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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis meets with Turkish counterpart Erdodan in Vienna
  • [02] PASOK leader calls for debate on 'quality of democracy'

  • [01] PM Karamanlis meets with Turkish counterpart Erdodan in Vienna

    Vienna (ANA-MPA/A. Panagopoulos) -- Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Friday morning with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Vienna, on the sidelines of the summit meeting of the EU, Latin American and Carribean countries, and discussed mainly economic and business issues, particularly in view of the imminent commencement of the tourism season.

    Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and Turkish minister of State Ali Babacan were also present at the 45-minute meeting.

    No statements were made to the press after the talks.

    The discussion, which came on the heels of a Karamanlis-Erdogan meeting on May 4 on the sidelines of the South East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit in Thessaloniki, was held within the framework of the two PMs' new policy of frequent bilateral contacts, and was requested by the Turkish prime minister two days earlier.

    Regarding tourism, a moratorium on avoiding tension during the summer months that was agreed in 1988 between then Greek and Turkish foreign ministers Karolos Papoulias -- currently President of the Hellenic Republic -- and Mesut Yilmaz, is still in effect, although the issue was not broached during the Karamanlis-Erdogan meeting.

    Karamanlis called for the repeal of a 50-dollar duty imposed by the Turkish authorities on tourists travelling to Greece -- even on a brief visit -- from Turkey, and Erdogan replied that it was an "administrative matter" that concerned the state services, and promised to look into a solution.

    The two men also discusssed the problem of long delays arising at the Evros River bridge on the frontier between the two countries, which are mainly due to bureacracy, and mulled the possibility of establishing a second bridge.

    Discussions also encompassed Greek-Turkish cooperation in the energy sector.

    Turkish minister of state Ali Babacan, who also attended the meeting, presented a briefing on progress in Turkey's EU accession course, but the Cusoms Union protocol issue was not broached.

    Greek government sources, on condition of anonymity, told ANA-MPA that "Turkey is very much interested in showing that it is doing everything possible to fulfill the criteria set out by the EU. And let's not forget that all these are also linked with the domestic political front".

    The two sides further reiterated their volition for improvement of Greek-Turkish relations.

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis is scheduled to visit Istanbul on June 10 for a Greek-Turkish journalists' conference, and will meet with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of the conference.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] PASOK leader calls for debate on 'quality of democracy'

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday called for an off-the-agenda debate in parliament on "the quality of democracy in Greece".

    In a letter to parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Papandreou said that the government has promised equality before the law and equality before the state, the upgrading of Greece's democratic institutions, meritocracy, and dignity for every citizen, but today there was an "absolute inconsistency between words and actions" resulting from the "formation of a clientelle state aimed at greater control and the concentration of authority".

    The most important problem, Papandreou added in his letter, was a "downgrading of our democratic institutions and weakening of the individual and social rights of the citizens".

    He said it was apparent that "due to the policy and practices of the government, there is an issue of the quality of democracy in our country, an issue of operation of the state and the institutions, as it also appears in the downgrading of the operation of parliament, with the government's initiatives and stance".

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

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