NEWS

In Brief

Turkey relations

Ankara plays down Aegean tactics; Athens remains cautious Responding to Athens’s official complaint over a spate of Greek air space violations by Turkish jets, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Burak Ozugergin, yesterday indicated that Ankara was ready to cooperate with Greece in finding a solution to disputes. «There are many problems in the Aegean which can be solved only if they are considered comprehensively,» Ozugergin said, noting that each side must view the other as «a future partner.» He added that problems which cannot be solved bilaterally should «go to third parties.» A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Athens responded that «tactics cannot change the status quo in the Aegean» and said Greece would be only too happy to take the dispute over the continental shelf to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Forest blazes Firemen battle dozens of fires Firefighters yesterday afternoon managed to contain a large blaze that had broken out in a pine forest earlier in the day in Aspropyrgos, western Attica, and another in the coastal suburb of Varkiza. Six water-dropping aircraft and a helicopter were dispatched to aid 10 fire engines battling the Aspropyrgos blaze from the ground. A helicopter was also sent to aid firefighting efforts in Varkiza. Another two fires on the Aegean islands of Andros and Samos had been brought under partial control by late yesterday. Authorities said yesterday that they had recorded a total of 123 fires in the past 24 hours, 62 of them on forestland. Landfill protest Local authority officials and residents of Grammatiko, in northeastern Attica, yesterday told a press conference that they were determined to obstruct the planned construction of a landfill in their community and would press ahead with protests. The head of the Grammatiko community, Nikos Koukis, expressed his opposition to the idea of landfills and called instead for a more comprehensive system of waste management. Cyclist killed A 33-year-old cyclist was fatally injured in the center of Thessaloniki late on Tuesday when a collision with a car knocked him into a bus lane where he was run over by a bus. According to the traffic police, the cyclist fell onto a car in front of him when the vehicle slowed down before tumbling in front of the bus. The drivers of the car and the bus were both being questioned by police yesterday. Toxic waste State environment inspectors yesterday were questioning the driver of a truck caught dumping toxic factory waste in a remote spot in Aspropyrgos, western Attica in the early hours of the day. Police impounded the truck and charges were being lodged against representatives of the firm believed to have produced the toxic waste. Smugglers caught Police in Magnesia, central Greece, yesterday detained four members of a suspected migrant smuggling ring, two Palestinians and two Syrians, after a snap inspection of a vehicle near the village of Mikrothives. Five Pakistanis hidden in the truck, who were picked up at a border crossing with Turkey, reportedly each paid 3,000 euros to be taken to Athens from Turkey.