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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-12-29

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

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1377), December 29, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Athens notes Turkish military's aggressive policy
  • [02] ... Demirel: Athens responsible for Turkey's EU bid failure
  • [03] Report on Yak-42 crash expected in 10-15 days
  • [04] ... Use of another Yak-42 requested
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos stresses Greece's role, during visit to Bosnia
  • [06] Cornelius Castoriadis dies in Paris
  • [07] OSE monopoly ends as of Jan. 1, 1998
  • [08] Der Spiegel article focuses on Greek demand for reparations
  • [09] Italy requests extradition of alleged 'Red Brigades' terrorist
  • [10] 25 dead in traffic accidents over Christmas break

  • [01] Athens notes Turkish military's aggressive policy

    Athens, 29/12/1997 (ANA)

    The Turkish military has imposed clear conditions for an aggressive policy towards Greece, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday, in the wake of a decree recently signed by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, which officially brands Greece and Syria as "hostile" towards the Turkish state.

    Ankara's tense reaction to the European Union's decision not to include Turkey as a potential member confirms Greece's long-standing positions on the matter, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said shortly before his departure for a three-day visit to Bosnia and Albania.

    "The tension and the thoughtless comments with which Turkey reacts to the decision by the European Union regarding its accession confirm our long-standing position: That the (Turkish) military leadership has imposed, with the recent decree that was signed by the premier of Turkey, clear conditions for an aggressive policy towards these particular countries", Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    "It is inconceivable that Turkey should claim Greece to be its enemy", he said, stressing that the issue is cause for concern and will be taken up with international organizations.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos declined to answer questions about any future tension between Greece and Turkey, saying, however, that "if we have a continuation of past incidents, the Greek armed forces are in a position to deal with anything that happens and any challenge".

    Turkey's intensifying provocativeness and intransigence over the last few days shows that it cannot behave as a European country, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos stated yesterday.

    He added that such behavior required a "serious, prudent, but above all, decisive policy" on the part of Greece.

    [02] ... Demirel: Athens responsible for Turkey's EU bid failure

    Ankara, 29/11/1997 (ANA - A. Abatzis/Reuters)

    Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on Saturday accused Greece of blocking Ankara's bid to join the European Union, warning that Athens could "pay a price for its opposition". "This country does not stop putting baseless obstacles in front of Turkey, particularly at the European Union level," Mr. Demirel told a year-end news conference.

    "Greece should take into account that this approach bears a responsibility and has a price," he warned. He did not specify, however, what the price was.

    The Turkish president also noted that although Turkey's political relations with the EU were suspended, relations with individual EU member-states remained intact. He also added that Ankara's 1987 request for EU membership will be withdrawn if no developments are made on Turkey's accession course within six months of EU summit in Luxembourg.

    Finally, Mr. Demirel said he agreed with the Turkish government's actions during the Luxembourg summit this past month.

    The 15-nation Union in early December excluded Turkey from a list of potential members, citing Ankara's disputes with EU-member Greece, its intransigence concerning the 23-year-old Cyprus problem and a poor human rights record.

    Tension between the two countries rose last week when Ankara expelled a Greek consulate employee in Istanbul on charges of espionage and of aiding Kurdish separatists. Athens responded by expelling a Turkish diplomat based in Thessaloniki.

    Asked whether his comments were a threat towards Greece, Mr. Demirel said:

    "There is no threat in our language... but if an irreversible situation is created, we will not be responsible for that."

    [03] Report on Yak-42 crash expected in 10-15 days

    Athens, 29/12/1997 (ANA)

    Results of the investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian Yakovlev-42 aircraft that crashed in northern Greece with the loss of all passengers and crew will be released within the next 10-15 days, Civil Aviation Authority (YPA) Director Dionysis Kalofonos said on Saturday. The aircraft, which had been leased to the Ukrainian airline Aerosweet, crashed into a mountainside in Pieria prefecture, southwest of its destination at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport on Dec. 17.

    The plane's flight data recorders were sent to Germany to be analyzed, while Greek experts left Thessaloniki for Hanover over the weekend to be briefed on the information retrieved.

    Mr. Kalofonos also said that Russian and Ukrainian experts are accompanying the Greek team to Germany in accordance with international regulations, since the aircraft was built in Russia and had been leased to the Ukrainian airline.

    However, they will not be involved in compiling the report on the crash, although they have the right to submit recommendations on the findings. The three teams will also visit the United States, Ukraine and Russia.

    According to civil aviation sources, initial findings indicate that the accident was due to pilot error. However, instrument malfunction has not been ruled out, according to YPA deputy director Georgios Souladakis, who said this would explain why the pilot reported he was flying north when in fact the plane was flying west.

    The final report will be presented simultaneously to the director of the Civil Aviation Authority and the supreme investigative council for airline accidents, as well as to the International Civil Aviation Organization. Mr. Kalofonos said that immediately afterwards the report would be released to the press, along with a reconstruction of the flight path taken by the aircraft before it crashed. The recording of the conversation between the pilot and the control tower would also be played, he added.

    [04] ... Use of another Yak-42 requested

    Athens, 29/12/1997 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, experts looking into the Yakovlev-42 crash requested the use of an another aircraft of the same type to re-trace the flight path of the downed aircraft in an effort to shed light on the cause of the accident.

    YPA officials said evidence collected at the crash site and the flight recorders will be compared with the flight instruments of an airplane, in addition to a crew provided by the Russian manufacturer.

    Greek experts also requested from their Russian counterparts the use of a flight simulator so as to re-enact the ill-fated flight from Kiev to Odessa to Thessaloniki.

    Finally, the Thessaloniki coroner's office has recorded 74 passengers were aboard the aircraft, and not 70 as was originally thought. In addition, autopsies on the pilots will include a toxicology screening to determine if they were under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos stresses Greece's role, during visit to Bosnia

    Sarajevo, 29/12/1997 (ANA - P. Haritos)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos described as very important the mission of the multinational force in Bosnia, stressing Greece's valuable participation in the effort.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, who arrived here yesterday, addressed the 278-strong Greek contingent. He called it a force of peace, security and stability.

    "Our participation is part of the general framework of our country's strategy. We insisted that the (multinational) force remain in Bosnia, knowing that the repercussions of an on-going crisis would have been immediate for Greece," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    He added that the initial target of the peacekeeping forces has been accomplished, although forces will remain in Bosnia for the time being.

    The Greek force will remain in place to ensure the respect for peace, freedom and human rights, the Greek minister said, allowing for the possibility that Greek troops stay in Bosnia will be extended.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos will meet today with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, before departing for Tirana to visit the Greek peacekeeping force stationed in Albania.

    Regarding his visit to Bosnia, the Greek defense minister said he would discuss developments in the area, as they have a direct influence on the collective security with the region in which Greece belongs.

    [06] Cornelius Castoriadis dies in Paris

    Athens, 29/12/1997 (ANA)

    Noted philosopher and psychoanalyst Cornelius Castoriadis died in Paris on Saturday at the age of 75, following complications from recent heart surgery. He will be buried in Paris today.

    Castoriadis was born in 1922 in Istanbul, while he later studied in Athens before moving to France in 1945. He was co-publisher of the Paris-based magazine "Socialism or Barbarity" and wrote several well-known monographs. In a rare interview with a Greek reporter recently, he offered his view of modern Greek society, saying that modern Greeks have transformed history into mythology, choosing to remember only the more glorious parts of their history.

    Culture minister Evangelos Venizelos said that "Cornelius Castoriadis was an authentic, harsh and universal intellectual... Greece, his birthplace, both biologically and symbolically, mourns along with the rest of Europe..."

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said that the world's intellectual thought has lost one of its pioneers.

    Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said that the world has lost the most radical and free philosophical spirit of our times.

    [07] OSE monopoly ends as of Jan. 1, 1998

    Athens, 29/12/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek Railways Organization's (OSE) monopoly on rail transport will be abolished on Jan. 1, as mandated by the European Union, thus paving the way for the rail transport of passengers and goods by private rail firms.

    The transport ministry will issue permits to European rail companies on the following conditions:

    - That they carry liability insurance covering passengers, cargo, mail and third parties.

    - That they will not declare bankruptcy.

    - That they remain solvent.

    - That members of their board of directors have not been convicted of smuggling, fraud, forgery, robbery or other felonies.

    - That their rail equipment is of high standards.

    Also, before a permit is issued, foreign companies must prove their financial, managerial and technical ability and know-how.

    The ministry will reserve the right to permanently or temporarily revoke a permit and will also be able to issue a six-month temporary permit, until the company becomes solvent again.

    [08] Der Spiegel article focuses on Greek demand for reparations

    Bonn, 29/12/1997 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    The German magazine "Der Spiegel" again brings up in its most recent issue, available on Monday, the issue of Greek demands for war reparations from Bonn.

    Specifically, Athens has called for reparations emanating from the Kalavryta and Distomo massacres, committed by Nazi forces during occupation in World War II.

    A local Greek court on Oct. 30 admitted a claim for reparations of 60 million deutschmarks by the families of victims of the Distomo massacre.

    The Der Spiegel report stresses that the two cases "have the same symbolic value" with similar massacres in Oradour, France, and Lidice, Czechoslovakia, "but the terrible slaughters in Greece go almost unmentioned in the German historical bibliography".

    The magazine notes that Bonn's negative stand "on the Greek chapter of the reparations for Nazi atrocities" remains unmoved, and castigates the position of the German foreign ministry, expressed by its ambassador to Greece, namely, that the Distomo massacre was "...a normal measure in the context of the war."

    [09] Italy requests extradition of alleged 'Red Brigades' terrorist

    Athens, 29/12/1997 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry has received an official request by Rome for the extradition of alleged "Red Brigades" terrorist Enrico Bianco, who was arrested near Preveza in November.

    The request will be sent to the Athens appeals council, which will in turn decide on the extradition of Mr. Bianco, who is wanted in connection with several crimes.

    If the council decides in favor of his extradition, the Italian national can appeal to the Supreme Court and to the justice minister.

    [10] 25 dead in traffic accidents over Christmas break

    Athens, 29/12/1997 (ANA)

    Twenty-five people were killed on the country's roadways over the Christmas break, while 360 were injured, 98 seriously, in a total of 260 traffic accidents since Wednesday.

    Several emergency traffic measures were in place yesterday around the Greek capital as thousands of Athenians were expected to return from the provinces.

    End of English language section.

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