NEWS

Athens blasts Cem heckler; security ‘lax’

Greece yesterday expressed regret at Thursday’s unfortunate incident in which a Kurdish man heckled the visiting Turkish foreign minister at a semi-official function in Athens, conceding that security had been slightly lax. I would like to express our regret, government spokesman Christos Protopappas said. These people, to whom we have granted political asylum, must respect their host country. On Thursday evening, a Kurdish political refugee created an embarrassment in the Eleftherias Park gallery where Ismail Cem – in the company of Greek FM George Papandreou and several ambassadors – was about to open an exhibition of his photos. He called Cem a murderer, before being hustled off by security. Protopappas’s comments drew a sharp response from Synaspismos Left Coalition, which accused the government of ignoring the basics of human solidarity. Protopappas also defended Papandreou’s exclusive use of English during Thursday’s joint press conference with Cem.