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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, Greece, 09/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Search continues for missing Turkish pilot
  • Greek chief of staff sends regrets to Turkish counterpart
  • FM: such incidents are avoidable
  • Mass violations by Turkish fighters fail to impede joint Cyprus-Greece exercises
  • Quake rocks Dodecanese
  • EU, Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations dominate Stephanopoulos talks in Helsinki
  • Simitis says the wealthy will bear the brunt of development effort
  • International conference aims to provide answers to lack of Greek tourism marketing
  • Sustainable tourism in Thrace to promote British-Greek tourism cooperation
  • E.O.T. to announce tendering for international ad campaign


    Search continues for missing Turkish pilot

    A search and rescue operation for a missing Turkish pilot whose jetfighter crashed off the Greek island of Chios in the eastern Aegean on Tuesday has so far proved fruitless, Defence Ministry sources said.

    The sources said the search for the missing pilot were being continued by a Greek frigate, torpedo boat and minesweeper as well as coast guard boats and Turkish vessels, coordinated by the Greek commander.

    Chief of staff sends regrets

    Greek Chief of Staff Air Force General Athanasios Tzoganis today sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart, expressing his regret at the F-16's crash and his hope that a second missing pilot would be found.

    Tzoganis added in his letter to Turkish Chief of Staff Ismail Karadayi that he hoped yesterday's accident would be the last by the Turkish Air Force.

    Yesterday's incident was discussed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos this morning.

    Conditions for peace and security in the Aegean can only be achieved by respect for international treaties and international rules, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today, responding to questions on whether Athens was prepared to talk to Turkey on how to avert incidents such as yesterday's fall of a Turkish F-16 in the eastern Aegean.

    The F-16 fighter plane's pilot, Osman Cicekli, returned to Turkey earlier today after being saved by a Greek Navy helicopter yesterday when the two pilots bailed out.

    Reppas said the government regretted the accident.

    He said that Athens "at the present time" was not working towards dialogue with Turkey either on a political or military level as no such issue has been brought up.

    Athens insists in its position of a step-by-step rapprochement of the two countries, in contrast to Turkey's desire to for an unconditional dialogue, he added.

    Asked to comment on Turkish President Suleyman Demirel's statement that after 22 years of occupation the division of Cyprus could not be resolved, Reppas said that the statement was indicative of Ankara's intentions and called on the international community to take it into serious consideration and to place pressure on Turkey.

    "Greece," he added, "without ignoring the reality of the past 22 years, is in no way inclined to legalise it. It wants to reverse it".

    Pangalos: these incidents are avoidable

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said the only way to avert problems such as the fall of the F-16 in the Aegean yesterday was for an end to be put to violations of Greek air space by Turkey, according to an ANA dispatch from Helsinki.

    Pangalos, who is accompanying President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on his official visit to Finland, said that the Greek government had underlined the dangers created by the Turkish practice of violations.

    Greece, he added, is dealing with the situation with moderation, calmness and decisiveness.

    Asked whether Ankara had made any sort of protest to Athens, Pangalos said any such protest would be "outrageous - they violate and, at the same time, they protest?"

    President Stephanopoulos added that there had been no protest from the Turkish side but that, in fact, Turkey had thanked the Greek government for the rescue of the Turkish pilot.

    Large-scale violations of the Athens and Nicosia Flight Information Regions (FIR) by Turkish warplanes occurred right up to the conclusion of joint Greek-Cypriot military exercises.

    However, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas rejected claims that violations had been "continuous" or that the exercise had been prevented from proceeding as planned, saying press reports had overestimated the Turkish air force's activity in the region .

    "The exercise went ahead with complete success," he noted.

    He added that Hellenic Air Force planes had successfully intercepted Turkish violaters, at the same time sending the proper message to Ankara.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the message of the joint exercises "Nikiforos" and "Toxotis" was that the response of the Athens- Nicosia joint defence doctrine to any foreign threat was a given, effective, and could not be impeded by anyone.

    "With the joint Greek-Cypriot exercises we acquired new experiences that bolster both the country's defence capability and all the efforts towards promoting the just cause of the Cypriot people," he said.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added that no pressures had been exercised for a cancellation of the exercises, and that Turkish diversionary tactics had failed.

    US comment

    The crash of the Turkish F-16 near Hios was apparently due to mechanical failure, according to Washington's estimations.

    In response to press questions, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said that based on information the State Department received from the area, mechanical malfunction was the probable cause of the aircraft's downing. He said Washington's informati on was from direct communication with both Athens and Ankara.

    In addition, he praised Greece's handling of the incident, adding: "Fortunately, the Greek armed forces rushed to rescue of the Turkish pilot, who is now safe."

    Powerful tremor rocks the Dodecanese

    A powerful tremor registering 6.4 on the Richter scale was recorded at 4:11 local time today.

    Seismologists in Athens and Thessaloniki said the epicentre of the quake was 800kms south-southeast of Athens in the sea region west of Cyprus.

    According to initial reports, the quake was felt as far as Greece's Dodecanese island group.

    There have been no reports of damage or injuries so far.

    European Union developments,bilateral relations and prospects for improving them were the main topics of discussion in President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos' meeting here with Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari yesterday.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos arrived in Helsinki yesterday on the first official visit by a Greek head of state to Finland for talks dominated by the development of European Union structure, Finnish officials said.

    The Greek president is accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    During his talks with Mr. Ahtisaari, the Greek president brought up the problems in Greek-Turkish relations, stressing that in international differences, dialogue and negotiations should prevail.

    He added, however, that it was difficult to commence dialogue with Ankara, not because Greece did not desire good relations with neighbouring countries but because the differences were due to groundless claims by Turkey against Greece.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos was expected to report on Greece's experience with the EU's Mediterranean programme, while his hosts will share their views on Baltic area cooperation.

    Ahtisaari emphasises need for solution to Cyprus problem

    Later,during an official dinner yesterday in honour of his Greek counterpart, Mr. Ahtisaari stressed the need for a solution to the Cyprus issue, expressing support for a start to procedures for Cyprus' EU accession six months after the intergovernmental conference ends.

    President Ahtisaari noted that the division of the island republic has lasted for many years, while a start to accession negotiations constitutes an additional reason for a solution to be found to the 22-year problem.

    On his part, President Stephanopoulos referred to Greek foreign policy targets in Europe and the Balkans, and primarily to Greece's relations with neighbouring countries with which it has differences, such as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Turkey.

    Commenting on developments in the European Union, President Stephanopoulos said "the Europe we envision must be a Europe of citizens, development and democracy, a Europe of justice, which must be open to people and capable of protecting the security of its citizens and the independence of member- states."

    He said a new Europe should not constitute a closed club or remain a privilege for the 15 nations comprising it.

    The more affluent members of society will bear the main burden of Greece's development effort, which aims at improving the position of those economically and socially disadvantaged, Prime Minister Costas Simitis told the inaugural session of his party's Parliamentary group yesterday.

    "Those having and possessing (wealth) will mainly contribute to a strong Greece, to social justice, the change in the country's course. They must be those who will bolster the countryYs modernisation to everyone's benefit," he said in reference to prio rities in the drafting of a new 1997 budget.

    The premier emphasised that consistency, reliability and effectiveness in all options would comprise the government's doctrine, and that the principle in its functioning would be "the elimination of the concept of the political cost."

    An international conference on "Greek Tourism and Marketing" is being organised for October 25 by the Centre for Vocational Training of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) and the Greek Marketing Institute (EIM).

    At a press conference yesterday, SETE President Spyros Kootos and EIM president Antonis Gortzis stressed that their joint aim was to bring to Greece the experiences of tourist marketing of other tourist-developed countries and to promote specific soluti ons to problems in Greek tourism.

    They said this was necessary at a time when the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) appeared to be unable to draft a long-term marketing policy for the Greek tourist product abroad, in an effort to turn around the fall in arrivals to Greece noted this year and last.

    "The problems of Greek tourism, despite efforts made recently, continue to be dealt with a not-very-technical orientation," Mr. Kokotas said. He asked the government to immediately implement SETE's proposal for a five-year marketing plan taking into acc ount country, region and tourist enterprise.

    Mr. Gortzis welcomed the decision of Development Minister Vasso Papandreou to apply as of next year a complete marketing plan for Greek tourist in tandem with an overseas advertising campaign and said he hoped it would be applied immediately.

    EOT to announce tendering for int'l ad campaign

    The Greek Tourist Organisation (EOT) is expected to proclaim international tendering for selection of a company to undertake a comprehensive advertising and public relations campaign for the organisation.

    The contract will cover a period of one year from the time it is awarded, without providing the possibility of extension and with a budget of six billion drachmas.

    The proclamation also contains the term that interested parties must submit a letter of credit for 25 million drachmas and anticipates that the contractor must be based in Athens, while in every other case it is essential that any winning bidder has or opens an office in Athens with staff and suitable equipment for the work to be carried out.

    Interested firms can submit their proposals at EOT's offices in Athens, 2 Amerikis St., by Nov. 25 at the latest.


    Rainy and cloudy in most parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 16-24C in Athens and from 15-19C in Thessaloniki.


    U.S. dlr 237.882, Can. dlr.175.584, Australian dlr. 187.339, Pound sterling 371.226, Irish punt 381.325, Cyprus pd 510.079, French franc 46.112, Swiss franc 190.588 Belgian franc 7.572, German mark 155.942 Finnish mark 52.104, Dutch guilder 138.964 Danish Kr. 40.702, Swedish Kr. 36.008, Norwegian Kr. 36.615, Austrian Sh. 22.161, Italian lira (100) 15.672 Yen (100) 213.935 Spanish Peseta 1.854, Portuguese Escudo 1.543.


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