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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-05-07

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From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, 07/05/97


  • Greece's former king and politicians exchange accusations about the past.
  • Leading Greek and American officials meet in Crete.
  • And, Mikis Theodorakis undergoes medical tests in Athens.


Greece's former king has flatly denied claims that he knew of an alleged plot to overthrow the government of prime minister Constantinos Karamanlis in 1976.

Excerpts from Karmanlis's archives have appeared in a number of newspapers, sparking a discussion of Greek politics in the 1960s and 70s.

Ex-king Constantine says he never had any knowledge of plans by a group of military officers to overthrow the government. Quite the contrary, he says Karamanlis and other politicians told him to impose a dictatorship in the 1960s.

Those claims have in turn been denied.

The excerpts from Constantinos Karamanlis's archives, comprised of confidential letters and documents, talk of a plan by military officers loyal to former king Constantine, to overthrow Karamanlis's democratically- elected.

Specifically, hearing of the existence of such a plot, Karamanlis sent Giorgios Rallis to London to warn the former monarch off the idea.

Ex-king Constantine responded to the claims in a lengthy statement Monday.

He says he was shocked when Rallis told him in London that there were plans for a coup, and perhaps even to assassinate Karamanlis.

Rallis also told the ex-king that the British government was the source of the information.

Constantine went immediately to discuss the matter with then British prime minister James Callaghan. Callaghan not only denied the reports, but insisted that Greeks were their source. The British government, Callaghan continued, attached no importance to them.

Nonetheless, says Constantine in Monday's statement, Rallis refused to visit Callaghan with him, to have his concerns allayed.

Constantine expresses his dismay at the Karmanlis contentions.

The statement from his office says, "Constantine never needed to prove his democratic persuasions. Indeed, he sacrificed his throne to the defence of the democratic freedoms of the Greek people.

Constantine says he has often been forced, because he was formerly the highest authority in Greece, to refrain from responding to personal attacks, in the interests of the nation's well-being.

But he feels obliged to respond to the archives.

The former king not only rejects the claims made against him, he says that often, politicians acted undemocratically.

His statement says that in 1965, the main opposition leader asked Constantinos to suspend basic constitutional principles and let him form a governemnt. In 1966, it continues, Constantine called Karmanlis to return to Athens from Paris, and contribute to the restoration of political calm. Karamanlis, says the statement, agreed to return only if Constantine imposed a dictatorship.

In 1967, the statement continues, Constantine received a request from Panagiotis Kanellopoulos and Giorgios Rallis to impose a dictatorship.

Constantine refused even to discuss these proposals.

Reportedly outraged by the former king's claims, Karamanlis called them quote, "An unhesitating falsification of history". Karamanlis says his archive materials are an exact representation of the period they cover.

Rallis calls the claims concerning him "slander". The late Kanellopoulos, he explains, asked the king to declare a state of emergency if it looked like there was a threat of a coup.

The statement from Constantine's office calls it "sad" that politicians who have been running the country for decades want him to take responsibility for past events the constitution charges them with being responsible for.

And the announcement from the former king's office continues: "Although Constantine is forced to remain outside his country, he's well aware of the serious problems of the Greek people, and the dangers the nation is faced with"

Despite his concern, the former monarch says he's optimistic that the virtues of the Greek people will help them prevail. "Fortunately", he says, "people are raising their voices, independently of what the political parties' positions are.

Those voices are saying that Cyprus isn't a far away place, and is in the hearts of us all. Those voices are saying that we demand the rights of Greeks throughout the Balkans, and that there can be no thought of concessions when it comes to our soveregin rights. "Politicians", the statement concludes, "come and go; but national disasters remain uncorrected".


The Greek-Turkish committee to look at diffences between the two countries will start work in a few days.

Its first task, says Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, will be to list the issues to be discussed.

At this stage there are really two committees: one composed of two Greeks, and another of two Turks. The Greek and Turkish committee members will not meet, but send their separate reports on Greek- Turkish issues to the European Union mediator.

Holland, the EU chair, and Turkey would like all four commission members to meet three times. But Greece says that if there is no common ground found in the initial reports, then there should be no tete-a- tete meeting of the Greek and Turkish experts.

The Greek government has come under fire even from within Pasok over the committee.

Education minister Gerasimos Arsenis said at an executive bureau meeting Monday, that the committee holds many traps, and asked for a special meeting of Pasok's central committee to discuss Greek- Turkish relations.

Two other members of Pasok's executive bureau, Manolis Daskalakis, and Pandelis Ikonomou, have also expressed reservations over government policy.

But in his address to the executive bureau Monday, Simtis said the committee must go ahead. Greece, he countered, can't stay shut up in a room, as some would like, being intransigent to make an impression at home.

"If we don't leave the room", the prime minister conitnued, "and don't reveal expose our adversary, then we'll be criticised.".

Through the committee, he added, Greece will greatly benefit, because it will show the world Turkey's real intentions.

Simtis met with Arsenis Tuesday. No statements were made afterward, but the govenrment spokesman said there are no differences within the cabinet over foreign policy.


High-ranking Greek and American officials met in Crete, to discuss bilateral relations, defence matters, and loans to Greece for the purchase of planes and other military equipment.

US southern Europe envoy Cary Cavanaugh was at the meeting.

The 6th high-level advisory conference also looked at Greek and American views on Balkan and Aegean security.

The American delegation was headed by assistant secretary of state John Londal. Greece's was headed by deputy defence minister Dimitris Apostolakis. Apostolakis said Greece is looking at all the possible supply sources to fulfill the needs its armaments programe. He added that Grece wants good value for money and high performance from the goods it buys.

He also said the status quo in the Aegean won't be changed.

Londal took a non-commital stand on Greek-Turkish differences in the Aegean.

Cavanaugh called the Cyprus issue a matter of vital importance.

Sources say Greece and the US want to upgrade the military operational role of the island of Gavdos, near Crete.


The Greek defence minister discussed the enlargement of Nato during a visit to Poland. Akis Tsochatzopoulos met with Polish officials in Warsaw.

He also talked about Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue with his hosts.

Tsochatzopoulos was welcomed in Warsaw with honours, just two days before the visit of Turkish president Souleiman Demirel to Poland.

Poland will probably be the first former eastern European bloc naton to join Nato. And Greece wants to help it on its way.

Turkey, on the other hand, is threatening to bloc Nato enlargement, if its own entry into the European Union is not promoted.

Turkey's relations with the EU are being hampered by its aggressive treatment of Greece, and its poor human rights record.

Turkey has repeatedly questioned Greece's territorial rights in the Aegean. In Poland, Tsochatzopulos and his hosts agreed that no country has the right to disrespect international law and existing borders, or try to change the status quo through threats of violence.


The finance minster says the economy is on the road to recovery.

Iannos Papantoniou spoke after a meeting with the prime minister.

"Inflation was below 6 per cent in April, tax revenues are up, the 1997 budget is on course, and European Union development funds are being absorbed", said Papantoniou.

International Monetary Fund officials arrived in Greece Tuesday, visiting the General Accounts Office for an update on the economy.

They said Greece should concentrate on working out state insurance fund problems, and make sure it can cover the funds' deficits.


There's good news on rhe health of Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, who underwent medical tests at the Athens Medical Centre Tuesday.

The composer cut short a European tour in Germany Monday, after experiencing breathing problems.

After conducting pulmonary and other tests, his attending physician said his only problem is exhaustion.

Theodorakis, who's been feeling run down for months, says doctors recommended he cancel all his 1997 dates.

Theodorakis and Turkish composer Livanelli kicked off a concert tour in Bonn last week, expressing their hope that perhaps their performances all over Europe could act as a bridge of friendship between their two countries.


Solar energy is on its way to becoming a part of daily life all over the world. After its debut in California, the first solar car was unveiled in Athens by Greenpeace.

Greenpeace invited Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and EU energy commissioner Christos Papoutsis to take a test spin. And they did.

Avramopoulos said Athens will become the first European city with electric buses. Ten of them are due to hit the streets next February.

"The sun and the wind are gold in our hands", says Papoutsis, "and we should use them".

Greenpeace's solar car needs a solar unit, a generator and a socket. After eight hours plugged in, the car can run for 90 kilometers unplugged.

© ANT1 Radio 1997

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