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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-01-05

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Monday, 05-Jan-98 12:56:47


  • [01] Turkey
  • [02] Tanks
  • [03] Foreign Office
  • [04] Taxes
  • [05] C-130
  • [06] Prisons

  • [01] Turkey

    Turkey is beginning the new year the way it ended the old one: by provoking Greece in the Aegean.

    Ankara started three weeks of naval air exercises Friday.

    With their Aegean exercises, Turkey's generals are testing the resolve of Greece to maintain control over its air space.

    The Turkish manoeuvres place in doubt the validity of Athens air control over the Aegean, and they revive Turkey's claims that there are grey zones of dubious sovereignty in the Aegean Sea.

    Four of the eight areas Turkey has selected for its exercises impose on Greek sovereignty.

    Following Greece's objections to those four areas being used, Turkey accommodated in two areas: it agreed to move one exercise site away from the airport in Limnos; and to move an exercise site in the east-central Aegean further north.

    But it won't budge on the other areas.

    The most important problem areas for Greece are the region south of Rhodes, and the area around the Greek rocks of Kalogiri to the north.

    Turkey appears to be trying to create a new Imia issue. It says the Kalogiri islands are of dubious sovereignty, just as it has been saying of Imia since 1996.

    Another problem area for Greece is the sea region between the islands of Ikaria and Mykonos. Greece says no international air space exists between these two islands, due to the fact that there is a 10 mile Greek air space that exists between the two. Because nointernational air space exists, access is denied to Turkish aircraft.

    Turkey disagrees and says that it doesn't recognise these 10 miles, and speaks only of a 6 mile Greek air space that each island possesses, leaving an international air path of 7 miles between the two islands.

    Ankara insists on carrying out military exercises on January 8th in this region, which has troubled the greek government. In an effort to resolve the problem, a meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry between diplomats and military officials on Friday morning.

    Another meeting is scheduled for Saturday with the participation of deputy foreign minister Yiannos Kranidiotis.

    On Thursday, Greek deputy foreign minister Dimitris ApostolAkis issued a stiff warning to Ankara. He said, "Turkey has become especially provocative in recent days. We're not worried though, and will do whatever necessary to protect the Greek people".

    Defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and US ambassador Nicolas Burns met at the Greek Pentagon Friday morning. The US has shown intense interest in helping to de-escalate the tense climate created by Turkey.

    Konstantinos Bikas, spokesman to the foreign ministry said, "We are closely watching the Turkish exercises, which follow on the tail of the EU's summit in Luxembourg. Adding, "Because of the events that unfolded, Turkey is now in a state of diplomatic isolation and is reacting to those events".

    And New Democracy Honorary President Constantinos Mitsotakis said the reactions from Turkey are irresponsible and dangerous. Adding, "But I am optimistic, and don't believe Turkey really wants to create a hot seat. But I will say that their actions show they lack political leadership".

    The Turkish exercises in the controversial areas will be held from January 5th to the 8th. It will be a tense time, with Greek fighters intercepting Turkish planes violating Greek air space.

    [02] Tanks

    In reponse to Turkey's aggressive behaviour, Greece is preparing to buy 200 tanks, which will help strengthen the nation's defences in Evros and islands distant from mainland Greece.

    The government is looking at five candidates. A decision on which tank to get will be made by next summer.

    The Russian T-80 has its light weight and large guns to recommend it. The disadvantage is that it is not compatible with anything the Greek army already has.

    Britain's Challenger 2 was tried and tested in the Gulf War, where it took out an enemy tank at a range of 5.2 kilometres.

    But it is expensive.

    As is another candidate, the American M1A2. That tank has strong armor, but is thought too heavy for many Greek bridges.

    The German Leopard 2A5 is attractive because Greece already has many Leopard tanks, and the new model has a good engine and good guns. On the downside is its heaviness, and the fact that there is no room for future improvement in the model.

    Finally, there's the French LeClerc. It's one of the most modern tanks on the market, and one of the fastest. Unfortunately, it's also one of the costliest.

    [03] Foreign Office

    Top secret British documents on the Cyprus issue have been released to the public, as usual. The British government declassifies archival material after it is 30 years old.

    Tonight we offer you a glimpse of what was being said in 1966 and 1967.

    Documents released by the British foreign office reveal that in November 1966 Greek king Constantine told British prime minister Harold Wilson of his plan to join Cyprus to Greece.

    In exchange for allowing Cyprus to join Greece, Turkey demanded that it be allowed to maintain a military presence on the island.

    Constantine agreed. The only remaining hitch was that while Greece was agreeing to rent Turkey a base in Cyprus for 99 years, Turkey wanted to be given permanent sovereignty over the base.

    The Greek monarch also said that Archbishop Makarios, the leader of Cyprus, would be persuaded to accept the plan; and Greek opposition parties would be pushed into agreeing to it.

    Constantine says he has good personal relations with one of his biggest opponents, Centre Union leader Giorgos Papandreou, despite their political differences.

    In the foreign office archives, there are also documents stating that the United States and Britain were concerned that Turkey might invade Cyprus, and were determinied to persuade it to refrain from doing so.

    Finally, Wilson reflects that Constantine did the honorable thing in compromising with the Colonels who took over Greece in April 1967. Wilson says Constantine had no alternative.

    [04] Taxes

    Well, the New Year is here, and with it there are new taxes.

    Levies on a number of everyday items will have consumers reaching deeper into their pockets to pay for things.

    Cigarettes are jumping up by 20 cents a pack - the old price on a pack was around 2 dollars and 20 cents.

    A bottle of wine will cost about 30 cents more this year.

    And it'll be more expensive to talk on the telephone. A 100-unit phone card will cost 12 per cent more.

    And if Greeks think staying off the phone and sitting quietly at home will keep them from spending more, they can think again. Rents are going up too, thanks to goverment hikes in taxable property values. Getting out of the house will be more expensive too: car prices are going up.

    Against that, there's one thing that's going up very little: people's incomes. Inflation is anticipated at just under 5 per cent for next year. Wage earners are getting 2.5 per cent pay hikes in 98 - the lucky ones, that is. Others will be getting just 1.8 per cent.

    [05] C-130

    Greece's political and military leaders paid tribute to the five airforce officers who died on December 20th, when their C-130 cargo plane crashed into a mountain near Athens.

    The officers had set off to pick up commandos to look for remnants of another plane, a Ukranian civil airliner, which had crashed near Thessaloniki some days before.

    At the Elevsina air base a church service was held in memory of the officers.

    The Defence minister and military leaders joined the families of the deceased to paid tribute to pilots Giorgos Papayiannopoulos and Panagiotis Golfinoo-poulos; flight engineer Panagiotis Alexiou; navigator Sarandis Moutsatsos and loading officer Theofilos Georgakopoulos.

    [06] Prisons

    Greece's prison inmates will be able to serve some of their time by working in the community.

    People serving time will be able to work for the state in a number of areas: from cleaning, to gardening, to forest protection, to construction.

    The restriction on the alternative sentences is that all the terms must be of the kind that can be bought off - that is, they can not be from felony convictions.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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