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A.N.A. Bulletin, 17/11/95

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 743), November 17, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address:


  • [1] Calm returns to Korydallos prison, three inmates dead of overdoses

  • [2] Prison guards back to work today

  • [3] Reactions

  • [4] Greece marks 22nd anniversary of Polytechnic uprising today

  • [5] Greece says Turkish foreign ministry statements 'public relations exercise'

  • [6] Greece working on next steps in reparations, loan issue

  • [7] Greek deputies brief Bonn on national issues

  • [8] Arsenis begins three-day visit to Thrace

  • [9] New Democracy National Assembly convenes this weekend

  • [10] Avramopoulos calls for satisfaction of KEDKE demands before Rhodes meeting

  • [11] Europarliament approves deregulation of airport ground services

  • [12] GSEE executive to meet on solving deadlock on wage increases

  • [13] News in Brief

  • [1] Calm returns to Korydallos prison, three inmates dead of overdoses

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    Calm appeared to have returned to Athens' maximum-security prison at Korydallos last night after riot police quelled a mass escape attempt by inmates following a three-day takeover of the complex.

    Three platoons of riot police were stationed in the prison and on the roof and another at the central gate to control crowds that had gathered outside.

    An isolated group of inmates was still holding out in the guardhouse while the remainder had returned to their cells. Reports said a small group has attempted to break out of the complex at around 11pm but were foiled.

    Pandemonium reigned earlier in the evening as riot police went in to quell an attempted mass escape, almost 24 hours after the final six hostages were released by the prisoners in the early hours of yesterday morning.

    Fifteen platoons of riot police used tear-gas to drive inmates back into the complex and there were fears, later dispelled, that some may have escaped in the confusion.

    In statements at midnight last night, Justice Minister Ioannis Pottakis admitted the situation in the prison system was tragic but, the problem being a long-term one, could not be solved overnight.

    He provided assurances that the Korydallos prison would be gradually transferred to other locations.

    Mr. Pottakis defended the option of non-intervention, saying any other option would have had tragic consequences, given that there were hostages and an overconsumption of drugs among inmates.

    "We succeeded in having the hostages released, we prevented escapes, and the spreading of the revolt to other penitentiaries," he added. He rejected an opposition call for his resignation.

    "We have no coalition government ... New Democracy must understand this," he said.

    Justice Ministry Secretary-General George Pavleas, who led negotiations to resolve the crisis, said late last night no one had been killed during the failed escape attempt, but admitted 11 inmates had been slightly injured by the use of tear gas.

    Three inmates have died of drug overdoses so far during the three-day siege of the prison and another 20 were reported to be in drug-induced comas after raiding prison hospital supplies.

    Authorities expressed fears that other drug fatalities could follow.

    Twenty prisoners were also injured in melees between inmate factions during the three-day takeover.

    Inmates took over the prison on Tuesday and took eight hostages, two released on Wednesday, and the remainder yesterday following assurances the justice ministry would meet their demands for improved food and medical care and a reduction in the number o f inmates housed at the overcrowded jail, designed for 500 inmates but now holding an estimated 1,500.

    Police said that the prisoners, many of them foreigners, went on a free-for-all rampage, setting fires on prison building roofs and making abortive escape attempts through a tunnel at the jail's psychiatric ward.

    [2] Prison guards back to work today

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    Mr. Pavleas said prison guards would return to work in the prison this morning, and denied that the situation had got out of hand because the government had reneged on its promises to the inmates.

    All demands will be met before the end of the year, he said.

    An end to the siege was delayed yesterday afternoon when prison guards refused to re-enter the grounds until cell bars had been checked and locks changed.

    Police said that the prison staff refused to return to their posts despite "assurances" from prisoners that they would help disarm other inmates, who held mostly hand-made weapons such as sticks, knives, and iron bars.

    At a general meeting yesterday, the guards set a number of conditions for resuming their duties, including the immediate transfer of Albanian prisoners to other jails, the appointment of four chief wardens at Korydallos, one for each wing, and regular inspections by the justice ministry to ensure adherence to security measures and sanitary conditions.

    The guards are also demanding that the number of prisoners at Korydallos be reduced to a level which will enable its problem-free operation.

    [3] Reactions

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras harshly criticized the government late yesterday evening over the latest developments in Korydallos prison.

    "The unprecedented incidents at Korydallos display the dangerous state of paralysis that exists in the sensitive area of prisons, as well as the government's weakness in dealing with the situation," Mr. Samaras said.

    "It is obvious that government indifference has led penal institutions into operating conditions, with government tolerance, that are beyond legal control," he said.

    Both the main opposition New Democracy and the Political Spring parties issued statements yesterday on the uprising.

    "The tragic end to events in Korydallos prison is simply another symptom of the criminal indifference and non-existent government," the ND statement read.

    "The least someone can expect at this moment, if any shred of responsibility and sensitivity is left in the prime minister, is for an immediate replacement of the justice ministry's leadership."

    Political Spring spokesman Notis Martakis made the following comments:

    "Fatalities have been added to the uncontrolled situation at the Korydallos prison. Political Spring reiterates its request for the immediate application of a unanimous decision by the inter-party committee on the penal system, with priority given to the transfer of the prison from the municipality of Korydallos."

    [4] Greece marks 22nd anniversary of Polytechnic uprising today

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece yesterday prepared to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 1973 student uprising against the military dictatorship and braced itself for further violence between police and self-styled anarchists.

    "The Polytechnic (uprising) remains a milestone in our contemporary history, that signals the unity of our people," Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said in a message.

    "Today, we honor the struggles of the Polytechnic generation during the junta.

    "The struggle for democracy and freedom led to the fall of the junta and laid the foundations for the democratic course of our country," he said.

    The anniversary this year of the November 17, 1973 bloody student uprising against the military junta that ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974 coincides with student protests against new education ministry regulations for tertiary education.

    The three days of celebrations officially began Wednesday morning, under the shadow of Tuesday's violence at a student demonstration in central Athens.

    In Thessaloniki, nine policemen were slightly injured when they tried to stop a march by about 30 self-styled anarchists in the centre of Thessaloniki with tear gas.

    The youths returned to the attack with fire bombs and stones, blocking traffic in Greece's second largest city.

    Late Wednesday night, youths clashed with riot police in both Athens and Thessaloniki.

    Clashes between self-styled anarchists and police usually follow the peaceful annual march through central Athens to the United States Embassy.

    Polytechnic Rector Nikos Markatos told reporters yesterday that all necessary measures had been taken and that hundreds of students were in the university grounds, willing to defend it from anarchists' raids.

    After laying a wreath during a visit to the Polytechnic, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis praised the struggle of the youth in November 1973.

    Representing the government, Interior Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos also laid a wreath, saying "the visions and values are expressed today with similar great challenges for the Greek people."

    In his order for the day, Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis stressed the need for vigilance and a fighting spirit on the part of youth to safeguard peace and national integrity at a time when upheaval and fluidity prevail in the broader region.

    Ruling PASOK's Executive Bureau said the Polytechnic "remained the paramount symbol of the anti-dictatorial struggle of youth and our people, a bright landmark in the course of modern Greek society and the modern history of the nation".

    New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert was more critical, saying "all that has happened this week has certainly not vindicated the struggle of the Polytechnic... Greater recollection and less talk is needed on everyone's part".

    Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras said the struggle of the Polytechnic "had become the object of petty-party exploitation, resulting in a distortion of historical truth and the real message of the event".

    But, the Coalition of the Left and Progress said, "the Polytechnic uprising always retains its message of freedom."

    [5] Greece says Turkish foreign ministry statements 'public relations exercise'

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece's foreign ministry yesterday rejected as "an exercise in public relations" a statement by Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Nurettin Nurkan, accusing Greece of avoiding dialogue between the two countries.

    Mr. Nurkan told reporters in Istanbul Wednesday that he regretted Greece's decision to reject a proposal for solving "all problems" between the two countries through dialogue.

    On the contrary, Foreign Ministry spokesman Costas Bikas stressed, "it was Ankara that first rejected a Greek proposal to resume a political dialogue on a foreign ministry directors' level".

    Mr. Bikas said that Greece insisted on its proposal for talks at such a level "in order to examine many secondary issues, including that of illegal immigration" to Greece.

    "If Greece agrees to a proposal for dialogue on all issues, it would be tantamount to recognition of the Turkish claims in the Aegean," he said.

    He reiterated that the "only open issue is that of the (Aegean) continental shelf, which the Greek government has proposed should be arbitrated by the International Court of Justice at the Hague".

    [6] Greece working on next steps in reparations, loan issue

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    The foreign ministry yesterday refused to disclose the next steps the Greek government intended to take to seek war reparations and repayment of an occupation loan the Bank of Greece was forced to extend to Nazi occupation forces.

    "Greece has worked out all possible scenaria," Foreign Ministry spokesman Costas Bikas said at his regular press briefing yesterday.

    He referred reporters to a statement Wednesday by government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris, who said that the issue was "very important" and Greece would try to resolve the dispute with "its friend, Germany" by "using all peaceful means".

    Mr. Bikas declined to comment on whether Greece would seek recourse to the European Court of Justice but added that "Greece believes that its position is legally valid".

    Bonn Tuesday rejected a verbal note submitted by Greece's Ambassador to the German Foreign Ministry concerning the repayment of the loan and claims for war reparations.

    Greece bases its claim on the 1990 unification treaty of West and East Germany, the Moscow Treaty of the same year and the Paris Charter, also of 1990, reestablishing Germany within the international system.

    [7] Greek deputies brief Bonn on national issues

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    A Greek parliamentary delegation is visiting Germany for talks with the country's political leadership, within the framework of Greece's efforts to inform world public opinion on its foreign affairs policy and national issues.

    The visit is taking place at the initiative of Parliament's President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    The delegation, comprising five deputies from the ruling PASOK, main opposition New Democracy and Political Spring parties, held a meeting with the president and members of the board of the Munich Press Club focusing on Greece's positions regarding relations with Albania, FYROM and Turkey, the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' EU accession, as well as problems related to the ethnic Greek minorities in Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos.

    The meeting also centered on the issue of the German occupation loan and war reparations, as well as the friendly ties linking the two countries.

    [8] Arsenis begins three-day visit to Thrace

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    Kicking off a three-day tour of Thrace yesterday, National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis said the period of Thrace's isolation had ended and that the region would be transformed into a centre of economic and industrial activity for the Balkan hinterland in the near future.

    Speaking at his first stop at Trigono Evrou, Mr. Arsenis expressed his satisfaction at the armed forces' contribution to the development of Thrace.

    Mr. Arsenis announced the creation of a one billion drachma military uniform production plant in the Trigono region, which the ministry will participate in with a 36 per cent share.

    He also visited the border communities of Rizion, Kastaneon and Elaias, accompanied by the Commander of the Fourth Army Corps Lieutenant-General Manousos Paragioudakis, his wife and economic adviser for the prime minister Louka Katseli-Arseni, deputies and local authority representatives.

    Referring to Turkey, Mr. Arsenis said "if Turkey wants to approach Europe, it must behave in a European manner, its first duty being to change its attitude towards Greece, revising the provocative stance it has been manifesting recently and, primarily, its unacceptable policy concerning Cyprus where Turkish troops are still occupying its northern part. Therefore, Turkey's approach to Europe necessitates a radical change in its attitude."

    On the question of the state budget, Mr. Arsenis called on the Greek people to support the government's convergence programme.

    Mr. Arsenis will visit Xanthi today and wrap up his tour tomorrow by participating in the ruling PASOK party's regional conference in Komotini.

    Addressing a meeting later in the evening, Mr. Arsenis characterized development as Greece's main problem, saying that a change in attitude is required from the population as a whole, as responsibility belongs to all.

    Referring to neighboring Balkan countries, Mr. Arsenis stated Gree-ce's safety must be secured through economic co-operation, while passages towards these countries must be opened for Greece to fulfill its historic and economic role in the region. He predicted that pockets of destabilization requiring vigilance will continue to exist in the Balkans.

    Regarding Turkey, Mr. Arsenis appeared pessimistic about the possibility of a change of behavior towards Greece and stressed that strong national security is needed to avert Turkish actions arising from possible temptations.

    Mr. Arsenis will visit Iraklion on Sunday to attend a ceremony at the former US base of Gournes, which is due to be allocated to the city for development.

    [9] New Democracy National Assembly convenes this weekend

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    The main opposition New Democracy party will hold its National Assembly tomorrow and Sunday, it was announced yesterday.

    According to an ND announcement, the fifth annual assembly will serve this year as a "milestone sealing the party's victorious path to power."

    ND leader Miltiades Evert said he attributed great importance to the assembly, "the last to take place before elections, which are expected to be held soon."

    The meeting will be held over two days for the first time, on the initiative of Mr. Evert, so "that all 1,197 participating officials will be able to express freely their positions and proposals".

    "ND is prepared to face elections, even if they are called tomorrow," deputy Dimitris Sioufas said, adding that developments in the government might lead to early elections.

    He said the Greek people could draw comparisons between democratic practices within ND and ruling PASOK.

    According to sources, Mr. Evert will call for party unity in his address to the assembly, while former prime minister and honorary ND president Constantine Mitsotakis is expected to focus on internal party problems.

    [10] Avramopoulos calls for satisfaction of KEDKE demands before Rhodes meeting

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos said he hopes the interior ministry will have satisfied the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities' (KEDKE) basic demands, namely increased funding requests, by the beginning of the union's conference in Rhodes at the end of the month.

    "In the last few months our country's local government organizations (OTA) have had to cover two bonuses for employees," Mr. Avramopoulos, who is also KEDKE's president, said. Mr. Avramopoulos referred to an 18,000-drachma bonus and a 15,000 election benefit paid to local government employees.

    He said if the extra money is not reimbursed by the interior ministry, local governments and municipalities will not even be able to offer basic services and may begin mobilizations.

    [11] Europarliament approves deregulation of airport ground services

    Strasbourg, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Europarliament approved the SEAL report yesterday concerning a Commission directive for the airport ground services market in European Union airports.

    The Commission directive calls for the deregulation of the entire ground services sector in all EU airports, allowing for airlines to retain uncontested control of movement of passengers and luggage, movement of planes once they have landed and maintenance.

    Ground services, which include a wide spectrum of activities, are handled by either airport-affiliated firms or airlines, usually a costly proposition for the latter.

    Main opposition New Democracy Eurodeputy Pavlos Sarlis spoke on behalf of the European People's Party during deliberations on the matter prior to a vote, saying the measure is a significant step toward deregulation of the sector.

    [12] GSEE executive to meet on solving deadlock on wage increases

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    The executive committee of the country's largest labor grouping, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), will meet today to decide on the size of wage increases it will seek for 1996. The GSEE administrative board failed to decide on a common stand earlier this week due to differences between the various factions affiliated to the major political parties. GSEE President Christos Protopappas said that the PASKE faction, affiliated to the ruling PASOK party, would try to secure the ad option of a resolution for increases of 10 per cent.

    DAKE, the faction affiliated to the main opposition New Democracy party, has proposed increases of 13 per cent, while the Communist Party affiliate, ESAK, is pushing for 22 per cent.

    It is considered highly unlikely that ESAK will budge from its position.

    Mr. Protopappas said that if DAKE and ESAK did not change their stance, GSEE would enter into negotiations with employers with a "single-faction" decision.

    He added that PASKE did not want such a solution but would be forced to adopt it in order to avoid "a crisis of inaction" within GSEE. Estimating that negotiations with employers would be tough, Mr. Protopappas said that PASKE would request the participation of all the GSEE factions in the negotiating team to be formed.

    "If the (negotiating) process results in an agreement which protects and improves the living standards of workers, PASKE will sign it, even alone. We shall assume the responsibility and will be judged accordingly," Mr. Protopappas said.

    According to observers, such a development would lead to a worsening of relations between the various factions and ultimately affect the trade union movement as a whole.

    [13] News in Brief

    Athens, 17/11/1995 (ANA):

    - A new round of public sector hirings was announced yesterday by Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, with a nationwide exam set for March 1996. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the exact number of new positions to be filled will be declared after the tabling of next year's budget in Parliament at the end of the month. However, that figure will be definitely more than the 3,070 positions that were available during an April 1995 examination, he said. The minister said the new government jobs are for provincial areas, while Prefectural and local government entities have first choice of successful candidates.

    - Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos met Chinese Supervision Under-secretary Ti-Yun-Fenj yesterday for talks on issues concerning relations between the two countries and the two ministries' duties.

    - Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos will attend the European Union's General Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, focusing on relations between the EU and the US and Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. The agenda also includes Mediterranean policy and the preparation of the Euro-Mediterranean Barcelona Conference and 15 Euro-Mediterranean association agreements, the Mideast peace process, the preparation of structured dialogue with Cyprus and Malta and relations between the EU and Latin America and relations with Asia. Moreover, the association agreement between the EU and Israel will be signed on Monday, while the structured dialogue with Cyprus and Malta will take place on Tuesday morning.

    End of English language section.

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