Greece has been celebrating 157 years of independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire with a three-day official holiday.
Greece has been celebrating 157 years of independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire with a three-day official holiday. Special commemorations have been held throughout the country but the climax was Saturday's (25 March) military parade in Athens.
SYNOPSIS: Beforehand there was the traditional Te Deum at Athens Cathedral, attended by President Constantine Tsatsos, Cabinet Ministers and military leaders. The President then took the salute at a military marchpast at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
Weapons newly acquired by the Greek forces were shown for the first time in the parade. These included new French armoured personnel carriers and self-propelled guns. Before the event there had been rumours that anarchists would create serious disturbances. Athens Police took special measures, but the parade passed off without incident.
The anniversary celebrations came just 12 days after a summit meeting between the Greek and Turkish Premiers in Switzerland. The two leaders agreed to open a dialogue for the peaceful solution of disputes between them -- problems that include the Cyprus issue, territorial rights in the Aegean, and minority rights in Istanbul and Greek Thrace. The two countries last came close to war in 1976, when a Turkish oil exploration vessel entered waters claimed by Greece.