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PM issues message of unity to overcome crisis
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras issued a message of unity "in all directions" so that Greece may overcome the crisis, speaking at the opening ceremony of an exhibition titled "Liberation Heirlooms 1912-1913" in Thessaloniki on Friday, in the context of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule.
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and Samaras attended a doxology in the morning at the church of Aghios Dimitrios (St. Demetrios), the city's patron saint, whose feast day is celebrated on October 26 (Friday). Afterwards they went to the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, where Papoulias inaugurated the exhibition "Heirlooms of the Liberation 1912-1913" and "Celebration of the Flag: In the footsteps of the liberators".
Three-day events opened in Thessaloniki on Friday marking the triple celebration of St. Demetrios' feast day, the 100th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule, and the October 28 OCHI Day national holiday. Samaras said "no to fatalism" and "no to suspicion", noting that "the only enemy that can defeat us is division".
"We have shown a lot, but we have not yet achieved all the targets," the prime minister said, and expressed optimism that Greece will succeed once again.
"On Sunday, we will celebrate the 'ochi' ('no') to fascism. Patriotism is not a flag of convenience but a virtue. It is not hatred for all the others," Samaras said, in an indirect but clear reference to the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party.
The October 28 "Ochi Day" national holiday commemorates the anniversary of Greece's resounding "Ochi" (no) to then Italian dictator Mussolini's demand for free passage to invade Greece during World War II, which brought Greece into the war on the Allied side. On Oct. 28, 1940, fascist Italy presented Greece with the ultimatum, but Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas tersely refused, and the country not only denied Mussolini's forces free passage, it went on the offensive in mid-November and drove the opposing forces back through part of southern Albania.
Today, Greece is faced with another crisis "and we are waging another struggle for survival, but this time to liberate our people from to kind of shackles," Samaras continued: "From the shackles of underdevelopment, so as to win the battle of competitiveness, prosperity and progress, inside Europe, of which Greece is an indivisible member, and will remain so. And from the shackles of overindebtedness, which has led us to unbelievable humiliations and to a vicious circle of recession, unemployment, adversity and despair."
Samaras said that Greece will win the wager of credibility, saying: "We are rendering Greece worthy of respect once again. And we are struggling, in very difficult conditions, to break the vicious cycle of austerity and enter a path of growth so that in the future we will never again have need of 'memorandums', dependences, lenders."
"Up until a few months ago, few believed that Greece will remain in the eurozone. Now they are all coming out, one by one, and acknowledging it - leaders and international organizations. Many who had us 'written off' but today are betting on our success. And all realize that the crisis in Greece led to a crisis in all of Europe, and thus Greece's success from this point on will prove to be also a great success for all of Europe," the prime minister added.
SOURCE: ATHENS NEWS AGENCY