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Greece will defend its sovereign rights

The Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs issued announcements concerning the sea surveys conducted by “Piri Reis,” a Turkish naval research ship in an area between the Greek island of Kastellorizo and Cyprus.
The Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the “Piri Reis surveys an area outside Greek territorial waters, however, Athens has claimed the rights to potential undersea mineral and fossil fuel deposits.”
National Defence Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that “Athens is watching closely” and that “in any case, Greece will defend its sovereign rights.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Differences with Turkey     [PHOTO]: Kastellorizo
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

New era in Greek-Turkish relations

» High Level Cooperation

Premier George Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed their will to take important steps towards the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, as the Turkish leader wrapped up an official visit to Athens on Saturday.
This was sealed with the opening session of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council and the signing of 21 agreements.
George Papandreou met with the chiefs of Turkish media, while Erdogan with the chiefs of the Greek newspapers.
The Greek premier told Turkish journalists that Erdogan’s visit heralds a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, further adding that the two sides had better overcome their differences. He also touched on economic cooperation between Athens and Ankara.

» “We have an agreement”

Twenty-one cooperation agreements in fields as diverse as technology and tourism were signed during the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
Ministers signed agreements boosting trade, investments and shipping and the two countries will hereby extend their cooperation in projects concerning infrastructure works and transnational transport networks.
Relations between the two countries in the field of immigration will be governed by a bilateral agreement which provides for readmission of illegal immigrant flows to Turkey and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, trafficking and civil protection.
Both sides agreed to improve tourism cooperation, aiming at increasing their market share in countries with economic potential such as China, as well as raising global awareness on matters of cultural heritage protection.

Special attention was given to education and synergies concerning research. Environment protection and joint ventures in energy projects including renewable energy sources and the existing Turkey- Greece-Italy gas pipeline were also sealed with respective deals.
In terms of strengthening bilateral ties,  a Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council as well as a Protocol on regular political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries were signed.

» Signing the Olympic Truce

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded on Saturday his landmark visit to Athens by signing the Olympic Truce initiative.

At a brief ceremony in front of the imposing Panathenaic Stadium, Erdogan referred to the “great honour in signing my name in this book; to put my signature for a world of peace.”
Papandreou said that Turkey’s support for the idea sends out a clear message “by Turkey and Greece to the world,” adding that Greece will actively support Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greece`s Ottoman Past

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Approximately six hundred relics of the Ottoman period were found in Greece, according to a research study, conducted by the Istanbul-based Marmara University Professor Neval Konouk, during the last 2,5 years, commissioned by the Turkish ministry for Foreign Affairs, in 2007. 

According to Dr. Konouk’s comments to the Turkish daily Aksam on February 8, the complete survey will take the form of eight volumes, when completed in 2015, and the texts will be in Turkish, English and Greek.  
According to her research, much more Ottoman relics have been preserved, than originally considered.
As Dr. Konouk noted, “a tenth of the Ottoman relics located in Greece, representing 600 cases in total, have been saved.”  
In a relative development, the Greek Ministry of Culture has published in Greek and English, a 494 – pages special volume, titled “Ottoman Architecture in Greece.”
Institute for Neohellenic Research: Ottoman Epigraphy; Foundation of the Hellenic World: Ottoman Period

PM George Papandreou at the Council of Europe

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasburg on Tuesday where he initially referred at length to globalisation and its effect on the world, before detailing Athens’ positions on a variety of issues of Greek and regional interest, including Greek-Turkish relations, respect of international rules, Turkey’s European orientation as well as the financial crisis, the Cyprus issue, human rights and the role of the European Council.
 In his speech, Papandreou stressed the government’s steadfastness to face the economic crisis, stating that “we are determined to put our house in order.”
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Report (26.1.2010)  

President @ World Future Energy Summit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A change of the energy and development model with extensive use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) could decisively contribute to combating inequalities and advancing social cohesion at local, regional, national and global level, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said yesterday (January 18), addressing the 3rd World Future Energy Summit, that opened in Abu Dhabi, UAE (January 18-21).

Papoulias – a keynote speaker at the summit- stressed that “global leaders are obliged to respond to the climate challenge, and, instead of limiting themselves to a ‘least common denominator’ agreement, they should proceed to a global, comprehensive, and legally binding agreement with specific targets and timetables.”
Every crisis entails an opportunity, and this crisis entails an opportunity for the adoption of policies and measures for the promotion of RES and energy efficiency, which can play a decisive role in the global economy’s exit from the crisis and a speedier recovery, the President noted.

» Papoulias – Erdogan Meeting

On the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit, Papoulias met with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Ergodan, who was also a keynote speaker at the summit.
The two leaders held a private 40-minute meeting during which Papoulias informed the Turkish premier that an answer to his letter to the Greek Prime Minister is to be expected in the next few days, while Erdogan expressed a desire to visit Athens in the near future.

Greek foreign policy in 2010

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas outlined Greece’s foreign policy priorities for 2010 during a press conference held yesterday.

Together with Deputy Minister Spyros Kouvelis, Droutsas highlighted that protecting Greece’s sovereignty and putting an end to past inertia will constitute the ultimate objective for the country’s foreign policy.
Referring to issues of particular national interest, Droutsas stressed that Greece has conveyed a message of friendship and peace to Turkey and expects the latter to respond to it.
The alternate minister mentioned the possibility of a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister sometime in the near future.
On the Cyprus issue, underlined the government’s commitment to actively helping Cyprus with actions rather than words, pointing out that the first foreign visit carried out by Prime Minister George Papandreou had been to Cyprus.
As regards to the country’s relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the alternate minister reiterated that Greece enters negotiations with an open mind and keeps an edifying stance on the matter.
Droutsas pointed out that in the communiqué forwarded by the European Union in December, it was made clear that Greece’s support to FYROM’s European course depends on reaching a viable solution to the name issue.
Greek News Agenda:  Greek Foreign Policy- Challenges and Prospects

Greek Prime Minister’s First Trip Abroad

» In Istanbul

On his first trip abroad to attend the informal meeting of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Istanbul, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister George Papandreou, held talks, on October 9, with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglou and discussed all issues concerning Greek-Turkish relations. Papandreou pointed out to Erdogan that, “we have proved that we want good relations with Turkey and we support its European course,” adding however, that “Turkey must also take the steps that Europe requires so that its accession course can move forward.” Earlier, in a message to the Turkish people, Papandreou had stressed that they “know that I am always honest with them. Honest and open in the positive prospects we have in cooperating, but also honest in talking about the real problems we still have between our two countries.” Regarding Cyprus, the prime minister said that a solution should be found -a just, European solution for a unified Cyprus, free of dependencies on its motherlands, free of occupation troops, divisions and walls that have no place in the European Union.

Regarding bilateral relations, the PM said that the two countries must respect borders and territorial integrity and this would be the basis of a durable and strong good neighbourly relationship. Papandreou made these statements during his meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who, according to the premier with his wisdom and action has promoted Orthodoxy worldwide, championing objectives such as protection of the environment and ecology.

» OSCE CiO Welcomes Turkey-Armenia Accords

The Chairman-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Greece’s premier and foreign minister George Papandreou welcomed the signing of an agreement between Armenia and Turkey for the normalisation of their relations, which was signed on October 10, following months of Swiss-mediated talks.

» SEECP Meeting: A roadmap for Accession

Addressing the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) informal meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Istanbul, Prime Minister and FM George Papandreou stressed that the Southeastern Europe and the Balkans can contribute to a new dynamic in Europe.

“A new dynamic in enlarging the European Union […] and creating a socially just Europe […] with a greater role in the world.” Papandreou said that a revised version of the so-called Thessaloniki Agenda – the basis of the Greek Presidency in the EU in 2003 – and a roadmap for accession of the rest of the Western Balkans with a specific date can contribute to this process.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: PM and FM Papandreou’s speech at the informal meeting of FMs

French Minister Visits Samos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) During his visit to the Aegean island of Samos, on Friday Sept 18th, French Immigration Minister Eric Besson, accompanied by Greek Caretaker Interior Minister Spyros Flogaitis, visited the Italian vessel of Frontex and the immigrants’ reception centre, pointed out that Greece is confirming its good name regarding hospitality issues.  Besson was in Samos for a briefing on the situation prevailing in this eastern part of Europe, in light of the meeting today, among European Union Interior Ministers on justice and domestic issues, to discuss the increasing illegal entry of foreigners from the Turkish coast.

Venice Film Festival: Greeks with “Heart”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Soul Kitchen” is the title of a movie by Fatih Akin, a young German director of Turkish descent, who is best known for his previous film “The Edge of Heaven” (2007).

The latest movie “Soul Kitchen” recounts the story of two German brothers of Greek descent (the characters’ names are the Kazatzakis brothers) who try their best to make an honest living on the streets of Hamburg.  The leading role is the one of the two brothers (starring German-Greek actor Adam Basdoukos) who manages to overcome difficulties and eventually become a chef at his own restaurant.  “Soul Kitchen is principally a love letter to my city, Hamburg” says the 36-year old promising director who impressed both audience and critics with his film at the 66th Venice Film Festival. Whereas dealing with rough social issues such as the cultural and social struggle of classes, the movie brings a soft breeze of humorous sarcasm, adding to the movie’s broadly acknowledged taste.

FRONTEX Patrol: Turbulence in The Aegean

FRONTEX(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens has lodged a complaint with Ankara after Turkey’s latest attempt to oust an EU Frontex helicopter operating over the Greek isle of Farmakonisi in the Aegean.  On September 8, the Latvian pilots on board a Frontex helicopter – an EU agency coordinating boarder controls in the EU- were asked by Turkish authorities, via radio, to submit a flight plan. The pilots continued their operation without responding to the call and reported the incident to the Greek authorities, who issued a démarche with Turkey. This incident constitutes Turkey’s sixth attempt to obstruct EU agencies’operations in the area in 2009.Kathimerini  daily: Turks continue to stir tension; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek Territorial Waters – National Airspace

Map of Greece / Χάρτης της Ελλάδας

Cypriot Foreign Minister in Athens

bakokyprianou2(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   In view of the ongoing negotiation process to achieve a “Cypriot” solution, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis met with her Cypriot counterpart Marcos Kyprianou yesterday (September 3) in Athens.  “We support in a substantial manner […] the efforts being made by President Christofias to achieve a solution, without mediation or interference from third parties […] or any manner of “deadlines,” within the framework of the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the principles and values of the EU,” Bakoyannis stressed, reminding that Athens considers the Cyprus issue a major foreign policy priority.  “The mutually agreed basis for the negotiations is a bicommunal, bizonal federation, with political equality – as expressly stated in the relevant UN resolutions – with a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship,” said Bakoyannis, stressing also the need for Turkey to allow the Turkish Cypriots to negotiate creatively towards an agreed, viable and functional solution, underling the fact that “a unified Cyprus in the EU is the best investment in future progress and development.”  On his part, Kyprianou called Turkey to fulfil its undertaken obligations to the European Union, allowing also the Turkish Cypriots to negotiate freely towards the solution being pursued.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Statements of FM Bakoyannis and FM Kyprianou & The Cyprus Issue

Safe Air Corridor for Turkish F-16

f161(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greek Air Force yesterday provided a safe air corridor for a Turkish F-16 fighter jet in order to return to its base in Eskisehir.  The Turkish jet had issued an emergency warning due to problems with its flight-control system, while flying at law-altitude over Greek islands of Farmakonisi, Agathonisi and Fournoi, violating Greek air space.  Kathimerini daily: Turkish F-16 in emergency; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Relations with Turkey; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek territorial Waters – National airspace

Remembering the Cyprus Invasion

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  A series of events under the title “35 years – It’s a long time” has been scheduled to marke the 35th anniversary since the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army (20th of July).  The programme includes three exhibitions in the Syntagma metro station and a concert in Syntagma Square in the evening. 

» Worshipping Women

womenancientathens1Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias  inauguratedyesterday July 20 at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens the exhibition “Worshipping Women: Ritual and Reality in Classical Athens.” The exhibition which was shown earlier this year at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York gathers together rare and extraordinary archaeological objects -belonging to the National Archaeological Museum, the Louvre Museum, the Vatican Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the British Museum- in order to re-examine preconceptions about the exclusion of women from public life in ancient Athens ancient artefacts  The exhibition will run until November 30, 2009.

» 6th Int’l Conference on Law

The Athens Institute for Education and Research is organising the sixth international conference on Law, in Athens on July 20-23.   The Institute was established in 1995 as an independent academic organization with the mission to become a forum where academics and researchers from all over the world could meet in Athens and exchange ideas on their research and discuss future developments in their discipline. 

Cyprus: A Devided Island, 35 Years After

Cyprus Map(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  35 years have elapsed since July 20th, 1974, a day which marked a turning point in the history of Cyprus. The Turkish invasion in the north of the island, which was facilitated by the then Greek totalitarian regime’s series of disastrous meddling, led to the brutal and permanent division of the island into two ethnically cleansed areas. Nicosia is still a physically divided capital, the last one in Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall. In memory of the events of 1974, the Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stated that a solution to the Cyprus problem is still sought, always within the framework of the UN Security Council’s resolutions and the principles of the European Union to which Cyprus adheres as a full member since 2004. “July 20 is a day of memory and honour. It stands as landmark for a definite, just, viable and functional solution to the problem.” The ongoing deliberations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leader should be based on the grounds of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty and legal personality, the premier concluded. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis added that “Turkey continues to hold the key to the solution of the Cyprus problem” and encouraged the country to actively demonstrate its will to ‘turn page’ on its stance so far. Secretariat General of Information: About Greece- History of Modern Greece ; Greek News Agenda: Tearing Down the Barriers; Kathimerini Daily: Christofias and Talat exchange olive branches; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Cyprus- The Parameters of the Problem and the Solution

Theological School of Halki

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Turkish Dailies Hürriyet (April 18) and Today’s Zaman (April 27) report on the Theological School of Halki (Istanbul, Turkey), Ecumenical Patriarchate’s theology and primary seminary, closed by the Turkish authorities in 1971.  Since 1971, there have been attempts to reopen the Halki Theological Seminary. The debate over the potential opening up of the Seminary is, while not these days at the top of the public agenda, a topic which will clearly come up often in the near future.   In fact, it most recently came up during the visit to Turkey by US President Barack Obama (April 7).

UN: Reopen Halki Seminary

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has invited Turkey to reopen the Greek Orthodox Theological School on the island of Halki, after the Turkish authorities’ decision to close the Halki seminary in 1971.  The Committee has also called on Turkey to return confiscated properties and promptly to execute all related judgements by the European Court of Human Rights. Furthermore, the Committee noted its concern over the particularly serious situation of the Greek minority and calls urgently upon Turkey to redress such discrimination as well as respect human rights. The Theological School of Halki, established in 1844, was a prestigious centre of culture and civilisation. During its years of operation the school counted many internationally renowned scholars.

News in Polish from the Greek Radio

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Through its successful European course, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation” ERT – from a sending country of migrants in the 1960s – became a recipient country for workers from all corners of the globe. The radical changes in the country’s cultural and social map took place in a very short period of time and constituted a challenge for everyone. The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (www.ert.gr) offers news in 12 languages through its multilingual radio programme “FILIA” (“friendship” in Greek). The news is broadcast in Arabic, Russian, Romanian, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Albanian, German, Spanish, French, Polish, and English. FILIA Program (665 ΑΜ): Daily Programme Schedule; Saturday Programme Schedule; Sunday Programme Schedule

Greece supports Cyprus

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Meeting her Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou in Athens on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis relayed Greece’s support for Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias’ efforts to solve the Cyprus issue. The meeting was held just two days before the round of a new phase of negotiations between Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. Bakoyannis particularly emphasised Cyprus’ capacity as a member of the EU and the European dimension the solution must have, stressing that this should ensure the safety and prosperity of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots without including “vague interventionist rights.”  Athens News Agency: Support for Christofias in Athens; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Cyprus – The Parameters of the Problem and the Solution; Statements of FM DoraBakoyannis and her Cypriot counterpart, Markos Kyprianou, following their meeting

Crete: Labyrinth Musical Workshop

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Musical Workshop “Labyrinth,” founded in 1982 by Ross Daly, started as a group of musicians dedicated to the preservation and promotion of musical traditions from all around the world and to the creative interaction between them. It is situated in a manor house in the village of Houdetsi (20 km south of Iraklion), where people can visit a permanent exhibition of rare musical instruments as well as exhibitions of the work of some of the best of contemporary instrument makers worldwide. Since its foundation, it has served as a meeting point for musicians and music lovers, and hosts special musical seminars, concerts, meetings of musicians and courses in the instrument making. This year workshops on musical instruments such as cello, Cretan lyra, mandolin etc plus Bulgarian, Turkish and Irish music and singing, take place from June 30 to September 6. (Photo: Ross Dali  teaching  a traditional music workshop in Warsaw  September 2006 )

Greece – Turkey: Power Swap Deal

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Greece‘s Development Minister Christos Folias signed a power swap deal with his Turkish counterpart in Istanbul on July 2, in a bid to solve the anticipated rise in power consumption.  In his speech at the 5th International Energy Forum, which was held in Istanbul, Folias stressed that regional energy cooperation and development is a matter of pivotal strategic importance to both Greece and Turkey. “It is our conviction that the nations making up the geopolitical triangle, Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, will enjoy a constantly mounting role in the world balance of energy market in the near future,” Folias said. Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Politics, Business and Current Affairs;