Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-03-01
NEWS IN ENGLISH
ATHENS, GREECE, 01/03/1999 (ANA)
- PM rejects allegations against Greece in Ocalan affair
- Theodorakis will not join concert
- Karamanlis calls for Simitis' resignation
- Athens says latest Turkish barrage of claims 'lead nowhere'
- Gov't denies that Pangalos visit to Kenya in Nov. linked to Ocalan
- Tsohatzopoulos calls for unity to reverse `heavy atmosphere`
- Venizelos on PASOK congress
- US officials deny Ankara claims on transfer of NATO technology
- Judicial inquiry over Ocalan's presence in Greece nears completion
- Three Ocalan aides depart Athens hotel
- Badouvas expelled from PASOK's Parliament group
- Results of PASOK delegates election may be released today
- Hi-tech passport detection system on Greek-Bulgarian border
- Kaklamanis on Ocalan aide's statements
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
PM rejects allegations against Greece in Ocalan affair
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday lashed out after an aide to
captured Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan alleged Greek government
collusion in Ocalan's apprehension by Turkey.
"Some people are attempting to blacken the image of Greece," the premier
Ocalan's aide Semse (Dillan) Kilic openly charged the Greek government with
involvement in a conspiracy against Ocalan, although she didn't present any
"Greece over the years has helped those who are persecuted and suffering.
Look around you at the thousands of Kurds, the hundreds of thousands of
Albanians and compare Greece to the other countries of the European
"In the case of Ocalan, every possible humanitarian assistance was offered
and we had clarified well before, to all, that it would be a tragic and
strategic mistake for Greece to accept the 'Kurdisation' of Greek-Turkish
relations and foreign policy," he told reporters in Piraeus.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Saturday said Greece is a
democratic country and will always allow the right of free speach to all,
however, he added that Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) official Kilic's
statements on Saturday "equalled the most obscene Turkish propaganda and
cannot be tolerated."
Ms. Kilic, a Belgian passport holder, was one of the three aides of Ocalan,
now a prisoner in Turkey. She held a press conference on Saturday
Mr. Reppas said "Greece is a democratic country, and because of that we
will never stop offering humanitarian assistance to all oppressed
Ms Kilic openly charged the Greek government with involvement in a
conspiracy against Ocalan, although she failed to present any evidence.
She also claimed that Mr. Simitis, former FM Theodoros Pangalos, former
public order minister Philippos Pestalinikos, former interior minister
Alekos Papadopoulos and the head of the Greek intelligence service played
an "active role in realising the plans of the United States, Israel and
Turkey and Russia" regarding Ocalan's fate.
Ms Kilic did not provide evidence for the collusion accusations levelled
against the Greek, US, Israeli, Russian and Kenyan governments. On several
occasions she also questioned the reasons for Mr. Pangalos' visit to Kenya
In statements later on Saturday, after testifying at a court inquiry on the
details of the Ocalan affair, Ms Kilic said her comments had been
misinterpreted and thanked the Greek people and Foreign Minister George
Papandreou for their assistance.
Theodorakis will not join concert
Finally, Mikis Theodorakis, the noted Greek composer of the musical score
for the film "Zorba the Greek", among others, said late on Saturday he and
his orchestra would not participate in a planned solidarity concert for the
Kurds on Monday evening, follo wing Ms Kilic's claims.
"Greece has never found itself on the side of the oppressors but has always
supported the oppressed and the victims," Mr. Theodorakis said.
He also called her comments "slanderous and ungrateful" and that the
"unsubstantiated claims heard (from Kilic) are not relevant only to Mr.
Simitis and Mr. Pangalos but to the entire Greek people".
Karamanlis calls for Simitis' resignation
Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said yesterday that
he did not want to believe the claims by Ms Kilic, namely, that the Greek
government had handed him over to Turkey. He stressed, however, that the
damage to the country's standing had been done and that the government
"I refuse to believe that a Greek politician and prime minister of the
country, at that, would do such a dishonourable thing for the country and
the nation," Mr. Karamanlis said on Crete, during a tour of the island.
ND reiterated its demand that the prime minister resign, with party
spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos saying that only this could "save the
Athens says latest Turkish barrage of claims 'lead nowhere'
The Greek government yesterday emphasised that Ankara's stance vis-a-vis
Athens "leads nowhere", in response to the latest barrage of claims by
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel over alleged cooperation between Greece
and the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) .
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the "slanderous attacks against
Greece are unjustified and aim at cultivating a climate of tension in Greek-
Turkey, he said, instead of assuming its responsibilities, solving the
Kurdish issue and its other problems, attempts to avoid them and shift the
"That's why it (Turkey) is trying to create a foreign enemy: Greece...in
vain. Its (Turkey) stance leads nowhere," the government spokesman
Turkey's political and military leadership sharply attacked Greece and
raised tension over the past week, mostly regurgitating oft-repeated claims
of Athens' alleged involvement with the Kurdish rebel forces active in SE
Gov't denies that Pangalos visit to Kenya in Nov. linked to Ocalan
The foreign ministry yesterday denied that former FM Theodoros Pangalos
visited Kenya to discuss any deal to hand over Kurdish rebel leader
Abdullah Ocalan, as charged by one of his top aides on Saturday.
Mr. Pangalos made an official visit to Africa in November 1998 that was
organised at the beginning of the year and announced to the press in May,
an announcement by a foreign ministry spokesman said.
"The official visit of the former foreign minister, Theodoros Pangalos, to
Africa was used in an unacceptable manner during the press conference on
Saturday," the statement read.
"It is beyond any sense and imagination that an official visit organised at
the beginning of the previous year and announced to reporters in May could
have any relationship to the events which followed much later...A search of
our records reveals that pre parations for the trip were made well in
advance, while the itinerary had been distributed by mid-August. This
programme shows that the trip was set for Nov. 16-20 to Kenya, South Africa,
Zimbabwe and Ethiopia," the statement added.
Tsohatzopoulos calls for unity to reverse `heavy atmosphere`
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday called on
supporters of ruling PASOK to work together to reverse a "heavy atmosphere"
clinging to the government in the wake of the Ocalan affair, as he
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was speaking to reporters as about 215,000 PASOK rank
and file went to the polls to elect some 5,500 delegates for the ruling
party's congress later this month.
He said the party had to look at "new formations" that would clear the
atmosphere in the wake of the capture of the Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah
Ocalan by Turkish forces after being sheltered in the Greek embassy in
Nairobi for 12 days.
"European Parliament elections (in June) will be a touchstone for the
evaluation of the government's course," he said.
This evaluation, he said, "will not be particularly good and no better
result will be forthcoming if there are not changes throughout the party's
He said he was opposed to the party adopting a position that the same
government policies continue, even with certain corrective measures.
Venizelos on PASOK congress
Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday said there was not an
issue of leadership in PASOK and stressed the need for "a ideological and
He added that it would be "tragic" for the Ocalan affair to become an issue
of party or intra-party confrontation.
Speaking to reporters in Thessaloniki, where he voted for the PASOK
congress delegate elections, he also said the government is obliged to meet
the challenge of current conditions...and to display optimism within the
US officials deny Ankara claims on transfer of NATO technology
The national defence ministry on Saturday issued a press release stressing
that attempts to upset Greek-US relations in the defence sector fell
through, following US officials' denials of any Greek government involvement
in transferring NATO technology to Russia.
According to a report in the "Washington Post" in its Saturday's edition
and citing US State Department officials, "Greece did not transfer
technology nor did it intend to." State Department officials also referred
to false charges.
According to the Washington paper, the US administration halted arms sales
to Greece in early February following allegations by Turkey that Athens was
transferring classified NATO codes to Russia. US Pentagon officials,
however, concluded that all of Turkey's unsubstantiated claims against
Greece "were unfounded".
The Greek defence ministry stated that "Greece promotes its defence policy
based on national interest, adhering at the same time to the terms of
cooperation with its NATO allies, as every other member-state of the
Judicial inquiry over Ocalan's presence in Greece nears completion
The judicial inquiry over the circumstances surrounding Kurdish rebel
leader Abdullah Ocalan's entry and stay in Greece was expected to convene
yesterday with the testimony of Greece's ambassador to Nairobi, Georgios
Sources close to the inquiry by three prosecutors said there was a
likelihood that Greek intelligence agent Savvas Kalenderidis, dispatched to
Nairobi to provide protection for Ocalan, would be asked to make further
statements to the inquiry.
The three Ocalan aides evacuated from the Greek embassy last week along
with Mr. Kalenderidis and Mr. Costoulas completed several hours of
testimony late Saturday evening.
In statements to waiting reporters, Sesme (Dillan) Kilic said her
statements during a press conference on Saturday regarding Athens'
complicity in Ocalan's capture by Turkey had been misrepresented. "We thank
the Greek people and the new foreign minister, George Papandreou, for
helping us leave Kenya," she said.
"We did not refer to the whole of the Greek government but to specific
members, the three former ministers and the former head of the Greek
She also said the three Kurdish female aides to Ocalan were willing to
testify as witnesses at a Parliamentary fact-finding commission to be
established to investigate the Ocalan affair.
Mr. Kalenteridis, who accompanied the trio back to Athens from Kenya, was
questioned by court investigators early Satuday morning.
According to sources, he will be summoned for further questioning within
the next three days.
Three Ocalan aides depart Athens hotel
The three aides of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan brought to Athens from
Nairobi by the government left a downtown Athens hotel yesterday afternoon.
The Kurdish women told reporters they would remain at the residences of
acquaintances until further notice.
Semse Kilic thanked those who had stood by them, including reporters and
hotel staff, adding that their departure from the hotel was for the
The trio undertook responsibility in writing for anything that might happen
to them after their departure from the hotel, as the government said it
would no longer provide protection.
Badouvas expelled from PASOK's Parliament group
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday officially notified Parliament
President Apostolos Kaklamanis that PASOK deputy Costas Badouvas was
expelled from the ruling party's Parliament group.
The expulsion followed Mr. Badouvas' interview with the Athens morning
daily "Akropolis" regarding the Ocalan affair.
The Irakleio area deputy is among the primary figures in the Ocalan
Results of PASOK delegates election may be released today
Balloting for some 5,500 deletates at the 5th PASOK party congress was
concluded yesterday at around 7 p.m.
Final results will most likely be released today.
This month's PASOK congress has developed into a rather significant display
of internal balances of power, following the Ocalan affair and its
repercussions on the PASOK government.
Hi-tech passport detection system on Greek-Bulgarian border
Greece has granted a high resolution system for transferring image and data
to Bulgaria's public order ministry in order to connect the neighbouring
country "on-line" with its border posts on the Greek-Bulgarian frontier.
The Greek-made "Photophon" system is geared at spotting fake or adulterated
passports, combining image with an on-line telephone connection between
each border post and the Sofia headquarters.
According to Greek officials, Bulgaria is the first country outside the EU
to implement the system.
Kaklamanis on Ocalan aide's statements
Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, commenting yesterday on the
controversial press conference by a close Ocalan aide in Athens on Saturday,
said "the lady and all those who cooperated with her in this suspicious
indictment do not understand that t hey've led the entire country into an
adventure with their mistakes."
He was referring to statements by close Ocalan aide Sesme (Dillan) Kilic,
who was evacuated last week from the Greek embassy in Nairobi.
Mr. Kaklamanis, speaking to reporters following a Church service for
Orthodoxy Sunday, also said that "Ankara is cultivating an aggressive
strategy, and we need unity as well as a solid front and not light-
heartedness when we evaluate events."
Mostly fair weather is forecast around the country today with cloud in the
west and north. Athens will be sunny with temperatures ranging from 5C to
17C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1C to 13C.
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 289.714
Pound sterling 463.621 Japanese yen (100) 241.254
French franc 48.688 German mark 163.293
Italian lira (100) 16.494 Irish Punt 405.522
Belgian franc 7.917 Luxembourg franc 7.917
Finnish mark 53.715 Dutch guilder 144.926
Danish kr. 42.964 Austrian sch. 23.210
Spanish peseta 1.920 Swedish kr. 35.478
Norwegian kr. 36.700 Swiss franc 200.850
Port. Escudo 1.593 Aus. dollar 179.577
Can. dollar 191.277 Cyprus pound 549.032