NEWS IN DETAIL
Turkish military textbook disputes Aegean islets
A Turkish Military Academy textbook, reportedly withdrawn from circulation
last May, disputes a score of Greek isles and islets in the Aegean and the
Argosaronic sea waters, adding that Turkey should lay claim on them in
order to change to its benefit the current equilibrium of powers, an ANA
despatch from Istanbul said.
Despite strong criticism by Turkish diplomats and politicians, the textbook
reflects the same views which had been presented by the Turkish general
staff to a selective group of US correspondents in Ankara, published in the
Wall Street Journal.
"Turkey has struck a victory of tactics in the crisis of the Ikizce Kardak
(Imia) islets," the textbook notes, adding that "ensuring the same victory
on a strategic level depends on whether (Ankara) will force Greece to the
negotiations table on all Aegean-related issues."
"Unless (Ankara) is able to bring into the limelight the unjust status quo
in the Aegean, which is benefiting Greece, it will simply put under
consideration its own sovereigh rights in the Aegean," the textbook
Revealing Turkish military leaders' efforts to change the existing status
quo in the Aegean, the textbook resurfaces old Turkish theories according
to which the Greek islands in the Aegean do not have a Continental
"It has been scientifically proven that the Aegean sea has been formed by
the geological sink of a part of the East," the textbook alleges. "The
islands of Thracian Sporades (Trakya) and Eastern Aegean (Bogazonu ve
Saruhan) and the Dodecanese (Mantese) are natural anomalies of the
continental shelf of the Anatolia. They do not have a continental shelf,
they are part of the continental shelf."
Noordwjik talks continue
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday that Greece
disagreed with a proposal for a reduction in the number of European
Commissioners, according to an ANA despatch from Noordwjik.
Mr. Papandreou, who was accompanying Prime Minister Costas Simitis in
Noordwjik, the Netherlands, for a special summit of government leaders
convened by the Dutch EU presidency, said however that Athens agreed the
powers of the Commission president should be expanded.
On flexibility, Mr. Papandreou said the views of Athens were similar to
those of London, adding that he would meet with British Foreign Secretary
Robin Cook on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council next week to
discuss the issue of the implementation of the principle of flexibility.
Mr. Simitis on Friday said that although there was a ''willingness'' to
agree on a revision of the Maastricht Treaty, it was unlikely it would be
reached by EU members at the June summit in Amsterdam, since many issues
Romanian President concludes visit to Greece
Romanian President Emil Constantinescu, who arrived in Thessaloniki
yesterday morning, referred to the city's potential in becoming a trade and
economic centre connecting north and south in Europe.
Mr. Constantinescu was met at the airport by Macedonia - Thrace Minister
At a meeting later, the two men examined the potential for further
developing the two countries' trade relations, and particularly boosting
the presence of Greek investors in Romania in the framework of the
privatisation of many enterprises.
Discussion also included the organisation of mutual business missions, and
improvement in the cooperation of commercial and industrial chambers and
Referring to Romania's participation in the multinational force in Albania
(ALBA) and its decision to join NATO, Constantinescu said his country was a
pole of stability in the region and met all requirements for NATO
membership. He pointed out that there is excellent cooperation between
Greek and Romanian forces in the framework of ALBA.
The two men later left for a brief visit to the monastic community of Mt.
The Romanian president was due to return to Bucharest in the afternoon,
ending a three-day visit to Greece.
Experts' committees to report soon
Greek and Turkish experts studying problems in bilateral relations are to
present their respective reports to the Dutch European Union presidency,
possibly as soon as Monday, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told a
press conference Friday.
Mr. Pangalos expressed the hope that the Turkish group's report would
contain "positive and constructive positions". He said the two groups would
study each other's reports, to be exchanged via the EU presidency.
He also reiterated Greece's "fervent wish for a solution to problems with
Asked to comment on an interview with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel
screened on Greece's Antenna TV station on Friday night, in which Mr.
Demirel proposed the signing of a non-aggression pact with Greece, Mr.
"If the Turkish president's statements constitute an abandonment of the
(Turkish policy of) casus belli, this will be a very significant development."
He said, however, that if the abandonment of "casus belli" was accompanied
by conditions such as a demand that neither country did anything to
displease the other, such as Greece exercising its right to extend its
territorial waters to the 12-mile limit, then this would be a step
backwards, as it would be tantamount to asking Greece to adopt Turkey's
Mr. Pangalos said that no politician, whether in Greece or Turkey, would
want to assume the cost of a military confrontation. He also noted a
warning from the US that it would intervene militarily to stop such a
The foreign minister drew attention to both countries' commitments to a
number of international treaties obliging them to avoid military conflict.
Asked to comment on reservations reportedly expressed by Cypriot leaders
over a possible non-aggression pact between Greece and Turkey, Mr. Pangalos
reiterated that any military action by Turkey against Cyprus would be
considered by Greece as cause for war. However, he added that neither
Greece nor Cyprus should dictate policy to each other, and that Greece
should not become involved in the Cypriot election campaign.
Finally, with regard to the proposed summer moratorium on military flights
in the Aegean, the foreign minister reiterated that Greece was in favour of
such a move, noting that there were still certain reservations on the part
Non-aggression pact proposed anew
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on Friday reiterated an old proposal for
an agreement of good neighbourliness and cooperation to be signed between
Greece and Turkey.
Mr Demirel made the statement during an interview with the private
television channel Antenna aired Friday night.
Questioned on whether he would agree to the prospect of a non-aggression
pact with Greece, Mr. Demirel said "Yes. In fact I had proposed such an
agreement to (former prime minister) Mr. Mitsotakis. A good neighbourliness
and cooperation pact."
During the interview, he frequently repeated that problems in Greek-Turkish
relations can be resolved through dialogue.
"We are ready to improve our relations with Greece, starting a dialogue and
taking all necessary measures. We keep our word on what we proposed in the
In Turkey's view, he said, the sovereignty of 130 small islands and rocky
islets in the Aegean is questionable. He said this issue must be handled
first with dialogue and accused Greece of attempting to occupy the
Mr Demirel said the issue of the island of Gavdos was an isolated incident
which must not be generalised. Questioned on the Imia islets and on why
Turkey's claims to the 130 islets appeared in 1996, he said the issue has
existed since the 1930s and 1950 s, adding that if Greece had not gone
ahead with settling the islands, the January 1996 Imia crisis would never
"In our view, the sovereignty of these islands is open," he said. When
asked why his country refuses to refer the issue to the International Court
at The Hague, he said "let us discuss first and we might reach some
conclusions. We might find some solutions."
On the question of Turkey's refusal to clarify which are the so-called
"grey zones", Mr. Demirel said "if someone wants to find out which ones
they are then Turkey will certainly announce them."
Questioned on Turkey's statement that Greece's extention of its territorial
waters to 12 miles would be casus belli, the Turkish president said this
has been so for many years.
"Whether the Aegean Sea becomes a Greek lake is an issue of vital
importance to Turkey," he said.
Possible Burns posting welcomed
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Friday responded positively to
reports that State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns will be appointed
ambassador to Greece in the summer, saying he had a "personal liking" for
the US official.
US administration officials said on Friday that Mr. Burns was expected to
be named ambassador to Greece in the summer, replacing Washington's present
envoy, Thomas Niles. Meanwhile, Mr. Pangalos told a press conference on
Friday that he would fly to Paris on Monday to attend an OECD ministerial
meeting before travelling on to Lisbon on Wednesday to represent Greece at
the NATO foreign ministers meeting.
The agenda of the NATO meeting will focus on preparations for the Alliance
summit in Madrid in early July.
Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Pangalos said no meetings had been
scheduled on the sidelines of the Lisbon meeting with Turkish Foreign
Minister Tansu Ciller or other counterparts, but did not rule out such
meetings eventually taking place.
Pangalos to visit Albania
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is to visit Albania early next month,
he announced at a press conference yesterday. He said his visit would
probably take place on June 3, following the European Union Foreign
Ministers' Council in Brussels.
Asked whether he would meet with Albanian President Sali Berisha, the
foreign minister said he would be meeting with all leaders, while if
possible he would also visit Greek forces participating in the multinational
Meanwhile, commenting on press reports to the effect that Italy was
involving itself in the Albanian election campaign, Mr. Pangalos said that
the Italian ambassador in Athens had denied such an involvement, while the
Italian envoy in Tirana had made a statement declaring that his statements
quoted in the press had been distorted.
The foreign minister dismissed the view that "Greek and Serbian circles"
had caused the upheaval in Albania, saying that there were no real ultra-
nationalist forces in Greece, apart from a few isolated voices.
Greece leads foreign investment in Bulgaria
Greek investment in Bulgaria represents 10 per cent of all foreign
investment in that country, amounting to $120 million on March 31, 1997,
Greece's commercial attache in Sofia, Giorgos Doudounis, said on Friday
The data was presented at the one-day conference on the prospects of Greek
enterprises in the neighbouring country, held in the framework of the 6th
annual 'Thrace 97' trade fair in the city of Komotini, organised by
Greece comes first in the number of investments, but sixth in the overall
sums invested, he added.
Those attending the conference included Bulgarian Minister of Trade and
External Economic Cooperation, Daniela Bobeva, diplomats, bankers and
Discussion also included the EU FAIR programme for cross-border cooperation
between the two countries, where the need was stressed for transparent
procedures that will facilitate the participation of all European companies
in construction projects.
Navy exercises in the Aegean
The Hellenic Navy will hold exercises in the Saronic Gulf and the greater
Aegean area on May 25 to 30, the Navy General Staff announced on Friday.
The exercises are part of the annual training of the fleet, and had been
scheduled for a long time.
Greece sets record in gymnastics
Greece's women's rhythmic gymnastics team on Saturday set a record by
winning a silver medal at the 13th European RSG Championships in Patras,
its best performance ever.
The Greek team had initially hoped to place in the first eight but put on
an impressive performance to achieve 38.550 points, placing second behind
the Russian team.
Third place went to Ukraine, followed by Spain, Hungary and Bulgaria.
Fines imposed for bourse scandal
Nine individuals and three listed companies were ordered by the Capital
Market Commission to pay a total of 720 million drachmas in fines for
involvement in the Delta Securities scandal of last November.
Delta's inability to meet its cash obligations, amounting to 2.6 billion
drachmas, brought its collapse and closed the Athens Bourse for the first
time ever on November 9, 1996.
Following a report by three independent auditors from abroad, the fines
were reduced for charges including trading on insider information,
distorting the market and spreading false and inaccurate rumours.
Bourse sets new historic record
The Athens Stock Exchange made history on Friday with the general index
breaking two records as it surpassed the previous all-time high of 1,684.31
points, set in July 5, 1990, and breached the 'psychological' barrier of 1,
700 for the first time in histor y.
The index closed at 1,727.70 points, up 2.60 percent, to show a total gain
of 85.08 percent since the start of the year.
The president of the Shareholders' Union, Dimitris Karagounis, told the ANA
that "the rise in share prices is not merely a temporary phenomenon, rather
it reflects the steady fall in inflation and interest rates, expectations
of high corporate profits d uring 1997 and the stable economic policies
pursued by the government".
He also predicted the continuation of the upward trend in the medium- and
long-term, despite temporary correction and setbacks.
Analysts said that the 2,000 target for the end of the year remained
realistic due to the upcoming new flotation of OTE's shares. They also
noted that despite the spectacular jump of the market during the first five
months of the year the average P/E ra tio remained at the very attractive
level of 12 percent.
Gov't defends minister
The government on Friday strongly reacted to a demand by Communist Party of
Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga for the removal of Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou because of the views he expressed in favour of
the decriminilisation of marijuan a use.
"Ms. Papariga and the KKE would be advised to do and speak less so that
they will be compromised less," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said,
while underlining that the positions expressed by Mr. Papandreou were his
own personal views.
Mr. Papandreou said in an interview with a Greek magazine that the use of
marijuana should be decriminalised and people allowed to grow the plant for
their own personal use.
In many instances, Mr. Reppas said, politicians act as dictated by their
conscience. What is important, the spokesman added, is "policy not
Mr. Papandreou's press office later attributed criticism to his views from
the media and politicians to "a slanderous attempt at distortion".
An announcement said Mr. Papandreou's critics were trying to present the
minister as supposedly "inviting young people to cultivate marijuana".
"Not only does Mr. Papandreou not encourage the use of marijuana, he goes
much further by rejecting alcohol and tobacco," the announcement added.
The announcement underlined that Mr. Papandreou's view that users should
become "disentangled" from their relationship with dealers was an old one
which had been discussed in Parliament as well as at science conferences.
Mostly fair throughout the country today with the exception of some areas
in the north where local cloud is expected in the afternoon. Winds will be
northerly, light to moderate, becoming strong in the Aegean. Temperatures
in Athens will range from 17-30C and in Thessaloniki from 15-28C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 268.336
Pound sterling 437.869 Cyprus pd 531.672
French franc 47.005 Swiss franc 190.271
German mark 158.313 Italian lira (100) 16.061
Yen (100) 231.394 Canadian dlr. 195.007
Australian dlr. 205.185 Irish Punt 406.561
Belgian franc 7.670 Finnish mark 52.451
Dutch guilder 140.814 Danish kr. 41.602
Swedish kr. 35.272 Norwegian kr. 37.992
Austrian sch. 22.490 Spanish peseta 1.878
Port. Escudo 1.569