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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-02-13

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Friday, 13-Feb-98 14:47:34


  • [01] Imia
  • [02] Farmers
  • [03] New Democracy
  • [04] Olympics Airways
  • [05] Vietnam-Greece
  • [06] Students
  • [07] Greek Air Industry
  • [08] Sports

  • [01] Imia

    Delving into the Imia episode in 1996, Antenna foreign news chief Giorgos Vlavianos went to Constantinople to speak with Ali Beerand, a Turkish journalist who made a documentary on the Imia incident.

    According to Berand, Turkish admiral Giouven Erkayia said Turkey chose to land troops on the smaller of the two Imia rocks because there was no Greek military presence around it.

    Antenna's Giorgos Vlabianos asked journalist Ali Beerand why Giourven Erkayia recently decided to reveal to him what was going on in Ankara during the Imia crisis in 1996.

    "He's could talk...trusted me... calm he was very calm."

    In the documentary Erkayia speaks about what had been discussed at the meeting prior to the invasion of Imia. It is obvious that the idea came from Inal Batou, the foreign ministry official responsible for Greek- Turkish relations at the time.

    According to Erkayia, Batou said, "there are two islands there. There are no soldiers on one of them. Why don't we land on the second island?"

    Looking back Batou says, "The advantage was that it it would greatly reduce the risk of war. Landing on the island would give both sides an equal hold over Imia.

    Premier Tansu Ciller at the time and foreign minister Denise Baykal were determined to move ahead toward a military solution if the problem couldn't be resolved diplomatically.

    In the documentary Erkayia say, "There was tension during the meeting. The tension was so high that the situation definitely needed some kind of solution within one or two days. Either diplomatically, or with the use of weapons. Prime minister Ciller and foreign minister Baykal seemed determined to resolve the problem in a military manner if it could not be resolved diplomatically".

    "After the meeting, Inal Batou, Ciller and Baykal worried about keeping a promise they had given to the public. They insisted on landing. Of course we had to be ready for any consequences of such a move".

    The documentary sheds light on Turkish thinking behind the landing.

    The question is, what was the point of Beerand's documentary? Oddly, he says, to show that Turkey didn't want to push Greece into war.

    "The foreign ministry and the military didn't want to provoke this, they didn't want to put Greece in a corner...violently".

    [02] Farmers

    Farmers in central and northern Greece are poised to set up roadblocks of major road arteries, as they did just over a year ago.

    Thursday's much-awaited meeting between farmers' and government reps proved fruitless, the government saying that meeting the farmers' demands would be much too costly for the nation.

    Nothing new came out of Thursday's three-hour meeting. The farmers asked for income support, the agriculture minister said no.

    Stephanos Tzoumakas explained that the nation's budget simply doesn't have enough money to meet what he says are the farmers' 4 billion dollar demands. Those demands include a doubling of the farmers' pension; a break on fuel taxes; help in lowering other production costs; and reimbursement from the state for crops lost to natural disasters.

    Tzoumakas said the government is setting up a committee that will propose a package of measures to help the farmers. But the only thing he was offering Thursday was a fuel-tax cut for some groups of farmers.

    The farmers' - who claim the cost of their demands would be far less than what the government estimates - responded that the fuel tax isn't one of their major concerns.

    What they're most interested in is more income support. Tzoumakas said, "We'll spend what we can on the kind of infrastructure - like dams - that will help agriculture. But we will NOT hand out money to boost incomes. That's where we differ".

    The next move now belongs to the farmers, who've amassed their tractors at several points along the Athens-Thessaloniki highway.

    They'll decide in meetings Thursday whether or not to park their tractors on the nation's main roads.

    [03] New Democracy

    In his first interview since being expelled from New Democracy just over a week ago, MP Giorgos Souflias told Antenna's Yiannis Pretenteris that the leader of New Democracy has been inactive since taking over at the helm last year.

    Souflias was one of the people Kostas Karamanlis beat in last year's leadership race.

    Karamanlis expelled Souflias and two other MPs when they failed to toe the party line in a parliamentary vote.

    Giorgos Souflias told the host of Antenna's "Moment of Truth" that Kostas Karamanlis has been inactive since becoming party leader, and also failed to crystalize the party's positions on many issues in parliament.

    Souflias was expelled from the party when he refused to vote against Pasok legislation that would strip the trade unions in troubled state industries of much of their negotiating say in workplace issues.

    Souflias and others said the legislation may have been insufficient, but it was a step in the right direction.

    Karamanlis told his MPs to vote against it.

    Souflias told Antenna Wednsday night: "It's

    Karamanlis who should've been sent to the disciplinary committee after the vote, not me and the others who dissented. In supporting abolition of staff regulation, Karamanlis sided with Pasok and the trade unions", he explained.

    Souflias also said that he, two other MPs expelled, and three MPs suspended over the vote, have NO plans to form a new party right now. But he isn't ruling it out: "It's too early", he told Pretenteris.

    The MP also charged Karamanlis and his supporters of trying to turn the party into their private property. "That's a mindset I want nothing to do with", said Souflias. "But I also don't see how it will change".

    And there has been another departure from the party. MP Stelios Mantza- petAkis, a close associate of former prime minister Constantinos Mitsotakis quit Wednesday.

    He didn't explain his decision, saying only that he went ahead with it against the advice of Mitsotakis and the former premier's daughter, MP Dora Bakoyianni.

    [04] Olympics Airways

    Mon dieu in the air!! Transport minister Tassos Mandelis warns that Olympic airways faces an uncertain future if upcoming talks between company officials and workers don't yield results.

    The government has proposed a hiring feeze, staff reductions and longer working hours to make the airline more competitive internationally.

    Mandelis says improvements must be made as soon as possible. New legislation states that talks must be wrapped up in the next two months.

    The minister also says he wouldn't stop a Public Prosecutor from stepping in to examine cases of illegal hiring by the airline's previous management.

    Former New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert is concerned about what is going on at Olympic Airways. He's calling for his party to demand a committee be set up to examine spending and hiring there.

    The party leadership is waiting to see what outcome the government's plans for Olympic have before making such a request.

    [05] Vietnam-Greece

    Greece has become the only other European Union nation other than Germany to sign financial cooperation agreements with Vietnam.

    Greece's Organisation for Foreign Trade took the initiative in setting up trade ties in 1996.

    On Thursday, the vice president of Vietnam was in Athens to meet with the prime minister and sign agreements.

    Iannis Tzen of the export promotion organization welcomed his guest, saying "We want permanent cooperation with your country, and want to learn what your areas of interest are".

    The vice president of Vietnam, pleased at a Greek offer of a 2 million dollar loan, responded that A new relationship is beginning between the two nations.

    [06] Students

    High school students held a protest in central Athens Thursday, the largest demonstration by pupils in several years.

    The young people are up in arms over government plans to overhaul the education system, which will include changes in the way pupils are examined.

    [07] Greek Air Industry

    The Greek Air Industry held its New Year's cake cutting ceremony.

    Full of the promise that 1998 will be a landmark year for the industry as well as the national defence of Greece, the ceremony was attended by the defence minister, military officials and MPs.

    Employing nearly three thousand workers, the Greek Air Industry is one of the largest and sophisticated technological air-repair and construction centers in Europe.

    Cutting the new's years cake, defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos said, "There is but one goal: that of cooperation between the Greek Air Industry and the ministry of defence, so that we may reap the benefits of working together". He added, "By working together, the armaments program for the Greek armed forces can support the Greek Air Industry".

    Industry president Eleftherios Moschopédis said, "As a company we will work very hard to improve our position not only on the international market but in the hearts of the Greek people as well".

    The industry serves a large number of customers worldwide. In 1997 they signed over 10 million dollars in contracts.

    [08] Sports

    Paok soccer player Panayiotis Katsouris was buried in Athens Thursday. The 21-year-old defender was killed in a car accident Monday.

    Hundreds of fans and other people from the soccer world joined his family and friends in bidding the Pasok starter a final farewell.

    There were also a number of parliamentary deputies present at the funeral.

    The game went the home team's way. In winning the first leg 2-nil, Paok is in a good position to advance to the cupship semi-finals.

    In other quarterfinal first legs, it was Irakles 4, Apollon Larisa nothing; Aris and Pao drew at one; and Panionios was a 4-2 winner over KalamariA.

    In pro basketball, Aek has locked up the home court advantage in the European championship playoffs.

    Aek clinches first place in its six-team group with a 70-63 victory on the road over Ulker.

    Aek allows its Turkish hosts easy passage to the bucket in the first half, as Ulker scores 42 points.

    But the second half is a different story. The Aek defence goes to work, allowing the Turks just 21 points the rest of the way.

    Aek will now have the home court advantage in the playoff round that decides which teams will get tickets to the final four in Barcelona this spring.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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