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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-10-30

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 30, 1997


  • [01] Massive demand for Apostolos Andreas pilgrimage
  • [02] Turks claim alleged smugglers tortured
  • [03] 'US only cares about Nato'
  • [04] Turkey must be more constructive, Britain warns
  • [05] Muratov slams Turkey's 'meddling'
  • [06] Cassoulides: no concessions which will undermine security
  • [07] Disy MP seeks to revive language bill
  • [08] Diko-Edek alliance mooted
  • [09] A million cigarettes in a field
  • [10] Refugees to be reimbursed for pre-war loans?
  • [11] Postmen threaten more action
  • [12] Jailed brothers end bases hunger strike
  • [13] Extradition bid for Turkish icon suspect
  • [14] Fake 20 note warning
  • [15] Austrian tourist drowns
  • [16] Social workers' strike called off
  • [17] Sealed tomb found
  • [18] Cyprus-flagged ships top British detentions
  • [19] Selling the service industry to eastern Europe
  • [20] Wine and sewage in Limassol

  • [01] Massive demand for Apostolos Andreas pilgrimage

    By Jean Christou

    OVER 10,000 people have applied for only 600 places on the forthcoming visit to Apostolos Andreas Monastery in occupied Karpasia.

    Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos said yesterday the response for places on the visit, the deadline for which is today, was "unprecedented".

    Christopoulos said the last time the visit took place on August 15 they had received 2,500 applications for the same number of places, but had given priority to relatives of the enclaved.

    He said his office must now decide who from the 10,000 applicants would cross to the monastery on November 30, the Saint's feast day, one of the most important dates in the Greek Orthodox calendar.

    Christopoulos described the task which awaits his office as "gigantic" and added he was personally stunned by the number of applications.

    He said, however, that priority would be given to the elderly, the sick, children with incurable diseases and their parents as well as refugees from the Karpass.

    Around six Greek Cypriots living in Britain, Zimbabwe and Australia and three priests will be included in the number allowed to go. The final list will be ready a few days before the crossing date, Christopoulos said.

    Commenting on the huge numbers applying to cross, UN spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said that in the previous pilgrimage the number who had finally made the trip was more than 600.

    "I think this will be the case this time as well," he said, but stressed that the figure was unlikely to run into thousands.

    Rokoszewski stressed that the final number would depend on the co-operation of the Turkish Cypriot side. The November 30 visit will only be the second such pilgrimage since 1974.

    In all, 619 people plus 47 Greek Cypriot UN employees made the 150- kilometre trip by bus on August 15.

    That trip was allowed by the Turkish side in return for some 400 Turkish Cypriots being allowed to visit the Kokkina enclave earlier in August.

    Earlier in the year, some 500 Turkish Cypriots from the occupied areas made a pilgrimage to the Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca, one of Islam's holiest shrines.

    [02] Turks claim alleged smugglers tortured

    By Jean Christou

    UNFICYP yesterday refused to confirm accusations by the sister of an alleged Turkish Cypriot smuggler that her brother had been tortured in police custody here.

    All of yesterday's Turkish Cypriot newspapers reported Emine Ozemre, sister of Ozman Kondoz, as saying that she feared for her brother's life.

    Kondoz 41, a shepherd, and butcher Mustafa Veli, 33, both from Louroujina, were arrested last Thursday after a sting operation involving Greek Cypriot police officers.

    Police allegedly found a pistol and 19 bullets in their possession at the time of their arrest. The two men are currently on remand.

    Kondoz's sister Ozemre, however, alleges that the two men only gave statements to police after being forced and beaten.

    She said she had visited her brother in the company of her lawyers and had found him with one of his eyes black; he had also apparently complained of pain in his ears, while Mustafa Veli's arm was hurt. "Both men had been tortured to make them talk," Ozemre said.

    The papers also said that Unficyp Chief of Mission Gustave Feissel had been "summoned" to the 'Foreign and Defence Ministry' where 'Minister' Taner Etkin told him the arrest was a frame up and had been planned by Greek Cypriot police much earlier. Etkin reportedly demanded the UN do something about the arrests.

    However, UN sources told the Cyprus Mail yesterday they "could not confirm the allegations made by the sister of the detainee".

    The sources said Unficyp medical personnel visited the two men last Friday at the time of their arrest and again this week.

    The sources hinted that the suspects may have suffered "cuts and bruises" in the course of their arrest.

    "But their physical state did not change at all between Friday and Tuesday, " the sources said.

    The Turkish Cypriot side said the two men were "abducted" by Greek Cypriot police and is calling for their immediate release.

    Four Greek Cypriots have also been remanded in connection with the smuggling allegations.

    They were arrested on Sunday after police took statements from the two Turkish Cypriots.

    Police claim the four were named by the Turkish Cypriots as their accomplices in the free areas.

    The 'Human Rights' organisation in the north has called for the complete closing of the 'border' if the two Turkish Cypriots are not freed before November 15.

    [03] 'US only cares about Nato'

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is to have a second meeting today in Washington with US Presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke.

    Following the meeting between the two men in the US on Monday, Denktash said the Turkish side would not allow the Greek Cypriots to achieve through negotiations "what they had failed to do by force of arms."

    Speaking to the press, Denktash said he told Holbrooke the timing was wrong for a solution now and that nothing much could be accomplished before the 1998 Presidential elections in the government-controlled areas.

    They think that "if both sides move a little, or approach one another with some understanding, the issues would be solved, opening the road to the EU for Turkey," Denktash said.

    He said Holbrooke had suggested the Turkish Cypriots join the Greek Cypriots at the table in the EU accession negotiations without them relinquishing the 'TRNC' claim and without expecting the government to relinquish its status as the recognised government of Cyprus.

    Holbrooke reportedly said this strategy would also help Turkey to get closer to its dream of joining the EU.

    But Denktash said if the EU took its final decision on accession talks on December 12 then "we will have the decision we took with Turkey." He was referring to the joint declarations for partial integration signed between Turkey and the occupation regime in January and June this year.

    Denktash accused the US of implying the stance of the Turkish Cypriots could undermine Turkey's chances of join the EU.

    "If we are flexible we will be helping Turkey, that's their approach," Denktash said. "That's very interesting because... Germany does not want Turkey to be invited even to the European Conference."

    He said Turkey has two options: "dilute its rights over Cyprus, even relinquish them and hope to be admitted to the EU," or support "the right of the Turkish Cypriots to exist".

    "I don't think Turkey will attempt to enter the EU by sacrificing Cyprus. I don't project that it will play a game like that. The game will remain as a game and they won't be able to get anything," Denktash said.

    Commenting on questions relating to an alleged pressure campaign against Turkey to solve the Cyprus problem, Denktash said: "They said that I feel like I'm punched in the guts. We declared the opposite at lunch (with Holbrooke). The ones who are on the outside say 'it will be very good for you'. We can't accept this."

    Denktash suggested America was only paying attention to the Cyprus problem because it created tension between Nato allies Turkey and Greece. "Otherwise they would not try to solve it," he said.

    "I expected nothing when I came to Washington. I came here to say our last word so they wouldn't think we were bluffing."

    [04] Turkey must be more constructive, Britain warns

    TURKEY must adopt a more constructive approach toward the Cyprus problem if it is to join the European Union, according to British Foreign and Commonwealth office Secretary of State, Douglas Henderson.

    Henderson was answering questions on Cyprus in the House of Commons yesterday. He outlined the British position by calling on all sides involved to avoid tension, and hoped progress for a settlement would be made by next spring.

    Henderson expressed disappointment that there had been little progress during peace talks held between the two sides in New York and Montreux this summer.

    "All people of Cyprus will benefit as a result of a solution, and anything which causes tension and puts obstacles are to be condemned" he stated.

    He stressed that Turkey had to be constructive in its relations with Greece and the northern occupied area of Cyprus, if it wanted "to be part of the European family". So far, Turkey had refuse to negotiate unless the EU withheld its decision to start accession talks with Cyprus early next year.

    It was also announced in the Commons that British special envoy on the Cyprus issue, Sir David Hannay, is to be the special EU representative for Cyprus during Britain's EU presidency. The country's six-month presidency would see Cypriot accession talks moved forward "as fast as possible".

    [05] Muratov slams Turkey's 'meddling'

    TURKEY'S opposition to Cyprus' purchase of S-300 missiles from Russia is aimed at creating tension between East and West, Russian Ambassador Georgi Muratov said yesterday.

    Speaking at a press conference in Nicosia, the Ambassador said Turkey was attempting to turn the issue into a "confrontation" between East and West. He stressed, however, that for "Russia the cold war era is over," and added that Russia and Cyprus were sovereign states and as such "have every right to come to bilateral agreements, including the one on the S-300s."

    Referring to the Turkish military's letter to Nato complaining about Greece's backing for the missile deal, Muratov said "no third country has a right to meddle in other countries' bilateral relations".

    The missiles are due to be deployed on the island next year. President Glafcos Clerides has stressed that the system is being deployed for defence purposes only and has said that the deal will be called off only if progress is made in efforts to solve the Cyprus Problem.

    [06] Cassoulides: no concessions which will undermine security

    THE government will stand firm over its position on human rights, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said on Tuesday.

    Speaking at a gathering in London to celebrate October 28, Cassoulides said the government rejected "any recipe to compromise which is irreconcilable with its views," and added that no concessions would be made which would undermine the future security of Cyprus.

    Earlier, speaking on London Greek Radio, he had expressed satisfaction over the results of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held in Edinburgh, adding that the government was pleased with British positions on Cyprus, particularly those regarding the island's EU accession.

    Cassoulides was referring to statements made to the Cyprus News Agency by Tony Blair in which the British premier described the need for a Cyprus settlement as "important" in light of the accession talks and pledged the intensification of British efforts on the island's behalf.

    [07] Disy MP seeks to revive language bill

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    SHOPS signs, window displays and company nameplates displayed in public will have by law also to carry Greek inscriptions if a Disy deputy has his way.

    The proposal - submitted by Antonis Karras - is a revival of an earlier failed attempt by former Diko deputy Rina Catselli to impose compulsory use of one of the two official languages - Greek and Turkish - on shop signs and placards, and company name plates which are displayed in a public place.

    Parallel use of a foreign language will not be prohibited - but the lettering cannot be bigger than the Greek or Turkish version.

    Catselli's two bills secured the approval of the House Interior Committee three years ago, but stumbled in the plenary which sent them back to committee for reconsideration. Nothing was done.

    Karras told the House Interior Committee yesterday that he had decided to revive Catselli's proposal in line with the 1994 decision of the House plenary.

    He and other deputy members of the committee agreed not to launch another in-depth study of the proposal but to put it to the committee for a decision in a fortnight and then refer it to the plenary for a final vote.

    There was no discussion yesterday. But in the explanatory reports and other documentation accompanying the two proposals, Karras did not mince his words.

    In a letter to House president Spyros Kyprianou raising the issue of Catselli's two bills, he spoke of the "the unacceptable and demeaning... language situation which has been created over the past decades on our island from the uncontrolled and excessive use of English in practically all sectors of public and private life."

    Karras noted that despite legislation to the contrary, some government departments continued to use English.

    "We believe that approval of the two bills will contribute significantly to the defence and strengthening of our mother language, a necessary and self- evident element in the struggle of Cypriot Hellenism for national survival."

    Karras tabled two bills. Under the first shop signs, window displays and other advertising banners and placards must also bear one of the two official languages of the Republic in letters no smaller than the foreign language used.

    Local authorities will have to implement the law in issuing licences to put up banners - thus allowing a gradual transition, he said.

    The second bill covers shop signs, company nameplates and any other signs on services or goods displayed to the public. Use of a foreign language is permitted but it must come second, and the lettering cannot be larger than the Greek or Turkish versions. Failure to abide by the provision will carry a 1,000 fine.

    In the explanatory report accompanying the bill, Karras said that foreign language, particularly English, signs were dominant in Cyprus - something he said weakened the integrity of the state.

    And he said his proposal, if adopted, would not be anti-commercial or damage tourism.

    "Just as Cypriots when they travel like to see different signs in the local language, foreign tourists who visit Cyprus and see signs in one of the official languages of the Republic will feel the same, especially when the first is the natural evolution of the language and the writing of Homer and classical Greece," he said.

    [08] Diko-Edek alliance mooted

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DIKO deputy Nicos Moushiouttas yesterday opened the door for an election alliance with Edek.

    As the behind-the-scenes election manoeuvring continues, the deputy called on his party and Edek to forge a partnership which would catapult their approved candidate to the front of the queue.

    Moushiouttas said publicly yesterday that a Diko-Edek partnership would be a most "natural alliance" and called on both party leaders to enter negotiations.

    As Edek's Vassos Lyssarides and Diko's Spyros Kyprianou both have presidential aspirations, Moushiouttas said a series of opinion polls should be conducted to discover who has the better chance.

    He said the one who gained most support in the opinion polls should be approved by both parties - apparently a thinly-veiled message to Edek to get behind Spyros Kyprianou to help stave off the challenge from Akel's candidate George Iacovou.

    But Edek were not convinced with Diko's move to conquer the "middle ground".

    The party's second-in-command Yiannakis Omirou rejected the Moushiouttas proposal, saying Lyssarides was Edek's approved election candidate.

    Moushiouttas said he was only trying to kick-start the joint initiative, but said it was up to officials of the two parties to take it further.

    [09] A million cigarettes in a field

    LIMASSOL CID are baffled by the discovery of over 6,000 cartons of American brand cigarettes in a field near Pano Polemidia.

    Police and customs investigations are concentrating on the container area of Limassol port to check whether cigarettes were stolen from one of the 500 containers holding tobacco products.

    Police believe the 6,150 cartons - 1,230,000 cigarettes in all - valued at over 60,000 were destined for re-export and originated from Russia.

    The huge stash abandoned in 123 boxes in an open field on Tuesday night could have been destined for the occupied areas, police said yesterday.

    [10] Refugees to be reimbursed for pre-war loans?

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    REFUGEES who have paid back some 7 million for loans taken out before 1974 may be reimbursed under a proposal discussed in the House Refugees Committee yesterday.

    But the bill could stumble. The Attorney-general's office says the proposal may be unconstitutional. Banks point to the technical difficulties of finding and going through old records to verify claims.

    Akel, which drafted the bill, said it was a necessary follow-up to an earlier government decision to write off refugees' pre-1974 debts to commercial banks and co-operative societies.

    But some refugees had already paid off their debts and the new proposal would help redress the injustice, he said. Banks and co-operative societies would pay back the money, and be compensated in turn through tax or other incentives.

    There was no firm word on how much money is at stake, but the committee heard estimates of between seven and ten million pounds.

    The Attorney-general's office warned the bill may be unconstitutional because it would entail a cost to public coffers. And it said that the bill did not cover those refugees who had owed money to private individuals and had paid it back.

    Christos Artemiou, chairman of PEP - the Cyprus Refugees' Committee - urged banks to show the same sensitivity they had demonstrated when the proposal to write off refugees' loans had first been floated.

    The Finance Ministry's Andreas Chimarides said the whole issue was complex. Giving banks tax breaks in return for reimbursing refugees carried a cost for the state - state revenue would fall and the deficit would rise, he told refugees.

    Co-operative credit societies said they were ready to co-operate. But they said that tax breaks would not cover them, thus the need for authorities to find some other way to compensate them.

    Commercial banks asked for time to consider the proposal. But they said there could be technical difficulties - not least the possibility that some records may be lost.

    [11] Postmen threaten more action

    By Aline Davidian

    Striking postmen yesterday (Photo: Christos Theodorides) STRIKING postal workers yesterday issued a stark warning to the Finance Ministry, saying it would be responsible for the chaos generated if it failed to institute a five-day week.The warning came as hourly-paid postal workers - mostly responsible for delivery - observed a 24-hour strike to demand a five-day week. A trial five-day week was implemented during July and August, with the Finance Ministry's blessing, said Petros Theophanous, General Secretary of the Workers Union (Sek), but had since been discontinued.

    "Unfortunately," said Theophanous, "the Finance Ministry refuses to continue solving the problem."

    He added that the July-August trial period had not increased government expenditure, as confirmed at the time in meetings with the Ministry.

    But the director of Postal Services, Vassos Vassiliou, said there never had been an agreement to implement a five-day week beyond the trial period. What had occurred in July and August had been merely "a gesture of good will on the part of the Ministry," he said.

    Vassiliou added that the financial consequences of the trial had not yet been calculated. The trial period in any case was not a good representation of the long-term effects of the five-day week.

    He stated, however, that if implemented on a permanent basis, the scheme would lessen the competitiveness of the postal services. Consequently this would require increased financial support.

    Theophanous disputed this, saying that mail to be delivered on Saturday was usually distributed by postmen on Friday afternoon. This meant that competitiveness would not be affected if Saturday was no longer a working day.

    Theophanous did not rule out a further 48-hour or indefinite strike, should the strikers' demands not be met.

    No dialogue between the Ministry and the postal workers took place during the strike.

    [12] Jailed brothers end bases hunger strike

    TWO Greek Cypriot brothers who were jailed by the British bases last week have given up their hunger strike, a bases spokesman said yesterday.

    Trachoni residents Angelos and Nicos Panaretou were jailed for six and nine months respectively on nearly 20 counts, including assault, malicious damage and illegally constructing a building without a permit.

    When they were jailed, the two brothers began refusing food and continued to decline to eat over the weekend, a bases spokesman said.

    But by Monday evening, he added, they had begun accepting food again.

    The bases spokesman could not confirm whether the brothers had filed an appeal against their sentence. They have a 10-day deadline to do so.

    [13] Extradition bid for Turkish icon suspect

    POLICE yesterday confirmed that procedures have started to extradite Turkish "archaeologist" Dikman Aydin to Cyprus.

    Aydin was arrested in Munich earlier this month after priceless religious art treasures stolen from the occupied areas after 1974 were found hidden in a Munich apartment block.

    Police sources in Nicosia said yesterday that "efforts are being made for the extradition of the Turkish man involved."

    The art treasures were found on October 10 after a lengthy police operation jointly carried out by Interpol, German and Cypriot police. Icons and mosaics were found in 14 boxes hidden behind false walls and floors in two apartments occupied by Aydin.

    A subsequent search revealed a further 15 boxes and suitcases stuffed with art treasures hidden elsewhere in the block.

    If convicted, Aydin could face up to 15 years in prison.

    [14] Fake 20 note warning

    POLICE warned the public yesterday that a fresh batch of fake 20 notes are circulating in Limassol and Nicosia.

    A 30-year-old Arab man is suspected of spending ten fake 20 notes in shops and kiosks on the island.

    Police said the counterfeit notes are easily spotted because - among other defects - they do not have the silver security strip or a watermark.

    [15] Austrian tourist drowns

    THE DEATH of an Austrian tourist has brought the number of drownings to 13 this year, police sources said yesterday.

    Police said yesterday that 76-year-old Ludwig Mousman died on Tuesday when he lost consciousness and drowned whilst swimming in the sea off Paphos.

    Mousman was pulled to shore by other swimmers but attempts to revive him failed. He was taken to Paphos General Hospital where his death was confirmed. According to his wife, Mousman had heart and blood pressure complications.

    [16] Social workers' strike called off

    THE GENERAL Assembly of the Employee branch of the Department for Social Services last night called off a 24-hour strike due to have taken place today to protest 35 vacancies in personnel which had not been filled.

    An emergency meeting of the Assembly, attended also by representatives of public service union Pasydy, decided that alternatives to striking would be sought to address the problem.

    The shortages have placed great pressure on staff, who have had to bear an increased work-load.

    The Administrative Council of the Employee branch will meet with Pasydy members today to discuss what new steps to take.

    [17] Sealed tomb found

    A COLLECTION of human bones, gold-leaf and ancient pottery were found yesterday near the village of Mitsero, in a sealed tomb dating from the Roman period.

    There are remains of several ancient settlements in the area, due to the region's rich source of metals.

    Mitsero village inhabitants had found ancient tombs in the past, but these had all been broken into. The Roman tomb found yesterday was the only one found so far to be still sealed. It was found by accident when a road between two plots of land was being dug.

    Examination of the tomb and its contents will continue today.

    [18] Cyprus-flagged ships top British detentions

    MORE Cypriot-registered vessels than those of any other country were under detention by Marine Safety Officials at British Ports last month.

    Four Cypriot-flagged container ships - the Konstantina K, Glafcos, Crisul Alb and Amaradia - were detained after failing safety inspections.

    A total of 30 vessels were detained during the month or were still in detention after being previously seized. Malta, St Vincent and Grenadines, and Belize had three ships detained each.

    [19] Selling the service industry to eastern Europe

    CZECH and Hungarian businessmen are soon to be updated on the state of the Cypriot services and industrial sectors.

    A delegation of Cypriot industrialists will travel to the two countries from November 2 to 8, in a bid to secure new customers.

    The business mission is being organised by the Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEV) and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.

    According to OEV sources, mainly non-traditional services will be promoted, such as management, information-technology consultancies and legal services.

    [20] Wine and sewage in Limassol

    FOR 90 per cent of those who visit the Limassol wine festival, once was enough.

    This is according to independent research commissioned by the Limassol municipality for its prestigious festival.

    A poll conducted by Cypronetwork has discovered that nine out of ten wine festival visitors only attend the event once during the week-long party.

    But all 400 asked said this year's wine festival was one of the best ever and a majority said the festival should keep its traditional roots.

    Suggestions on improvements included better quality food and more music events.

    The seven per cent who had a good moan cited bad smells, lack of parking and too many wine stalls causing confusion.

    The same company also conducted research for the Limassol sewage board and found out that a majority of those asked thought the inconvenience caused by sewage construction was worth the end product.

    © Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail

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