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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-12-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 27/12/1997 (ANA)


  • Greece says Turkey not sticking to agreements
  • Turkey reiterates claim of Greek-PKK link
  • Investigation into Ukrainian plane crash
  • Minister seeks speeding up of radar installation
  • Illegal immigrants picked up near Samos
  • European Commission to take action on Greek hotels
  • Companies to buy own shares at stock exchange
  • OTE signs cables contracts
  • Roman tomb discovered in Drama
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greece says Turkey not sticking to agreements

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said Thursday that the infringements of Greek air space and the violations of Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) regulations by Turkish war planes on Christmas Day are unprecedented and unacceptable, and test the limits of Greek patience.

At 12:15 12 Turkish F-16 war planes violated the Athens FIR and infringed Greek air space over the Aegean islands, Chios, Psara, Lesvos and Skiros. At 15:40 another 14 Turkish F16 repeated the earlier violations. Hellenic Air Force F-16, Mirage 2000 an d F-4 war planes intercepted the Turkish war planes on both occasions.

"Patience has its limits. We cannot tolerate the continuous upsetting of calm and stability in the region," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

Mr.Tsohatzopoulos said that these new violations are contrary to the principles of the 1988 Papoulias-Yilmaz agreement which mandates that both Greece and Turkey refrain from any tension building actions during national or religious holidays of either of the two countries, betray an organised plan by Turkey, and confirm Greece's position on the distance between Turkey and Europe.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported from Ankara yesterday that Turkey denied that its warplanes entered Greek airspace on Christmas Day or broke any agreement barring military exercises on holidays.

"Greece's claims that the accord was broken are completely baseless. Turkey has always complied with the agreement," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Turkish statement said four Turkish F-16 planes on a training flight were "seriously and dangerously harassed" by 10 Greek planes outside Greek airspace.

Tension rose earlier this week when Ankara expelled a Greek diplomat in Istanbul on charges of spying and aiding Kurdish guerrillas and Athens responded by expelling a Turkish diplomat based in Thessaloniki.

Turkey reiterates claim of Greek-PKK link

Referring to a report in the newspaper Milliyet and replying to questions by the press on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Nezati Utkan said "if the reports are true, this will be additional proof of Greece's suppo rt for the Kurdistan People's Party (PKK)."

Mr. Utkan was referring to the report published in Milliyet concerning Esref Kilitr, a former PKK member. Kilitr had claimed of coming to Greece in 1996 where he was allegedly trained in explosives by Greek intelligence for acts of sabotage in Turkey.

The Turkish spokesman said "the essence of the report is correct" but clarified that "there are no details on the issue." Lastly, he called on Greece "to condemn terrorism by the PKK."

Investigation into Ukrainian plane crash

Results of the investigation into the crash of a Ukrainian Yakovlev-42 aircraft that crashed in northern Greece with the loss of all passengers and crew will be released within the next 10-15 days, Civil Aviation Service director Dionisis Kalofonos told the ANA today.

The aircraft, which had been leased to the Ukrainian-Israeli airline AirSweet, crashed into a mountainside in Pieria west of its destination Thessaloniki on December 17.

The plane's flight data recorders were sent to Germany to be analysed. Greek experts left Thessaloniki for Hanover today to be briefed on the data retrieved.

Kalofonos said Russian and Ukrainian experts are accompanying the Greek team to Germany in accordance with international regulations, since the aircraft was built in Russia and had been leased to a Ukrainian airline. However, they will not be involved in compiling the report on the crash although they have the right to submit recommendations on the findings.

The three teams will also visit the US, Ukraine and Russia.

According to civil aviation sources, initial findings indicate that the accident was due to pilot error. However, instrument malfunction has not been ruled out, according to YPA deputy director George Souladakis, who said this would explain why the pilot reported he was flying north when in fact the plane was flying west.

The final report will be presented simultaneously to the director of the Civil Aviation Service and the Supreme Investigative Council for Airline Accidents as well as to the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Kalafonos said that immediately afterwards the report would be released to the press, along with a reconstruction of the flight path taken by the aircraft before it crashed. The recording of the conversation between the pilot and the control tower would also be played, he added.

Minister seeks speeding up of radar installation

Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mandelis made an unscheduled visit to the offices of the Civil Aviation Service on Tuesday and demanded the requisitioning of expanses of land selected for the installation of radars in Peraia, Thessa loniki and Irakleio.

Mr. Mantelis chaired a meeting with the Civil Aviation Service's deputy governors (since the governor of the service is away in Thessaloniki) on coordinating investigations being conducted to locate the causes of the crash of the Ukrainian Aerosweet com pany's Yakovlev 42 airliner on the Pieria mountains.

In a related development, the municipal council of Peraia has decided to resort to law courts to prevent the requisitioning of land for the installation of a radar for Thessaloniki airport.

The decision, announced on Wednesday, stressed that the requisition of the area was illegal due to the threat of serious harm to public health from the radar's radiation."

Illegal immigrants picked up near Samos

Eleven illegal immigrants from Iraq were arrested early this morning on the islet of Makronisi opposite the area of Nisi, Samos.

The nine men and two women told coastguard officers that they had each paid 2,000 dollars to a Turk to take them to the islet.

They said it was the same Turk who, with accomplices, had illegally transported 64 illegal immigrants of Kurdish origin near to the island of Lesbos yesterday.

The 64 were abandoned in a small wooden boat about 2.5 nautical miles off Lesbos by the Turks who returned to the Turkish coast in a speedboat.

The eleven Iraqis picked up today are being detained at the reception centre for illegal immigrants which is housed in the old police station on Samos.

European Commission to take action on Greek hotels

The European Commission has decided to take recourse to the European Court against Greece due to terms and preconditions set by its national legislation on access to administrative positions in hotels.

Greek legislation, which does not recognise experience acquired in this sector in any other European Union member-state, has not been adjusted, in the Commission's view, to Directive 68/368.

The directive anticipates that access to certain professional activities, including hotel professions, must be open to all persons able to justify previous professional experience in this sector in another EU member-state for two or three consecutive ye ars, either as self-employed professionals or at the post of director of a business.

Companies to buy own shares at stock exchange

A number of companies registered at the Stock Exchange will proceed with buying their own shares at the Stock Exchange following decisions taken recently by boards and extraordinary assemblies.

The general assembly of the Papastratos AVES company has already approved the purchase of 1,635,615 shares or a percentage of 10 per cent over the next 12 months, with the highest price being 7,200 drachmas per share.

The Viohalko company will purchase 2,867,512 shares by September 1, 1998, with the highest price being 6,350 drachmas. The company expects revenues from participations amounting to 1,900 million drachmas in 1997.

ELVAL will purchase 2,766,127 shares by July 4, 1998 with the highest price being 4,350 drachmas. During the first half of 1997, ELVAL had a turnover totalling 38,815.3 million compared to 34,488.7 million last year. Net profits amounted to 2,655 millio n drachmas.

ETEM completed the purchase of 324,775 shares. The company is investing 385 million drachmas for the production of small aluminium profiles and 500 million for the production of a series of aluminium products. The cost of building ETEM's factory in Bulgaria will ultimately reach 1.5 billion drachmas. It will have a total production capacity of 6,000 tonnes in aluminium profile products.

OTE signs cables contracts

The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, OTE, and the FULGOR, ALCATEL and Siemens companies signed contracts on Wednesday concerning completion of the Aegean's major submarine axes with optical fibre cables.

The axes are Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Skyros-Lesvos, Epidavros-Aigina-Voula and Lavrio-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Santorini-Irakleio.

Roman tomb discovered in Drama

A Roman family tomb was discovered by chance in the community of Kallithea Dramas and at the location of "Vrysi." Its dimensions are 2.5X3X1.2 metres. The walls are made of white marble and have metal hooks at the sides. Archaeologists found bones and art efacts inside the tomb.


Cloudy weather over most of the country with scattered showers and local downpours, particularly in the west. Winds will be westerly to northwesterly, moderate to strong. Temperatures will range from 3-12 in the north, 6-15 in central areas and 11-17 in the Aegean. Athens will be cloudy and rain is expected overnight with winds strengthening later tomorrow. Temperatures in the capital will range from 8-15C. Thessaloniki will have similar weather with temperatures ranging from 6-12C.


Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 277.929 Pound sterling 462.927 Cyprus pd 531.712 French franc 46.747 Swiss franc 193.564 German mark 156.428 Italian lira (100) 15.945 Yen (100) 214.740 Canadian dlr. 193.063 Australian dlr. 182.285 Irish Punt 404.438 Belgian franc 7.584 Finnish mark 51.693 Dutch guilder 138.860 Danish kr. 41.085 Swedish kr. 35.698 Norwegian kr. 38.172 Austrian sch. 22.242 Spanish peseta 1.850 Port. Escudo 1.533


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