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01 October, 2001
Greece's Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said claims made by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit of the existence of terrorism in Cyprus were totally off-course and revealed Turkey's weakness to obstruct the development of Cyprus-Greece policy which leads to Cyprus' speedy accession to the European Union.
Tsohatzopoulos, who arrived in Cyprus earlier on Sunday to attend Monday's celebrations marking the anniversary of the island republic's Independence Day, said that Ecevit believed that the procedure for Cyprus' EU accession would be undermined by his making arbitrary references to matters which have nothing to do with reality.
Speaking after the meeting he had with his Cypriot counterpart Socratis Hasikos at the General Headquarters of the Cyprus National Guard, in the presence of National Guard Chief Evangelos Florakis, Tsohatzopoulos said that Greece and Cyprus aligned themselves in the battle against international terrorism.
If anyone can be accused in this region for the phenomenon of terrorism, this is Turkey which has repeatedly refused to proceed and give to the entire people of Cyprus their freedom, unity and free prospects in the 21st Century.
The Greek defense minister categorically denied reports that the Cyprus-Greece joint military exercise "Nikiforos-Toxotis" in October will be downgraded. He assured that there would be no alterations made nor would the exercise be downgraded.
To a question whether planes would take part in the exercise, the minister said that the exercise will take place as normal as has always been the case.
Following his meeting with Hasikos, Tsohatzopoulos met with Parliament's Defense Committee and with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
Source: Athens News Agency