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10 February, 1998
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday confirmed a report that Greece had sent a non-paper to NATO refuting Turkish claims that Greece was giving support to Turkey's Kurdish minority.
The report, which appeared in Sunday's issue of the Athens daily "Kathimerini", said the non-paper also presented NATO with data indicating that Turkey was undermining the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations through, firstly specific mechanisms in Greece's northeastern province of Thrace with a view to promoting destabilization and separatist views, secondly, through arsons in forests and other forms of sabotage in Greece by members of the Turkish underworld linked with unofficial power centers in the neighboring country and thirdly, by Turkish authorities showing "tolerance" in the massive flow of illegal immigrants to Greece and drug trafficking from Turkey towards Europe through Greece.
The report said the submission of the non-paper was part of a broader strategy on the part of the Greek government, according to which the de-escalation of tension between the two countries should be accompanied by shedding light on Turkish provocations so that the international community acquires a clear picture of the ways in which Turkey's aggressiveness is manifested.
According to the report, sources said the government considered that these tactics minimized the dangers of 'spasmodic' -and with unforeseeable consequences- moves by Ankara in Thrace, where its strategy has been led to an impasse through Greece's policy of equal political and legal rights for the Moslem minority in recent years, as testified, among other things, by the abolition of Article 19 of the Citizenship Code.
Such an approach is also considered to reduce the likelihood of a 'hot' incident in the Aegean. The latest briefing of EU ambassadors on Turkish violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean was accompanied by a video showing to better illustrate Turkish provocative behavior.
With regard to the referral of bilateral differences to the International Court of Justice, Mr. Reppas said Greece's position was unchanged.
As reiterated by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in parliament last Wednesday, the only issue that the two countries could jointly refer to the International Court was the question of the continental shelf, he said.
If Turkey recognized the Court's jurisdiction, something which Mr. Reppas did not think likely, then it would be able to take recourse to that Court over any issue it wished.
"It is not necessary (for Turkey) to raise these issues by means of irregular military action," he added.
Source: Athens News Agency