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Greece

Yearbook 1999

Greece. The area around Athens was hit on September 7 by an earthquake that claimed more than 120 lives and left 60,000 people homeless. The quake was measured at 5.9 on the Richter scale. Turkey, which only a few weeks earlier received Greek help in the severe earthquake in the western part of the country, sent rescue workers. The two natural disasters somewhat thawed the frosty relations between the countries. Foreign Minister Georgios Papandreou visited Istanbul in October, giving his support for a Turkish EU membership.

1999 Greece

According to Countryaah official website, the capture of Abdullah Ícalan, leader of the Kurdish PKK guerrilla, got heads rolling in the Greek government in January. Theodoros Pangalos, Foreign Minister Alexandros Papadopoulos, Minister of the Interior and Phillipos Petsalnikos, Minister of Public Order, all resigned at the request of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis since Ícalan sought protection in G. but was rejected, after which he was captured in Kenya by the Turkish security service. New Foreign Minister became Georgios Papandreou, new Minister of the Interior Vasso Papandreou and new Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrysochoidis.

In Athens, in January, students and teachers demonstrated in protest against new tougher degree rules that would adapt the Greek education system to the EU. The protests, which led to clashes between police and protesters, forced 500 of the country's more than 3,000 schools to close.

US President Bill Clinton would have visited G. for three days in early November, but due to massive anti-American demonstrations, the visit was postponed for a week and shortened to a day on November 19-20. Violent crows erupted in Athens in connection with the visit.

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