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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek, Turkish FMs discuss confidence-building measures
  • [02] 4th Greek-Turkish Media Meeting
  • [03] PASOK leader in Tirana
  • [04] PASOK, SYN to discuss Greek-Turkish relations
  • [05] President Papoulias visits Distomo

  • [01] Greek, Turkish FMs discuss confidence-building measures

    The foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, Dora Bakoyannis and Abdullah Gul, agreed in a meeting they had in Istanbul on Saturday on specific measures for further strengthening relations between the two countries and for easing tension. "We confirmed the political will for initiatives which will strengthen the climate of confidence and will restrict tension to the greatest possible degree," Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated in the joint press conference which followed the talks. Specifically, an agreement was signed for the setting up of a direct line of communication between the chiefs of the Armed Forces General Staff of the two countries, as well as the setting up of a direct phone line between the NATO sub-headquarters based in Larissa, central Greece and a military base in Eskisehir, Turkey.

    They also agreed on the building of a second bridge in the region of Evros and the establishment of ad hoc committees for the taking of measures for the confrontation of problems from floods in the region.

    The foreign ministers further agreed that within the framework of a memorandum in 1988, for there to be a moratorium in the Aegean from June 15 to September 15, that is, it will be valid for three months instead of the previous two months. Agreement was also reached for the planning of exercises between the two countries' rescue and search squads for the confrontation of natural disasters, and the exchange of visits between the chiefs of the Port Authority of the two countries. The chief of Turkey's Armed Forces General Staff also invited his Greek counterpart to visit Turkey.

    The two foreign ministers also agreed that cooperation should continue between the two countries in the energy, economic and banking sectors, in which, acccording to Bakoyannis, "important steps have been made."

    Bakoyannis noted that "in the open, sincere and constructive meeting" she had with her Turkish counterpart Gul, "we created the framework in order for there to be results to the mutual interest of the two countries." She added that "the target is for us to utilise the impetus so as to consolidate a climate of confidence in our bilateral relations."

    Bakoyannis said "our meeting today is yet another step in the right direction," adding that "we shall continue to meet and have substantial discussions."

    Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul described the discussion he had with his Greek counterpart "on all our issues" as "extremely beneficial with very much courage and cordiality." He noted the political will of neighbouring Turkey "for Greek-Turkish bilateral relations to be strengthened even more."

    Gul said characteristically that "the glass of water in Greek-Turkish relations is more than half full and we will try to fill it."

    (ANA-MPA photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul at the meeting they had in Istanbul on Saturday)

    [02] 4th Greek-Turkish Media Meeting

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul addressed the opening session of the 4th Greek-Turkish Meeting of Media Representatives in Istanbul on Saturday morning. They appealed to the mass media of Greece and Turkey and to their representatives to contribute in the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. "The role of politicians, and you will agree with me Mr. Gul, is for them to find solutions to problems," said Bakoyannis, who is in Istanbul since Friday and will remain there until Sunday.

    "You journalists with your cooperation, as well as with Mr. Gul's and myself, we can make even a small step forward. I am certain that many more and more important things will follow," the Greek foreign minister said.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul called on the Greek and Turkish journalists "to have a constructive and objective stance and not a populist one."

    "You can, better and more easily than politicians, direct public opinion. I ask of you to use the pencil to bring the two nations closer," Gul added.

    Bakoyannis also referred to the air collision between a Greek and Turkish fighter jet in the Aegean on May 23 above the island of Karpathos, resulting in the death of Greek pilot Costas Iliakis. She said that "the Greek people are deeply affected psychologically from the loss of a grand young man," adding that "there is an effusive disappointment which is mainly due to the widespread feeling that neighbouring Turkey is not proceeding in substantial moves of friendship towards Greece."

    She also noted:"The Greek people want to live in friendship and brotherhood with Turkey, with the prerequisite that they believe that they are not being wronged. To believe that the neighbouring country is not claiming anything from its territory."

    She referred for the second time in her speech that "the role of politicians is to solve problems," at the same time stressing that "we should see the solution of our problems as a situation of 'mutual benefit'."

    When there are problems, "it is the obligation of the mass media not to burden their solution," she said.

    "I firmly believe in the great role, positive and negative, which the mass media can play," said Bakoyannis, noting that "the mass media have power and responsibility, which they must handle accordingly."

    Turkish Foreign Minister Gul noted from the beginning of his speech that "we will discuss with Mrs. Bakoyannis all the problems of the two countries," stating that "the stage in which relations between Greece and Turkey are in, gives the possibility for their solution through dialogue and cooperation."

    Gul also said the development of cooperation between the two countries "will contribute to the regional stability of the Balkans, of the Black Sea and of the Mediterranean." The Turkish foreign minister added that "the Aegean will definitely become a sea of peace, which will unite the two peoples."

    Referring to Cyprus, Gul said that "our anticipation is, given that a comprehensive solution will be secured, is for Cyprus to become a symbol of peace, cooperation and development."

    Concluding, Gul underlined the steps for confidence-building measures between the two neighbouring countries, namely, mobility in tourism, the high bulk of bilateral trade and cooperation in the energy sector, steps, which he said, "also contribute to regional stability."

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis)

    [03] PASOK leader in Tirana

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou addressed the 10th Congress of Albania's Socialist Party in Tirana on Saturday. Papandreou was invited to the congress by Socialist Party Chairman and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama. Papandreou referred to the relations between the two parties and to the initiatives undertaken by PASOK for the securing of the rights of immigrants in Greece. He also spoke in particular about the Greek minority in Albania, noting that it constitutes "wealth" for the neighbouring country.

    Furthermore, the PASOK leader referred to the "positive work" of Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios, underlining his contribution "to the improvement and strengthening of relations between Greece and Albania."

    The purpose of the 10th Congress of Albania's Socialist Party was, among other things, changes to its charter.

    Papandreou was due to meet Archbishop Anastasios later in the day.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK leader George Papandreou)

    [04] PASOK, SYN to discuss Greek-Turkish relations

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos will meet on Tuesday with main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, in the context of the latter's initiative for the paving of a new strategy in Greek-Turkish relations.

    Meanwhile, Synaspismos Secretary Nikos Hountis, referring to Saturday's meeting in Istanbul between Greek and Turkish foreign ministers Dora Bakoyannis and Abdullah Gul, stated that his party "firmly claims that the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations must be sought through dialogue between the two countries on the basis of international law and of international treaties."

    Hountis added that "such a dialogue is facilitated from the lifting of the casus beli on the part of Turkey and the balanced reduction of the excessive armaments between the two countries."

    Hountis further noted that the Greek government is obliged to remind that Turkey's (EU) accession course must be linked with respect on the part of Turkey, of the acquis communautaire and the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and the shaping of relations of good neighbourliness with Greece.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Synaspismos leader Alekos Alavanos)

    [05] President Papoulias visits Distomo

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias visited Distomo Municipality in central Greece on Saturday and attended a memorial service at Saint Nicholas Church for the town's inhabitants who were slaughtered 62 years ago by the German occupation troops in World War Two.

    Papoulias later visited the city's Town Hall and afterwards the Mausoleum, where a Te Deum was held, and laid a wreath.

    Prior to his departure for Athens, the president unveiled a sculpture at the entrance of the town which was created by School of Fine Arts professor George Kalakalas and entitled "World Kiss".

    Also present at the events was Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos and all the prefecture's deputies.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias)

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