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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-01-14

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Wednesday, 14-Jan-98 13:10:16


  • [01] Terrorism
  • [02] Agia Sophia
  • [03] Nicholas Burns
  • [04] Stock market
  • [05] Karamanlis
  • [06] Argyrokastro

  • [01] Terrorist

    The Greek police have arrested the man they believe to be the leader of a terrorist organisation, and are questioning 15 other people arrested on suspicion of terrorist activities.

    For the first time, the country's anti-terrorist squad may be on the verge of smashing a terrorist organisation.

    Following raids of a number of Athenian homes that began late Monday night and ended Tuesday morning, the police believe they have apprehended the members of the Combatant Guerrilla Faction, which has taken responsibility for a total of six bombings since it first appeared in 1996.

    The clue the police had been waiting for came from a fingerprint found on a bomb that exploded at the development ministry on December 6th. A group calling itself the Anarchist Guerrillas of War took credit for that attack, it's first and only since then.

    Police identified the print as belonging to one Nikos Matziotis, and followed the 28-year-old for 40 days before launching the sweep Tuesday.

    The police found guns and explosives materials in his home. They also found incriminating documents, including the text that was sent to a major Athenian newspaper before the development ministry bombing, and a poster reading "Beautiful Shops Burn".

    Following Matziotis for over a month, the police learned more about his contacts.

    And in their Monday night raids, they searched not only Matziotis's house and two homes belonging to his father; they also searched six other premises, including three squats turned into communes. Of particular interest to the police are the possible involvement in terrorism of three women, one of them, Suzanne Ritter, a German.

    The authorities have noted a similiarity between the device used in the December 6th bombing and another explosive device planted earlier by the Combatant Guerrilla Faction. They are investigating the possibility of links between the two organisations, and other terrorist groups that appeared in recent years.

    The Anarchist Guerrillas have only claimed responsibility for the one bombing, last December's. One of the justifications for that attack was their opposition to the 2004 Olympics coming to Athens. And, at one of the communes the police raided Monday night, a banner hanging on the front of the building expresses opposition to the 2004 Games.

    [02] Agia Sophia

    A Greek sexton was found murdered in a chapel near the cathedral of Agia Sophia in Constantinople Monday. A number of valuable relgious items had been stolen.

    Smoke and flames coming out of the small chapel alerted people near the chapel that something was wrong.

    Forcing open the iron gate outside the chapel, they assisted the fire department in putting the fire out.

    The body of sexton Vassilis Haviaropoulos was discovered shortly thereafter, his skull broken by


    The sexton only opened the chapel every Monday, to distribute holy water alleged to have therapeutic powers to both Christians and Muslims.

    After the murder, icons and a Bible, all containing silver, were missing.

    Condemning the murder, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas noted that in all the attacks on properties belonging to the ecumenical orthodox patriarchate, the Turkish police haven't found even a single clue pertaining to the culprits.

    In recent years, there have been bombing attacks at the patriarchate compound.

    Reppas says Greece is protesting the murder at the chapel through official international diplomatic channels.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said the Turkish government is responsible for the safety of the patriarchate and the Greek minority in Constantinople.

    [03] Nicholas Burns

    The United States has full respect for Greece's sovereign rights in the Aegean, says the American ambassador to Greece.

    Nicholas Burns made the comment after an earlier statement that the US recognises only six miles of sovereign airspace, not the ten miles Greece claims.

    The issue came to the fore recently. Greece objected to Turkey scheduling air manoeuvres within ten miles of two Greek islands.

    Turkey has so far said it recognises only six miles of Greek airspace. But Tuesday, Ankara didn't even respect that. Turkish fighters flew less than six miles off the coast of the islands of Chios and Mytilene and the Dodecanese.

    Late in the afternoon, Turkish jets were chased away by Greek fighters as they tried to approach the helicopter carrying the Greek defence minister.

    Akis Tsochatzopoulos is visiting Mitilene, Chios, and Psara.

    US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns tried to smooth over the ripples caused by his statement that the US recongnises only six miles of air space.

    Downplaying the matter, Burns said the US is aware that Greece has claimed ten miles since 1931, and the issue does not constitute a difference between Greece and the US.

    Burns says the US doesn't tie the issue of Greek sovereignty to the 6 or 10 mile issue.

    For example, he notes that the rocks of Kalogiri in the central Aegean are Greek, and should be respected as such. Turkey tried to question Greek sovereignty over the rocks by scheduling military manoeuvres there.

    Burns believes the airspace extent is not the main issue. The important thing is for Greece and Turkish to work together at reducing tension in the region. "Obviously", he concludes, "sovereignty must be respected".

    Burns spoke after meeting with New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis. After their discussion, party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said stability in the region is strengthened when everyone respects Greece's sovereign rights.

    [04] Stock market

    Jitters and determination were the chief characteristics of the day's action on the Athens stock exchange and the nation's money markets.

    The jitters belonged to investors, cautious about investing under the cloud of global stock and currency shake ups.

    The determination belonged to the Bank of Greece, which continued to fend off a speculative attack on the drachma with high interest rates.

    After a 5 per cent tumble Monday, the Athens exchange ended Tuesday 1.5 per cent higher, after a see-saw ride on the trading floor.

    Some analysts say the government's use of high interest rates and foreign exchange reserve sell offs are not enough to keep the drachma where it is. Pasok must also move boldly ahead with privatisation of state enterprises that are a burden on the budget, if they want to keep the Greek currency strong.

    [05] Karamanlis

    The main opposition party is worried about the way the government is handling the economy.

    New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis heaped criticism on Pasok at a meeting of the party's executive committee.

    Karamanlis said the prime minister's been too indecisive and timid to move on needed reforms, meaning the economy has wandered up a blind alley.

    The Greek people are the main victims of the bad policies, he added.

    Former prime minister Constantinos Mitsotakis warns the prime minister none of his policies will be convincing if they're not accompanied by the structural changes that need to be made in the economy.

    Predicting the economy will collapse by springtime, he foresees a freefall devaluation of the drachma by May.

    Former party leader Miltiades Evert said the

    government's insistence on shoring up the drachmae will have an unbearable cost for the ecnomy.

    [06] Argyrokastro

    Former Albanian president Sali Berisha may have lost last year's elections, but apparently people loyal to him haven't given up on trying to disrupt the new government's attempts to return the country to normal.

    Three bombs exploded in the southern city of Argyrokastro just after midnight Monday.

    In the first blast, an abandoned two-storey building which used to house the old communist regime's security police was levelled. A private residence beneath it on the slope could've gone down too.

    As it was, Anastasios Tsoulis and his mother Anthoula were untouched by the blast, though their home was damaged.

    Anastasios says after the first blast, he heard two more a few minutes later. One damaged the city hall, and the other the offices of the ruling socialist party.

    The explosions came just hours after the public order minister announced that the tension in the southern part of the country has almost been completely defused. The tenson started earlier last year, when protests against the Berisha regime began in the south.

    Observers speculate that Berisha's people are trying to thwart the new government's efforts to stabilise the situation.

    The new government has not only a weak police force, but a corruption- riddled one. The newly- appointed police chiefs in Argyrokastro and nearby Agi Saranta have both been arrested and charged with cigarette smuggling.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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