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Antenna: News in English, 96-12-16

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From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

News in English, of 16/12/1996


  • Another week of gridlock and roadblocks***. (FARMERS)
  • The prime minister tells Europe it needs a unified foreign policy***. (SIMITIS)
  • And, Antenna obtains evidence of ties between Turkish officials and drug dealers***.


Greece's protesting farmers continued their roadblocks around the nation this week, and by week's end, it looked likely that they would be spending Christmas on the roadblocks.

The farmers are asking for a break on fuel tax and loan repayment terms, and higher prices for their crops.

It was another week of nerves, in a week that stretched nervously toward Christmas.

The nation's farmers kept up their roadblocks of main highways and roads. They say they'll stay put until the government meets their demands. They want a fuel tax break, better loan repayment terms, and better prices for their crops.

The government is a long way from meeting those demands. The prime minister and the finance minister repeated this week that the government cannot wreck its plans to get the economy into shape for European Union monetary union, and those plans include belt-tightening.

Kostas Simitis said, "Demands for millions of dollars cannot bet met". And, as businesses in towns strangled by the roadblocks, like Larisa, Volos, and Patra continued to close because of inability to obtain the essentials of production or to move goods, the prime minister warned the farmers that continuing the roadblocks would amount to an economic disaster for the nation.

The farmers say they can't survive the way things are. One man spoke for many farmers when he said: "Our production prices are going up, our crop prices, falling".

Another complained that young people from Greek agricultural communities are being forced off the land. Many are going to Germany in search of a brighter future.

The farmers say they can't afford to back down now; it would mean throwing in the towel on their future.

And while businessmen announced that they were closing temporarily or wouldn't be able to make Christmas payrolls, the leader of New Democracy urged the prime minister to make some concessions.

Miltiades Evert said the prime minister has a duty to talk to social groups with problems, not ignore them.

No one was ignoring the consequences of the farmers' protests. And many people were concerned about just what kind of Christmas is coming.


The Greek prime minister wants the European Union to make a priority of putting together a common foreign policy.

As the EU moves toward ever-closer economic integration, many members feel that the EU must be able to speak and act as a unit when it comes to defence and foreign policy matters.

Kostas Simitis talked about the need for a common approach in both areas at the EU summit in Ireland.


This week, Antenna brought to public light a photograph of leading Turkish politicians and underworld figures. The picture, taken in 1995 in Germany, added more stones to the avalanche of evidence suggesting that Turkish leaders are connected to drug dealers.


A former Turkish soldier told Antenna television this week that the Turkish army gives its men bonuses and other perks for every Kurd they kill.

Mustapha Ozoulker, who deserted from the ranks after serving on the Sirnak front for a year, condemns the atrocities Turkey carries out against its Kurdish population.

. Ozoulker told Antenna the Turkish soldiers don't always get cash for killing a Kurd - their reward may come in the form of leave, or a shortened enlistment.

Ozoulker accuses the Turkish authorities of quote "manufacturing enemies who don't exist". He adds that because he didn't want to become a pawn in Turkey's war against the Kurds, he sought refuge in Europe.

The ex-conscript's testimony comes in the midst of numerous allegations that high-ranking Turkish leaders have used drug money to fund their military campaign against the Kurds.


The first round of the European basketball championship, or the Euroleague, ended this week. Panathinaikos finished at the top of its six-team first- round group, and goes into the second round with a points advantage.

It's a different story for the other two Greek teams. Panionios finished last in its first-round group, and will be up against tough Estoudiantes, Chibona, and Bologna in the second round.

And Olympiakos finished the first round in fifth place in its group, losing its final game to Estoudiantes.

Olympiakos jumps out to an 25-7 lead against the Spaniards in Madrid, but 18 points aren't good enough. The Spaniards find themselves up 51-45 with fourteen minutes to play in the contest, and Olympiakos throws in the towel, blowing three fast- break opportunities, and two lay-ups.

The loss means Olympiakos will be grouped with three strong teams in the second round: Stefanel of Milan, Chesseka of Moscow, and Tel Aviv's Maccabee. Olympiakos also goes into that second round at a point disadvantage. If it doesn't win one of its three road games, it won't qualify for the playoff round.

© ANT1-Radio 1996

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