|Sunday, 18 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-03-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 9 March 2009 Issue No: 3140
 MIG clinches deal to buy OAThe government announced the successful conclusion of negotiations with Marfin Investment Group (MIG) for the sale of the national carrier Olympic Airways (OA). Under the deal, clinched late on Friday and announced around midnight, the state is set to receive the sum of 177.2 million euros for all OA assets and operations.
"The investment and legal advisors of the government inform us that their negotiations with MIG's consultants for the sale of assets of Olympic's flight operations and technical maintenance base had a successful conclusion. For the ground handling service, since talks between MIG and Swissport for the conclusion of the trade deal between them are continuing, an extension of one week to the exclusive negotiations with the state was asked for and given," Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis announced.
The minister said that MIG and Swissport, which had only bid for ground handling services, had a week to conclude their negotiations but that if these fell through, MIG had also promised to buy the ground handling services itself for the price of 44.8 million euros, as set by independent evaluators.
Following the Commission's official seal of approval, the agreement will then be set to the ministerial privatisations committee for evaluation.
In an announcement on Saturday, the European Commission said it was informed of the positive developments concerning OA's privatisation and would officially take a position next Tuesday concerning the sale.
 Transport minister hails deal with MIG for OATransport and Communications Minister Evripides Stylianidis, in statements printed by the newspaper "Kathimerini" on Sunday, expressed satisfaction over the successful outcome of negotiations for the sale of Olympic Airways to Marfin Investment Group (MIG), stressing that the privatisation process was one step before reaching a binding deal with the investor.
Stylianidis also noted that the more affluent members of society must shoulder their responsibility for the economic crisis, stressing that the country's working classes cannot always be the ones to foot the bill.
 Papandreou: Yes to consensus - with conditionsMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Sunday toured the northwestern city of Ioannina, where he told party supporters that he agreed with the need for consensus between all political forces to deal with the economic crisis, but only on condition that this came with a plan and targets serving peoples' interests.
"Consensus without a plan or goals, as Prime Minister (Costas) Karamanlis asks, is just giving him a blank cheque to carry out his policies, which are unjust and unreliable and finally lead to an impasse that will keep supporting his 'favourites' and the few; to continue the looting of state coffers, corruption and inequality. We will not acquiesce to such a blank cheque," Papandreou said.
He again repeated a demand for early elections. "Let's allow the Greek people decide what they want: PASOK or ruling New Democracy, exit from crisis or bankruptcy, a dignified living or poverty, security or insecurity, protection of public wealth or a sell-out and looting of the state's wealth, fear and obedience to European and international fora, or a proud and strong negotiation with our partners in the EU?"
Referring to June's European Parliament elections, Papandreou called for a change in the balance of political forces by giving preference to European socialists, asking: "Who told us that we must accept a conservative Europe that will focus on the market and common currency and not a democratic Europe one with a new model for growth that will invest in education and innovation, in human development and the environment...?"
"Without a development goal we will not be able to exit from the crisis," he added, outlining PASOK's five priorities for what he has dubbed "green development."
In reference to the all-important sources of funding for such initiatives, Papandreou again referred to a "redistribution of wealth", "green growth", cutting waste in public spending, better management of existing state resources, and EU funding.
"People have the power with their vote to choose between two different worlds, and they will choose PASOK," he concluded.
Replying to Papandreou, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros charged that the main opposition leader remained "an incurable adherent of 'No'. Of 'No' to everything."
"Every time he (Papandreou) had the opportunity, he said 'no'. Even to things that are necessary for the country. The only thing he cares about is serving his petty party political calculations. Even if, by doing so, he harms the country's interests," the spokesman added.
"Greeks have understood this. That is why they trust Costas Karamanlis's government as a force of responsibility in the country. The government which effectively implements an integrated plan to take the country out from the crisis, despite PASOK's steadfast refusal to agree even on what is self-evident," Antonaros concluded.
 Bakoyannis in Paris on MondayGreek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will be in Paris on Monday, where she will be received by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, a ministry press release said on Sunday.
On the same day, Bakoyannis will be proclaimed associated member from abroad of the French Academy of Humanities and Political Studies.
 ND sec't: No early electionsRuling New Democracy party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis said on Sunday that "early elections are not included in our plans or in our intentions".
His comments were carried in an interview published by the Athens daily 'Chora'.
"What we are worried about is how to deal with the consequences of the international economic crisis in our country and society's real problems. Our priority and our worry is to guarantee security, and of course, to support the financially weaker, and that's what we are doing," he said.
Zagoritis said the ruling party, despite whatever problems, has the initiative, while pointing to the fact that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis continues to garner higher preferences amongst voters than main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou.
 Deputy FM Varvitsiotis in Tirana MondayDeputy Foreign Minister Miltiades Varvistiotis departs Monday for Tirana on a working visit.
According to a ministry press release issued on Sunday, Varvitsiotis is expected to meet Albanian Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha and Economy, Commerce and Energy Minister Genc Ruli on Monday. He will later meet with the board of the Greek-Albanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and representatives of Greek enterprises active in the neighbouring country.
On Tuesday, the Greek deputy foreign minister will meet with Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios.
 KKE announcement on 18th party congressThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Sunday announced various decisions from its 18th congress, with the slogan "counterattack" dominated texts.
KKE foresees the decline of the mainstream two-party system, in tandem with what it calls an increase in people's reasoning of no basic differences between them. In the midst of the economic crisis, KKE underlines that its positions towards another model of development has been confirmed.
Moreover, one political decision notes that "the 18th congress stated that KKE's fixed and clear target is counterattack," adding that the party is going though a period of progress and maturity and is more fortified and experienced.
KKE's announcement referred also to the possibility of early elections, predicting that the government will not complete its four-year tenure.
Referring to European parliament elections, KKE said that ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK have decided and signed all the "anti-social EU decisions", and that they have taken part in "imperialistic attacks" and the wars that EU supported.
 SYN leader on vote for EuroParliament ticketCoalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday expressed his satisfaction with the internal elections held within the party on Sunday and Monday to elect the list of candidates for the upcoming European Parliament elections.
"I am especially happy that SYN is the only party where the compilation of the election ticket for the Euro-elections is not a presidential favour but an affair that belongs to the members of the party," he stressed.
He reported a large turnout by party members to vote, adding that SYN was at the forefront on issues of democracy.
 Markoyiannakis on police promotions, slain officerAlternate Interior Minister for public order Christos Markoyiannakis stressed while in Hania on Saturday that the recent promotions in the police were "absolutely based on merit" and expressed confidence that there would soon be "better results in the area of public safety".
Concerning the recent murder of a police officer serving in Athens by a bank robber, Markoyiannakis noted that the incident indicating the high sense of duty among Greek police.
"Mihalis Spanoudakis was a police officer that reasonably and faithfully did his duty. It is very significant that, even when he was off duty, he tried to arrest robbers and fell in the line of duty. I want to believe that this action on his part, this sacrifice, is an indication of the conscientiousness with which all Greek police officers do their duty," he said.
The slain officer had honoured the Greek Police and Hania and the State would stand by the side of his family, the minister added.
Spanoudakis was shot and killed by a gunman in the district of Nikaia last Thursday, when he attempted to foil a bank robbery. The officer had been in plain clothes at the time because he was off duty.
 Roussopoulos denies involvement in Vatopedi caseFormer minister of state Theodoros Roussopoulos, in statements to an Athens daily, answered questions relating to the controversial Vatopedi monastery land swap deals with the state, using the phrase 'mea culpa'.
"When someone has made a mistake in his political carrier, and I have definitely made many, you must apologise. In this case my position is what really happened, I had nothing to do with it and for this I have no reason to answer to your query".
The comment was carried in an interview published by the "Eleftheros Typos" newspaper.
 Valinakis addresses diaspora in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis on Sunday stressed that the government displays a "constant and active interest in Greeks abroad," adding that this was indicated by the recently tabled bill giving expatriate Greeks the right to vote in the country's national elections from their place of residence.
Valinakis is currently on an official visit to the United States to represent the government at the events organised by the local Greek-American community to mark the 61st anniversary since the Dodecanese island group officially became part of Greece.
The deputy minister attended several receptions, in which he referred to vital issues concerning Greece and outlined the Greek-American community's important role in protecting and defending Greek interests.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, Valinakis underlined that the Greek government "is cooperating steadfastly and indefatigably" with the government of Cyprus, using the leverage offered by Turkey's EU accession prospects and cultivating bilateral relations in order to persuade Turkey to give up its reliance on power and 'faits accomplis' and instead adopt the more European approach of negotiation and compromise based on the principles of international law.
Regarding the talks underway in Nicosia, Valinakis said that "we observe with regret that the process has not yielded results, because what little convergence occurred was of limited extent and value. We are concerned by the fact that the other party is continuing to propose unacceptable positions that depart from the rationale of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as provided by high-level agreements and UN resolutions.
 ELIAMEP head at LSE panel debate on EuropePolicy Network, the European Institute of the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy are organising a panel debate at the LSE in London on Monday. Participants will include UK Foreign Secretary David Milliband, Irish Minister of State for European Affairs Dick Roche, Dutch European Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans and ELIAMEP President Loukas Tsoukalis.
The subject of the debate will be the role of the European Union in the new era following the economic crisis and the important changes to the balance of power in the global system.
Tsoukalis will present the conclusions of a research study conducted by three think-tanks on "An EU 'fit for the purpose' in a global age".
 Agriculture minister stresses role of agricultural economyAgricultural Development Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis, in Kalambaka for dialogue on agricultural reforms with Thessaly's farmers, on Sunday predicted that the country's agriculture economy could well be the "powerhouse" that would help Greece to exit the current economic crisis.
"It is already estimated that by the summer, roughly one billion euros will flow into the Greek economy, into the Greek market, in the form of direct subsidies or compensation for the farming community and, by extension, the economy. This one billion euros includes the 500 million euros that have already been announced, with the first payment of the compensation from the 500 million euros in the next two weeks," he said, stressing that the sums were in accordance with EU regulations.
The minister also referred to the imminent start of the 'Alexandros Baltatzis' Programme, pointing out that this was worth some 6.5 billion euros and adding that the role of Greece's agricultural economy during this time of crisis was major and very significant.
 Agriculture minister meets Central Macedonia farmersCompensation to farmers from the government's 500-million-euro aid package will begin to be paid out from next week, Agricultural Development Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said on Saturday in Thessaloniki.
He made the statement as he arrived to meet representatives of the farmers of Central Macedonia - a meeting held in the framework of national dialogue on farming policy begun by the minister in previous weeks.
During the meeting with the farmers, it was decided that representatives of Central Macedonia farmers will have an advisory role on agriculture ministry committees dealing with farm policy issues.
Commenting on the results of the talks, Hatzigakis said he had been pleasantly surprised that the problems raised were well presented and "scientifically structured".
The minister announced that he will visit Brussels next week, where there would also be a discussion about the 500-million-euro aid package, and he promised radical changes and reforms to the farming sector. He said that he would carry out his promises to farmers in full, in spite of any difficulties that may arise.
Among issues raised by farmers at the meeting were the reduction of the "price gap" between producers and consumers, uncovering cartels responsible for boosting prices of basic foodstuffs, an end to party politics within farming cooperatives, less red tape, support for farm exports, reduction of VAT payments by farmers, land issues and sustainable water management, among others.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.275
Pound sterling 0.897
Danish kroner 7.510
Swedish kroner 11.807
Japanese yen 123.51
Swiss franc 1.475
Norwegian kroner 9.024
Canadian dollar 1.638
Australian dollar 1.994
 Education minister attends Rectors' ConferenceEducation Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Sunday said there was an "excellent climate" between Greek university rectors and the government at the 60th Rectors' Conference held in Karpenissi, with a strong desire for cooperation demonstrated by both sides. At the same time, he emphasised that the government's presence at the Conference did not imply automatic acceptance of all ideas or proposals voiced there.
"It was a meeting conducted in an excellent climate, a meeting that revealed a desire by both sides to resolve issues and, as far as possible, for the best possible two-way cooperation to increase efficiency in the actions required, so that certain things that concern the educational community - and especially tertiary education - can be resolved," the minister said in statements after the end of the congress.
Spiliotopoulos said that these included issues relating to the framework-law for education introduced by the government - but always with the underlying assumption that the framework law was in operation and should function efficiently, though certain small anomalies needed to be ironed-out by the government.
"I said that any proposals emerging on a unanimous basis from the Rectors' Conference are proposals that we can look at in good faith and with every desire for cooperation, in order that we can, in fact, assist and contribute where it is possible for us to do so," he added.
Spiliotopoulos clarified, however, that the ministry's presence at the conference "is not a binding presence in terms of accepting any proposals, views or recommendations."
"It is, instead, a presence of cooperation in order to listen, to hear and to cooperate and, along the way, to examine any proposals and views are heard on a unanimous basis," he noted.
Apart from that, the ministry was willing to provide solutions to issues where it could but could not accept every proposal put forward, nor did it have 'magical solutions' for all the problems that existed in education, many of them for several years.
In addition to Spiliotopoulos, the ministry was represented by Deputy Education Minister Spyros Taliadouros and its general secretary Niki Gotsopoulou.
 PASOK event on education in AthensMain opposition PASOK's political spokeswomen for educational issues, Anna Diamantopoulou, on Saturday presented the party's positions on reforming highschools and the system for access to higher education in an event organised by PASOK's education sector at the Ionian Centre in Athens. She underlined that PASOK wanted education to be "public, free and high-quality for all".
She said PASOK's proposals included changes to teaching methods in upper high schools or lyceums, changes in the number of courses, objective exams in the final year of school for which the education ministry was responsible, and nationwide exams that drew from a pool of subjects on the Internet.
This would include a national school-leaving certificate, whose marks would be the 'passport' for entering higher education. The higher learning institutes would then decide on the courses, marks and coefficients for each course, choice of students, etc.
Under the system proposed by PASOK, each student would be a 'small budget' that would then be forwarded to the school into which the student was accepted, so that funding would vary according to how many students were accepted, Diamantopoulou explained.
"Both the exit from the crisis and the day after the crisis cannot but have education as their central concept," she added, warning against yet further cutbacks to spending on education.
 Sunday of Orthodoxy celebrated'Sunday of Orthodoxy' was celebrated all over Greece on Sunday with the official mass at the Athens Saith Dionysius church being attended by President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias.
The service was officiated by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.
President Papoulias later hosted the traditional official luncheon for the memners of the Holy Synod at the Presidential Mansion.
The 'Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy' is celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent. It is the celebration of the victory over the iconoclasts in 843, in Byzantium, by the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. The service is to commemorate the restoration of icons for use in services and private devotional life of Christians.
 Dodecanese islands celebrate 61st anniversary since joining GreeceThe 61st anniversary since the Dodecanese island group in the Aegean became part of Greece was celebrated with events throughout the archipelago on Saturday.
The central celebratory event was held on the island of Rhodes, where the government was represented by the Northern Aegean Region general secretary Haralambos Kokkinos.
A planned school parade had to be cancelled due to strong winds blowing on the island, while a parade by military units stationed on the island went ahead as scheduled.
 Police crack two abduction cases involving PakistanisPolice at West Attica Security headquarters on Sunday announced that they had cracked two abduction cases involving Pakistanis, both as victims and as perpetrators.
In the more serious of the two cases, two Pakistani nationals aged 29 and 32 years old, respectively, were arrested in the Piraeus district of Nikaia. Five more Pakistani nationals are being sought as their accomplices.
The suspects are accused of abducting a 46-year-old man from Pakistan on March 2 and keeping him a prisoner for five days in a house in Nikaia, during which time they subjected him to torture - including electric shocks - and extreme physical abuse in order to force his family in Pakistan to give them 18,000 euros in ransom.
They eventually released the man after his family managed to find and hand over 1,000 euros to one of their accomplices in Pakistan. The victim then reported his abduction to the police and two of the suspected kidnappers were arrested and led before a public prosecutor.
The second case involves the abduction about two days ago in Ilion, west Athens, of a 28-year-old Pakistani, on the pretext that they would find him work. The kidnappers then demanded 4,000 euros from his family in order to release him. They finally settled for 3,000 euros and a meeting was set for the ransom money to be handed over in the west Athens district of Peristeri. At the meeting, however, friends of the victim arrested an 18-year-old accomplice of the kidnappers and handed him over to police.
A second accomplice managed to escape and return to the house where they were keeping the victim captive and alert the kidnappers, who attempted to move him to another location. In the process, however, he managed to escape and return home.
Shortly afterward, police also arrested one more 23-year-old Pakistani and are looking for another 28-year-old. The two men arrested were led before a public prosecutor on Saturday.
 PPC building the target of arson attackA Public Power Corporation (PPC) building in Thessaloniki was the target of an arson attack at around midnight on Saturday.
Unknown individuals placed gas canisters and threw fire bombs into the parking space under the building, completely incinerating four PPC vehicles and severely damaging two others.
The fires were put out about an hour later by a team of six fire engines and 20 fire-fighters sent to the scene.
 Train services interrupted between Kiato-DiakoftoTrain services between Kiato and Diakofto were interrupted on Saturday, due to heavy rains in the area that damaged the line.
TRAINOSE announced that passengers were temporarily being taken to their destination by bus, while a team from Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) was carrying out repairs.
 Parliament president opens cartoon exhibition in XanthiParliament President Dimitris Sioufas inaugurated the exhibition "Cartoon in Europe" in the northern Greek city of Xanthi, stressing the importance of cartoons and especially political cartoons in the political life of all society.
The exhibition, which was inaugurated on Friday night, is jointly organised by the Greek Parliament, the prefecture and Xanthi municipality. It includes cartoons by 90 artists from Greece and other countries of Europe, while Xanthi is the third stop on its tour of Greek cities, after Athens and Thessaloniki.
The Xanthi exhibition is being held in the tobacco warehouse of the Foundation for Thracian Art and Tradition.
 Wanted drug dealer bustedPolice on Sunday announced that a 52-year-old man with an outstanding arrest warrant for drug dealing has been apprehended at Kilkis, northwestern Greece.
They said the arrest was made on Saturday, after a raid on his house where authorities found and confiscated 130 bullets, a handgun, an air pistol and 3,500 grammes of cannabis.
Afterwards, police also raided a second residence owned by the suspect in Halkidiki, where they found a sawn-off shotgun, a flick-knife with a 13 cm blade, 57 shotgun cartridges, a precision scale, two mobile phones, a police patrol car magnetic light and five German license plates.
The suspect will appear before a prosecutor in Kilkis.
 Three firebombings reported in Athens overnightThree firebomb attacks were reported just after Saturday at midnight in the greater Athens area. According to the fire brigade and police, unknown individuals broke the glass storefront of a retail store downtown Athens and threw a flammable liquid on the floor before setting a fire. Extensive damages were reported.
Meanwhile, another attack was reported at Manpower Organisation offices in the Kallithea district of Athens.
A little later, another group of vandals set fire to the Labour Inspection Offices in the western Athens district of Aghioi Anargyri, which was immediately extinguished before the arrival of the fire brigade.
The attacks reportedly bore the hallmarks of self-styled anarchist and anti-state hoodlums, who primarily target state agencies and prominent businesses.
 Fire breaks out on tourist coachA fire broke out on a tourist coach headed for Thessaloniki on Saturday, in the region of Kardia. Police said the bus was evacuated promptly and all passengers on board were safe, while the reasons for the fire were unknown.
 Super League soccer resultsOlympiakos Piraeus retained its comfortable lead in the Greek Super League despite drawing 0-0 away with PAOK Thessaloniki over the weekend. Panathinaikos Athens bit Larissa 3-0 at a match played home and holds second place. AEK Athens defeated Panseraikos Serres 5-1 away and remains in fourth place.
In other action:
Asteras Tripoli - Aris Thessaloniki 4-0
Iraklis Thessaloniki - Panionios Athens 2-1
Thrasyvoulos Athens - Ergotelis Crete 1-3
OFI Crete - Levadiakos Livadia 0-2
Xanti - Panthrakikos Komotini 1-0
Standings after 25 weeks of play:
1. Olympiakos 59 points
2. Panathinaikos 50
3. PAOK 50
4. AEK 47
5. Larissa 38
6. Aris 35
7. Xanthi 32
8. Ergotelis 30
9. Panionios 29
10. Panthrakikos 29
11. Asteras 29
12. Iraklis 29
13. Levadiakos 28
14. Panseraikos 22
15. OFI 20
16. Thrasyvoulos 13
 Sunny on MondayMostly sunny weather and clear skies are forecast on Monday, with some rain over the islands and toward evening. Winds moderate, initially northerly, switching to west southwesterly later on, with velocities between 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 0C and 18C. Sunny in Athens, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 17C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 4C to 15C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailiesat a glanceA handful of front-page headlines on the condition of pension funds, OA's sale and political developments amid the economic crisis mostly dominated the Sunday editions of Athens' dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The truth about pension funds and the situation today in their reserves."
APOGEVMATINI: "Thousands of illegal buildings in town planning zones. New draft law by Town Planning Ministry revealed."
AVGI: "Eight billion euros a year lost by pension funds; zero growth dramatically affects state coffers."
AVRIANI: "Consultants: Why we gave Olympic Airways to (MIG vice-president Andreas) Vgenopoulos and the reasons we excluded Aegean."
CHORA: "What's changing with inheritance law. Government readying solutions for real estate."
ELEFTHERI ORA: "The triangle of the anti-Greek abyss."
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Fear the catalyst: Difference between ND, PASOK solidified, (PM Costas) Karamanlis' profile strengthened."
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Cut civil servants' pay", Shocking command by EU Commission to reduce salaries in 2009 within Greece's cavernous public sector.
EPOCHI: "Country given over to big business."
ETHNOS: "Crime beyond control, police out of service."
KATHIMERINI: "Cabal of corruption in hospitals: Supplies prices with as much as 1,000 percent markup."
LOGOS: "New chapter opens for privatised Olympic Airways pending EU approval. End of era for national carrier."
NIKI: "Karamanlis demoralised."
PARON: "Ricaj behind terrorism. Prison break for him, not Paleokostas."
PROTO THEMA: "Increase VAT or freeze wages, » Almunia tells government.
REALNEWS: "Secret deal for elections: What Karamanlis discussed with LA.OS party leader Karatzaferis.
RIZOSPASTIS: "Optimism for strengthening of Communist Party (KKE) and counter-attack. Party decision from 18th congress."
VIMA: "Wage, tax freeze. Government studying austere measures to deal with crisis."
VRADYNI: "All the new job spots in the public sector."
 Greek Cypriot victims of Turkish invasion buriedNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Survivors of a most horrific massacre of a Greek Cypriot family, during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, buried their dead on Sunday, 35 years after they were killed in cold blood.
Eight members of the same family, the Liasis family, were laid to rest on Sunday, in a very emotional funeral ceremony, in the presence of two surviving members of the same family, now living in Athens, George and Yiannoula.
In his oration at the funeral, Interior Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis said "today's funeral is testimony to the murder of civilians during the Turkish invasion."
"Cyprus continues to live with open wounds from the 1974 invasion and the government of Demetris Christofias is working very hard to close these wounds," he added, stressing that the humanitarian issue of missing persons in Cyprus is independent of the political question.
The relatives of missing persons, he stressed, have the right to be informed about the fate of their loved ones.
"Turkey has yet to open its archives, as demanded by the European Court of Human Rights, to help investigations into the fate of those missing," the minister said.
George Liasis, bidding the last farewell to his next of kin, said the only crime his family had committed was to try and bring up the children properly, help their neighbours and live a quiet life.
"Time stood still for us on that fateful day in August 1974. Throughout the years since then, we have always been asking why this had to happen," he added.
George Liasis and his sister, Yiannoula, suffered gunshot wounds in the summer of 1974, but have survived. On Sunday they buried their mother, three sisters, a nephew, an uncle, and their grandparents on their mother's side.
On 17 August 1974, the Liasis family took refuge in the home of Andreas Souppouri in the village of Palekythro. Turkish Cypriots youths murdered eight members of the Liasis family and their remains were found in a mass grave in Palekythro, along with the remains of nine other persons, also slaughtered in the same incident.
Ioannis and Christina Michael, 77 and 68 years old respectively, their 42-year-old son Michalis Michael, their 48-year-old daughter Margarita Liasi, the three daughters of Margarita, Eleni, Christina and Iliada, 25, 23 and 18 years old respectively, as well as two-year-old Lucas Kailos, Margarita's grandson were all murdered on that day.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Over the past three years, exhumations have been taking place and remains have been identified and returned to their families.
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