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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 07/01/1998 (ANA)


  • Turkish air space violations a mockery of agreement
  • Athens calls on Turkey to deal with Kurdish problem
  • Liani sued over slap
  • Police break up heroin-trafficking ring
  • 21 kilos of hash found
  • Stowaways make good their escape
  • Syrian embassy cars torched
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Turkish air space violations a mockery of agreement

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today that Turkish violations of Greek air space during military exercises in the eastern Aegean Tuesday essentially made an accord reached in Madrid last July and another in 1988 meaningless.

Reppas was speaking after a formation of eight Turkish warplanes violated Greek air space over the island of Lesvos early yesterday as Greece celebrated Epiphany. Yesterday's violations followed similar violations on Christmas Day.

Greece and Turkey have a previous agreement not to carry out military exercises on religious or national holidays. Turkey is currently carrying out a naval, sea and air exercise in the eastern Aegean, as well as a joint exercise with the US and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean.

Calling Turkish policy "self-destructive", Reppas said Turkey's behaviour only isolated it even further from Europe by continually creating problems in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Asked to comment on the joint Turkey-US-Israel exercise, the spokesman expressed the view that the "policy of axes" did not contribute to consolidating continued stability, peace and good neighbourly relations.

"As a country, we have no problem (with Turkey's participation in this exercise) as long as all procedures determined by international law are observed. However, we are against the creation of axes," he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement to the ANA today, a US embassy official said there was no question that the Kalogeri islets, situated in an area which initially was to be included in the Turkish exercise, were under Greek sovereignty.

Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said Greece would follow standard procedures if Turkey violated Greece's air space between the islands of Mykonos and Ikaria during tomorrow's phase of the exercise.

"Any Turkish aircraft that violates Greece's air space will be intercepted immediately," said Tsohatzopoulos.

The region between Mykonos and Ikaria is included in Greece's national air space. Turkish naval forces have access to sea lanes through the region.

Tsohatzopoulos was speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis today.

Athens calls on Turkey to deal with Kurdish problem

Greece said today it was determined to work with its European Union partners to find a way to deal with the problem of illegal immigration from Turkey, as Greek police representatives met in Rome with EU experts.

"This is a major humanitarian problem," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. "The Greek government believes that the European Union must have a uniform and specific policy to deal with the problem."

"Greece is prepared to participate in any procedure which will assist in dealing with the problem."

Reppas said Turkey was obliged to resolve its domestic Kurdish problem "by economic and political means".

"Athens has for some time now stressed the problem to its partners," he said, adding that the phenomenon of illegal immigration was one that hurt, primarily, Greece.

Authorities today began moving 250 Kurdish refugees from refugee accommodation in the port city of Patras to Corinth, on the order of Public Order Minister George Romeos.

The 250 Kurds, who had been placed in a disused Greek railways machine shop, had been opposed to the move, and had threatened to go on hunger strike.

They agreed to be moved after a series of talks and meeting between their representatives and Greek authorities who assured them that the new accommodation was more satisfactory.

Liani sued over slap

A woman who slapped Dimitra Liani-Papandreou in a bookshop last October has sued the late premier's widow and two of her bodyguards for illegally detaining, threatening and insulting her, as well as physical abuse.

Anastasia Athini, a civil servant, walked up to Liani as the latter was signing copies of her book "Ten years and 54 days", in which she relates her life with the late Andreas Papandreou.

Athini slapped her across the face, later explaining her actions as being prompted by Liani's behaviour, which she said reflected badly on Greek women.

Plainclothes police officers took Athini downstairs to a bookshop basement where they detained her. Liani at one point went down to speak to Liani.

She includes the book's publishers Ilias and Panayota Livani, who also own the bookshop where the incident took place, as well as journalist Markos Mouzakis, who collaborated on the book.

Police break up heroin-trafficking ring

Police said today that they had broken up a five-member drug ring operating out of Albania and confiscated 11 kilos of heroin.

Among those arrested are one woman and an Albanian actor, Victor Zousi. Police are also seeking the alleged head of the ring, known only as "Tani".

Experts said the heroin originated from Turkey and say that the drug trade from the neighbouring country was using Albania as a transit stop en route to Greece and other European countries.

21 kilos of hash found

Police today found 21 kilos of hashish in the rural region of Tagaradon in Thessaloniki.

They found one kilo and 350 grams of hashish in a jacket abandoned at a shack. A further search uncovered another 20 kilos and 50 grams of the drug in 18 packets stashed in a metal barrel buried in the ground.

Police believe the hashish had been smuggled into Greece by Albanians from the neighbouring country and was destined for sale on the streets.

Meanwhile, a 30-year-old livestock breeder from Thessaloniki was arrested for drugs possession at the nothern Greek capital's Macedonia Airport.

Emmanuel Adamopoulos was arrested with 4.5 grams of cocaine and half a gram of hashish in his possession on arrival from Amsterdam.

Stowaways make good their escape

Four Moroccan stowaways were discovered hidden in the holds of the merchant cargo ship "Nitsa-B" when it docked in the northern Greek port city of Kavala, police said today.

The freighter had arrived from Morocco carrying 16,000 tons of phosphates for the Nea Karvali phosphoric fertilizer industry in Kavala.

The stowaways were discovered by the ship's crew when it opened the holds to unload the cargo.

The ship's Romanian captain ordered the detention of the stowaways and informed the Kavala port authorities to take them into custody, but the four managed to escape from the crew and fled on foot to the port, where a search failed to locate them.

Syrian embassy cars torched

Unidentified persons set fire at dawn today to two cars belonging to the Syrian Embassy, causing damage but no injuries, police said.

One of the cars, which were parked on corner of Kifissias and Panormou streets in central Athens, was totally destroyed and the other was slightly damaged.

Police said the arsons were caused by a fire bomb, adding that a cannister with remains of gasoline was found near the destroyed car.

Eyewitnesses told police that they saw "two young men near the cars who sped off on a large motorcycle after the fire".


Fair weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with some cloudiness and scattered showers in Macedonia, Thrace and the eastern Aegean Sea. Winds moderate westerly-southwesterly turning to northwesterly in the evening in the west and north of the country. Athens will be mostly sunny with temperatures from 7-14C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 3-10C.


Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.129 Pound sterling 467.153 Cyprus pd 535.978 French franc 46.848 Swiss franc 192.974 German mark 156.805 Italian lira (100) 15.952 Yen (100) 213.588 Canadian dlr. 199.571 Australian dlr. 183.446 Irish Punt 401.760 Belgian franc 7.602 Finnish mark 51.812 Dutch guilder 139.118 Danish kr. 41.180 Swedish kr. 35.567 Norwegian kr. 38.440 Austrian sch. 22.295 Spanish peseta 1.852 Port. Escudo 1.532


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