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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-09-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM covers foreign policy issues in debate
  • [02] Topkapi director Ortayli tours New Acropolis Museum

  • [01] PM covers foreign policy issues in debate

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday evening detailed his government's actions and policies in the crucial foreign policy sector over the past five and a half years, deflecting criticism by rival main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou over "lax reactions" by Athens vis-a-vis Turkey.

    "We are dealing with Turkey, on the one hand, within the framework of International Law, and on the other, we back the latter's European prospects, under the condition that it (Turkey) fulfills all of its obligations", Karamanlis said during the one-on-one debate with main opposition PASOK leader and former foreign minister George Papandreou.

    Karamanlis sternly rejected heated PASOK criticism over his government's handling of relations with EU hopeful Turkey by citing two recent developments, namely, the inclusion of the central Aegean isle of Aghios Efstratios in a NATO exercise amid long-standing opposition by Ankara, as well as a reference in an EU summit conclusions that Turkey is obliged to honor and implement a migrant readmission protocol it has signed with Greece.

    Dealing specifically with the neighbouring country's all-important EU accession course, Karamanlis said that not one opportunity was missed by Athens, rather a framework for evaluating Turkey's progress towards European accession became clearer and stricter.

    Turning to the protracted Cyprus issue, the Greek PM reiterated that Athens backs a just and viable solution, while pointing to what he called his government's successful international agreements in the energy field.

    Specifically on this point, Karamanlis characterised as "dangerous and irresponsible" recent comments by Papandreou over a "re-examination" of the trilateral agreement for the construction and operation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    "I discerned an indirect effort on your part to fault me for compliance. You are not allowed to do this. I have proved that I can make decisions that disappoint some. I refer to the firm stance regarding the Annan (peace) plan, which helped our Cypriot brothers vote freely. Conversely, you publicly pressured them (Greek Cypriots). Moreover, I was not in government either during the Imia and Ocalan affairs".

    Finally, the Greek PM said Athens supports the European volition of all neighbouring states, nevertheless, mentioning that the difference over the "name issue" with fYRoM remains unsolved. "We have imposed our position within NATO and the EU and we have drawn a red line from which we will not retreat."

    In entering the debate, Karamanlis said:

    "Now is the time for a direct dealing with the structural problems and the pathogeneses of the Greek economy," Karamanlis said, reiterating what he called a dilemma of either taking the "difficult high road" proposed by his ruling ND party rather than the path "of worthless and irresponsible promises, as proposed by PASOK".

    The premier explained, during a nationally televised debate, that the public debt ballooned during PASOK's governance and subsequently bestowed by PASOK governments to his, charging that if the current main opposition party's pre-elections were implemented "we would be led down the road to failure".

    In touching on a recurrent criticism of PASOK pre-election positions, he said the rival party has no substantive economic plan, while asking the PASOK leader what he considers as the fairest tax system.

    Karamanlis emphasised the need for difficult decisions to be taken to tackle the country's structural economic problem, primarily the huge public debt, and added that this is the legacy of PASOK governments.

    "We are experiencing a very serious economic crisis that had and has serious repercussions for all the economies and which is dealing a blow at Europe as well," the prime minister said but added that "we are experiencing it to a lesser degree than other countries. And our growth rate will be around zero but our unemployment has no relation with what is taking place in other countries."

    Karamanlis went on to say that a programme exists to support the unemployed and the weaker classes, but if the economy is not restructured and investments are not attracted unemployment will not be able to be handled.

    He also spoke of the need to amend university asylum so that it "will not harbour uncontrolled violence and the catastrophic mania of extremist groups."

    He also made special reference to non-state controlled universities, accusing Papandreou of "tragic palinodies" since "out of political opportunism or partisan expediencies he sabotaged constitutional reform."

    [02] Topkapi director Ortayli tours New Acropolis Museum

    The director of the famed Topkapi Museum of Istanbul, Ilber Ortayli, was given a grand tour of the New Acropolis Museum on Tuesday by the latter's director, Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis.

    Ortayli arrived in Greece within the framework of an international science conference that will be organised in Istanbul by the NGO "Aegean State" late next month, where Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who will be the keynote speaker.

    "From my visit to the Acropolis Museum, above all, I was impressed by its architecture for which I had been previously informed of. The style and technique of the museum are very close to the Enlightenment movement and highlight the recent findings of the Athenian Agora and the settlements around the museum in the best way possible ... Due to comparison of the treasures found here and the treasures found in the British Museum, the so-called 'Elgin Marbles', one obtains a clear picture of what should be returned to Athens.

    There is no reason for the sculptures to remain in the British Museum and this is why you must continue your effort for their return," the noted Turkish scholar said.

    After the tour of the museum, Athens Deputy Mayor Sophie Mytilinaiou-Daskalaki noted that the conference will be held annually, one year in Athens and one year in Istanbul, to promote the principles of civilisation and communication channels "between two civilisations through a common culture".

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