Griekenland Trojka Tranche Schedule teruggeduwd Drie Maanden-EU

(Adds reaction to Bailly’s comments.)

By Stelios Bouras and Laurence Norman


BRUSSEL (Dow Jones)–The schedule for Greece to receive payments under its first EUR110 billion bailout package has been pushed back by three months so Athens will receive the next tranche in March, European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said, if Greece implements its policy commitments.

The first bailout package could however be superseded fairly soon. The troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary

Toerisme: Griekenland, eerste cruiseschip dokken bij de haven van Piraeus

Toerisme: Griekenland, eerste cruiseschip dokken bij de haven van Piraeus

04 Januari, 13:02

Parel van de Egeïsche Zee

Ruins at the great Roman city of Ephesus

Within just 70 years Turkey has gone from a place with a tangled history to a holiday hotspot. The geo-polictical upheavals of the 1920s forced tens of thousands of Muslims to leave their homes in Greece. Travelling by cart, freighter and camel, they arrived here to rebuild a life. Many ancient civilisations, from the Lydians to the Persians, Romans and Byzantines, have seen their empires rise and fall here. It is this history that today, draws millions of tourists to these shores.

The village of SirinceThanks to Turkey’s modern economy, carts and camels play no part in my own journey. Instead I take a comfortable five-hour Turkish Airlines flight from Delhi via Istanbul to Izmir. I head out to explore the city after checking in at the shorefront Crowne Plaza Hotel. There’s an aroma of fresh coffee and tomatoes in the air, drying laundry gently falp in the cool wind on the rooftops, the sun is balmy and the setting is of a rather sleepy afternoon. Izmir may be home to four million inhabitants but it has a certain quaint quality to it.

The city sits just a few feet above the deep blue Aegean Sea. Behind it, the Madra mountains form a lush backdrop. It’s no wonder then that these settings inspired Homer to pen The Iliad-it was first recounted on the banks of the nearby Meles, tussen 750 en 700 BC- and even encouraged Alexander the Great to take a break from his many conquests. May be that is why the Turks call this placeguzel”. The word means beautiful. It really is.

A ferry ride on the Aegean SeaAt the city centre, the palm-lined Kordon promenade bustles with bars, restaurants and cafes that send the delicious smell of spices, coffee and shisha wafting through the air. It is no accident that the promenade faces West; perfect to catch the sunset. The impressive Konak pier, with its many yachts was designed in 1890 by the same Gustave Eiffel who, just the year before, had built Paris’ Eiffeltoren.

The grand amphitheatre at EphesusI take a seat at an al-fresco restaurant, Firinci Cafe, on Passaport quay and order a coffee. There is an enthusiastic, almost festive, character to this part of town. The coffee arrives in a tiny cup. It holds a rich, muddy concoction. Turkish coffee is prepared by boiling finely-powdered, roasted beans in a cezve, or pot. The coffee is left to settle into a thick, strong, sludge.

Olives are a staple in SmyrnaAhmet Maqsood, my steward, tells me most drinkers only manage four or five sips before the dregs at the bottom become too bitter to finish. To the Turks, coffee is a potent aphrodisiac. In werkelijkheid, jaar geleden, you could even divorce your spouse if they refused to drink it. De volgende dag, I set off on my journey from Izmir to Smyrna, the legendary city of the Amazons- the warrior womenfolk of Greek mythology.

Legend has it that the Goddess Nemesis visited Alexander the Great in a dream when he stopped to rest on Mt Pagus, just outside the city walls. Nemesis ordered the city be moved to the hillside, where modernday Izmir stands. No reason was given; at least none was recorded. Echter, the Oracle of Claros is said to have predicted that Smyrna’s citizens would be four times happier if they made the shift.

The Oracle was right. The city prospered thanks to its fortuitous location along important trade routes. Strabo, the ancient geographer, once wrote that Izmir was the most beautiful Ionian city, even rivalling nearby Ephesus, which is my next stop.

Asansor, the roof-top restaurantEphesus hints at what Smyrna would have looked like in ancient times. It was the capital of the Asian arm of the Roman Empire and was home to 200,000 mensen. Although only partially excavated, Ephesus is a fascinating reminder of how advanced these ancient cultures were. I arrive on a busy morning. Efeze’ bone-white ruins attract scores of tourists. They may be dressed in jeans and hats but I can’t help but imagine that this is what the city’s busy streets would have seemed like in the first century AD. At dusk, I return to my hotel after my time-travelling adventure. A guide book from the concierge helps me navigate the labyrinth of Ottoman and Roman history.

De volgende dag, Sirince (meaning ‘prettyin Turkish) awaits a visit. This tiny village perched atop a hill is a perfect synthesis of pre-1920 Turkic-Greek culture. The town is famous for olives. In werkelijkheid, the world’s oldest olive oil workshop is just 20 kilometres away in the fishing village of Urla, which dates back to 4000 BC. Aubergines, peppers, mulberry, pomegranate, figs, and pumpkin are also staples here.

On my last night in Izmir, my guide Gulgun promises a sensory treat. Like most things in Izmir, the restaurant she takes me to also has a backstory. Asansor (meaning elevator) is housed at the top of a 40-metre tower that was built in 1907. A local philanthropist funded the entire project because he wanted to connect Izmir’s downtown Halil Rifat Pasha district with the hillside Karatap area. The restaurant that sits on the hillside offers a stellar view of Izmir, and all the way down to the twinkling lights of boats on the Aegean.

Travel as you like

Izmir is about 560km from Istanbul. A drive down would take at least eight hours although the views are captivating. An easier option is to take a Turkish Airlines connecting flight from Istanbul to Izmir.

Must See Sites
The Konak pier in Izmir is more than 120 years old and offers great views of the sea. Ephesus and Sirince are good options to experience how the architecture and history of this region has evolved.

Where To Stay

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Izmir offers twin-occupancy with a sea view for Rs 7,429 een nacht, exclusief belastingen.

Despite its location in the Asian part of Turkey, Izmir’s cuisine has a distinctive European flavour. I order some grilled sea-bass and squid cooked in vine leaves. For that middleeastern flavour, I add some kofte. Each dish is light and fresh. For dessert the kitchen sends us an assortment of quintessential Turkish sweets- bakhlavas and lukums-in more varieties than you can possibly chew.

Izmir, like Turkey itself, is at the crossroads of civilisations. It is the east of the west and the west of the east, where culture, religion and mysticism gather and fuse into an elaborate tapestry. Mosques, synagogues and churches, thriving across the city, are testament to an atmosphere of tolerance. I pack many souvenirs-from bottles of olive oil and pomegranate extract, to little ‘evil eye’ sleutelhangers. I want to take back as much of this beautiful city with me as I can. Izmir, with its gentle gait and vivacious personality remains in my thoughts long after my flight has taken off.

Bailout Talks in Greece 'Cruciale,’ Premier Zegt

ATHENS—Greece faces the risk of a disorderly default in March if it doesn’t complete negotiations for the country’s second bailout starting this month, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said Wednesday.

In a copy of his comments made in meetings with employer and employee groups, De heer. Papademos said the coming weeks and months areexceptionally crucialfor the country as Greece needs to secure funding from European peers and the International Monetary Fund. Among the financial pressures the heavily indebted government faces are €14.5 billion ($18.9 miljard) of bonds expiring in March.

As a result of our actions and decisions in coming weeks, everything will be decided,” zei hij.

His comments are in line with stark warnings from other government officials stressing the gravity of talks with representatives from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank on Greece’s second bailout for €130 billion.

Details of the deal, which comes after a first €110 billion bailout in May 2010, remain unsettled, particularly a provision calling on creditor banks to write down a significant portion of their Greek government bondholdings.

Vroeger, labor-union leaders cited the prime minister as saying the Greek government appears to be nearing a deal with banks on a debt plan and developments are expected in the next 15 dagen.

Until this week, Greek officials have avoided raising the possibility of Greece leaving the euro zone and returning to its own currency, a process that could cripple the Greek economy and the country’s financial system.

Echter, the stakes are rising as Greece pushes the sensitive issue of reducing private-sector salaries, under pressure from creditors to quicken overhauls.

Private-sector labor union GSEE said the government has instructed it to start discussions with employers on ways to reduce costs.

GSEE General Secretary Nikolaos Kioutsikos said the talks will run until the start of February and cover lowering the minimum salary and reducing annual pay by as much as two months’ waard.

As Papademos told us, there are no barriers to these cuts,” Hij vertelde verslaggevers.

GSEE rejects any talk of pay cuts and will propose ways to lower other costs and protect jobs.

The IMF has been pressing Greece to move more aggressively in liberalizing its labor market and opening up private-sector professions that are now protected by a web of restrictions that curtail competitiveness.

According to the prime minister, significant changes are needed to help secure a positive review from creditors and the country can’t hope for a sustainable economic recovery without a boost to its competitiveness.

Greece’s cabinet is expected to convene Thursday and will discuss the deregulation of road transport industries affecting trucks and taxis.

Changes are also brewing on the country’s political landscape as former Prime Minister George Papandreou announced his intention Wednesday to step down from leading the Socialists and won’t be a candidate for prime minister at the country’s next elections, according to a party official.

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