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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