Soccer game unites rivals

Tonight’s UEFA Cup second-round, first-leg match between Panathinaikos and Fenerbahce, in Istanbul, is turning into a celebration of Greek-Turkish entente, as the two countries promote a joint bid for the 2008 European soccer championships. Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos are flying to Istanbul today to promote the joint bid and underscore the new spirit of cooperation. Sports Minister Giorgos Lianis arrived in the Turkish city yesterday, accompanied by several former Greek soccer legends, who met with their Turkish counterparts. «The two peoples are sending (through the athletes) messages of solidarity, love and peace,» Lianis said at the event. Before the match, the two soccer federations will sign a document affirming their attachment to the Olympic Truce, a cause vigorously promoted worldwide by Papandreou. Fenerbahce’s vice president, Nihat Ozdemir, has called on the club’s rowdy fans to be friendly toward some 1,500 Panathinaikos supporters expected to attend the match.