Athens rebuffs Turkish minister?s putdown

Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis on Monday rebuffed comments by Turkey?s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc – according to which Greeks will soon have to start begging to survive – noting that the statement ?lacked truth and seriousness.?

?We assume Mr Arinc?s opinion does not express that of the Turkish government,? Petalotis said. ?Of course there is a fiscal crisis in our country but thanks to the decisiveness of the Greek people, our economy will recover,? he added.

In a speech highlighting Turkey?s impressive economic growth of 9 percent last year, Arinc held up Greece, which registered a growth rate of around minus 6 percent, as an example to be avoided.

?Wages are not being paid, collective bargaining pacts have been frozen… factories have ceased production, they want to sell them but no one wants to buy,? Arinc said. ?Greeks are on the brink of begging for money,? he added.

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