foreign Economic Relations (DEIK), indicates the will of the business community in both countries to contribute to co-operation as opposed to eternal opposition.

    [08] Event in Mitilini on EU-Turkey relations

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    PASOK's Europarliamentary group organized an event on "EU - Turkey relations" in Mytilini, Lesvos island, yesterday.

    Euro-MP Paraskevas Avgerinos described the current period as "crucial for Greece and decisive for Europe and its vision", stressing that this vision was endangered "by fascists, chauvinists, racists and xenophobics".

    He stated support for EU membership of Balkan countries as a necessary condition for the consolidation of the Union in the area.

    Speaking under the title, "European Union - Turkey - A Problem of Values", Euro-MP Dimitris Tsatsos said the State in Turkey was deeply divided ideologically, a pseudo-parliamentary democratic system prevailed, and there were important problems concerning the country's international profile, indicated by President Suleyman Demirel's recent interview where he claimed that international law is not binding on his country".

    Eurodeputy Yiannis Roubatis said "Greece has no reason to reject Turkey's approach to Europe, and condemns the use of racial, religious and cultural reasons for such a rejection".

    Minister for the Aegean Elisavet Papazoi referred to "the environmentally friendly mask worn by Turkey before international fora", mentioning in particular the problem of the gold processing unit near Bergama, now thankfully being led to a solution, and to the dangers posed by the proposed operation of nuclear power plants in southwestern Asia Minor and near Sinop on the Black Sea.

    [09] Greece takes gold and silver in rhythmic gymnastics

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's junior women's rhythmic gymnastics team yesterday won the gold medal at the 13th European RSG Championships in Patras, its best performance ever.

    The Belarus team won the silver medal, followed by the Russian team who took the third place.

    The Greek team achieved 37,450 points.

    Greece's women's rhythmic gymnastics team also made its best ever performance by winning the silver medal at the championships in Patras.

    The Greek team had initially hoped to place in the first eight but put on an impressive performance to achieve 38,550 points, placing second behind the Russian team.

    Third place went to Ukraine, followed by Spain, Hungary and Bulgaria.

    [10] Olympiakos lifts Greek soccer championship cup

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek soccer championship ended yesterday with Olympiakos Piraeus winning the title after ten years in the cold.

    In yesterday's last match, Olympiakos trounced Kavala 6-0.

    Olympiakos will play in the Champions League next season while AEK Athens, who finished second in the league, will play in the Cup Winners' Cup.

    OFI Crete and PAOK Thessaloniki will represent Greece in the UEFA Cup.

    [11] Thessaloniki can be important link for north, south Europe, Romanian president says

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    Romanian President Emil Constantinescu, who arrived in Thessaloniki on Saturday morning, referred to the city's potential in becoming a trade and economic center connecting north and south in Europe.

    Mr. Constantinescu was met at the airport by Macedonia -Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos.

    At a meeting later, the two men examined the potential for further developing the two countries' trade relations, and particularly boosting the presence of Greek investors in Romania in the framework of the privatization of many enterprises.

    Discussion also included the organization of mutual business missions, and improvement in the co-operation of commercial and industrial chambers and universities.

    Referring to Romania's participation in the multinational force in Albania (ALBA) and its decision to join NATO, Mr. Constantinescu said his country was a pole of stability in the region and met all requirements for NATO membership. He pointed out that there is excellent co-operation between Greek and Romanian forces in the framework of ALBA.

    The two men later left for a brief visit to the monastic community of Mt. Athos.

    The Romanian president returned to Bucharest later on Saturday evening.

    [12] Greek investment in Bulgaria

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greek investment in Bulgaria represents 10 per cent of all foreign investment in that country, amounting to $120 million on March 31, 1997, Greece's commercial attachi in Sofia, Giorgos Doudounis, said on Friday night.

    The data was presented at the one-day conference on the prospects of Greek enterprises in the neighboring country, held in the framework of the 6th annual 'Thrace 97' trade fair in the city of Komotini, organized by HELEXPO.

    Greece comes first in the number of investments, but sixth in the overall sums invested, he added.

    Those attending the conference included Bulgarian Minister of Trade and External Economic Co-operation, Daniela Bobeva, diplomats, bankers and businessmen.

    Discussion also included the EU FAIR program for cross-border co-operation between the two countries, where the need was stressed for transparent procedures that will facilitate the participation of all European companies in construction projects.

    The first dispatch of food, medicine and other essentials will leave for orphanages, nursing homes and hospitals in south Bulgaria from the port of Thessaloniki today. The aid has been collected by a joint effort by Doctors of the World, Greek Radio ERA, Greek Television 3, and employees of the Greek Radio and Television through regional and city fundraising events.

    [13] Athens hosts UN conference on Mideast

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    A United Nations two-day conference on the Middle East , entitled "The Peace Process: The Challenges Ahead", begins in Athens today.

    The conference, at the Caravel Hotel, will examine the peace agreements signed in Oslo and Cairo and the progress which has been achieved in implementing them, the final status of the Palestinian territories and economic prospects.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou will address the start of the conference this morning.

    Taking part will be analysts from the Palestinian territories, Israel, the Arab world, the United States and Europe. Representatives from the Greek and international mass media will also be present.

    [14] ND leader plans to clear party register

    Athens, 26/05/1997 (ANA)

    New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday announced his intention to proceed to an immediate reorganization of the party machine. He specified he will ask the Central Committee on Saturday to clear the members' register, with the aim of "determining the party's real base on qualitative criteria, and not quantitative which prevailed in the past".

    End of English language section.

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