Document Date: 30 Oct. 1997
Posting Date:.... 2 Nov. 1997
From the Reuters News Agency
ATHENS, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Most Greeks want better relations with rival Turkey and say they see no immediate danger of war between the two Aegean neighbours, according to a public opinion poll issued on Thursday.
About 63 percent of those asked by the Metron Analysis polling company said Greek policy towards Turkey should be one of gradual rapprochement as opposed to 27 percent who said all contact should stop.
The two NATO members have long been at odds over territorial rights, minority issues and the divided island of Cyprus. Asked whether there was immediate danger of war with Turkey, 63 percent said no and 33 said yes.
Athens and Ankara came to the brink of war in January 1996 over an uninhabited Aegean islet. A clash between rival warships was averted after last-minute U.S. intervention.
Seventy-seven percent of those asked about American initiatives in the area said the United States promoted tension, compared with only 12 percent who said Washington promoted peace.
About 90 percent of those asked said tension between the two countries benefited arms merchants, 89 percent said it served the interests of the United States and 77 percent said it benefited Turkey. Only nine percent said it benefited Greece.
The poll was conducted between October 22 and 23 among 807 people in Athens for Flash 9.61, a private radio station.