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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-01-14

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, January 14, 1998


  • [01] Turk spy flights prompt Cyprus UN protest
  • [02] Denktash regime moves towards merger with Turkey
  • [03] Man shot in Paphos
  • [04] Government repeats claim of monthly talks after polls
  • [05] Who can best solve the Cyprus problem?
  • [06] Lyssarides rage at 'false whispers and slander'
  • [07] Lilles "imprisoned for one month starting today"
  • [08] Relatives 'suspicious' over information on missing
  • [09] Echinococcus threat from the north
  • [10] Turkish Cypriots held on suspicion of smuggling icons
  • [11] Ukrainian woman claims rape by Russian Greeks
  • [12] IBM dismissive of legal action over tender

  • [01] Turk spy flights prompt Cyprus UN protest

    By Martin Hellicar

    CYPRUS is to protest to the United Nations over violations of its airspace by Turkish air force spy planes, government spokesman Manolis Christofides said yesterday.

    Christofides confirmed that two Turkish RF-4 jets intruded into the Nicosia FIR (Flight Information region) and Cyprus air space on Monday morning. He said the Turkish spy planes had flown 14 nautical miles south of the Paphos air base and taken photographs of the site.

    "The appropriate representations are being made to international organisations," Christofides said at his daily press briefing in Nicosia.

    Defence Ministry sources said on Monday the Turkish RF-4s had flown over the Famagusta area and then along the southern coast, passing south of Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos before heading north.

    The same sources said two similar fighter jets again violated Cyprus airspace on Monday afternoon, flying over the occupied areas.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris reported yesterday that a "fleet" of Turkish air force F-16s had carried out training flights over the occupied areas, carrying out mock strikes against ground targets.

    The Turkish side has reacted angrily to President Clerides's announcement last week that the air base - intended for use by Greek air force jets as part of Cyprus's Common Defence Dogma with Greece - would be "ready for delivery" on January 24.

    Christofides confirmed yesterday that the base would be ready on that date.

    "When a base is ready, it is operational," he told journalists in reply to questions about the state of readiness of the base. The spokesman said the government would be "talking with Greece in the context of the defence dogma" about when the base would actually come into use.

    According to Turkish and Turkish Cypriot media reports yesterday, the Turkish side is planning an air base of its own on the island, as well as two naval bases, in response to the Paphos base.

    The Anatolian News Agency reported that once Greek fighter jets were stationed in Paphos, the Turkish side would permanently station planes at Lefkoniko, 30 km east of Nicosia in the occupied areas.

    Kibris also reported plans for upgrading the Lefkoniko airfield into a full military air base, saying it would be the "largest air base in the Middle East."

    Kibris said this was one of three options Turkish forces were considering in response to the Paphos base. The other two involved establishing naval bases at the occupied ports of Karavostasi, near Kyrenia, and Famagusta, the paper said.

    [02] Denktash regime moves towards merger with Turkey

    TURKEY and the occupied north of Cyprus yesterday agreed to merge their representations abroad in a step towards a promised integration of the two 'states', the Turkish Cypriot TAK news agency said.

    "Staff of the two states' foreign ministries will be interchangeable at every level and these staff can be posted to interior and exterior representations," it quoted a protocol signed by both sides in occupied Nicosia yesterday as saying.

    "In every international meeting in which Turkish Cypriots are denied a word, Turkish Cypriot representatives will be included in Turkish delegations," the protocol said.

    "Our main goal is to give the TRNC worldwide recognition and to let it take its rightful place in the international arena," Korkmaz Haktanir, a Turkish foreign ministry undersecretary, said at the signing ceremony, according to TAK.

    The European Union late last year invited the government of Cyprus to join the bloc, a decision Turkey and the occupation regime had warned they would meet with an accelerated process of integration.

    The occupation regime led by Rauf Denktash declared its statehood in 1983 but is recognised only by Ankara. It disputes the right of the internationally-recognised government in the south to negotiate membership on behalf of the whole island.

    Turkey has been arguing that the admission of Cyprus into the EU would amount to integration between Cyprus and Greece, already an EU member.

    "Co-operation between Turkish Cyprus and its greatest and only supporter Turkey will grow deeper in every area," TAK quoted Turkish Cypriot 'prime minister' Dervis Eroglu as saying after the signing ceremony.

    [03] Man shot in Paphos

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A MAN was in critical condition last night after being shot outside his Paphos home by unknown assailants.

    Paphos police launched an inquiry into an attempted murder shortly after the incident at Stavrokonnou in which George Choraitis, 27, was shot three times.

    Unconfirmed reports said the victim received injuries to the head and shoulder.

    According to preliminary inquiries Choraitis, a shepherd, was shot at close range with an automatic weapon soon after getting out of his car.

    It is understood that despite his injuries the father-of-two managed to reach his front door and raise the alarm.

    Choraitis was rushed to Paphos hospital where he underwent emergency surgery 45 minutes after the shooting at around 10.30pm.

    The police investigation is taking into consideration that Choraitis and his brother Antonio, 28, were arrested two weeks ago in connection with a fire at a farm belonging to Kyriacos Savva.

    Both were released due to lack of evidence.

    Paphos CID are continuing their investigation.

    [04] Government repeats claim of monthly talks after polls

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE UN will be calling the two sides in Cyprus to monthly "rounds" of talks after the February presidential elections, the government again claimed yesterday.

    The UN yesterday declined to comment on these statements. There has been no official statement from the UN concerning future plans for settlement talks.

    But Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has reportedly dismissed government suggestions settlement talks were to resume.

    "There will be six rounds of talks (before the end of the summer)," Government spokesman Manolis Christofides stated during his daily press briefing. In a television interview last week, President Clerides said that after the elections the UN would be calling him and Denktash to Geneva for face-to-face talks on a monthly basis.

    The main thrust of Clerides' re-election campaign is that the UN and world powers are preparing for a "big push" on the Cyprus problem after the elections, and that he is the man to steer the country to a viable settlement.

    Christofides restated the "big push" scenario yesterday in answer to attacks from Clerides' main rival for the elections, George Iacovou.

    Iacovou had stated that if he were elected he would cancel the order for Russian-made S-300 missiles. Iacovou claimed the missile order was jeopardising the settlement process. Turkey has threatened a pre-emptive strike against the ground-to-air missiles if they are deployed.

    Christofides refuted Iacovou's argument, re-stating the government position that the S-300 order would be cancelled "if there is a solution or an agreement for demilitarisation or developments reach such a stage where a solution seems imminent." The spokesman said there was a good chance of one of these provisos being met before the missiles were due to arrive.

    "The initiatives (for a settlement) will begin in March 1998, the S-300s will arrive after the summer of 1998; until then there is enough time for developments to show if they will lead to a solution or progress," he said. "In the next six months there can be developments," he added.

    The Turkish Daily News meanwhile quoted Denktash as dismissing reports of settlement talks resuming in Switzerland after the elections.

    Denktash repeated the talks had "died" when the EU decided to begin accession talks with the government in April, the Turkish Daily News reported.

    Denktash abandoned talks in Switzerland last Summer, stating he would only return to the negotiating table if the EU reversed its decision.

    [05] Who can best solve the Cyprus problem?

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    THE GOVERNMENT, fending off criticism from key opponents, said yesterday that President Clerides' expert handling had brought the Cyprus problem to its most decisive phase yet.

    The spirited defence of the President's policy by spokesman Manolis Christofides coincided with a fresh attack from Clerides' main rival George Iacovou, again on the Cyprus issue.

    Iacovou spoke of Clerides' dangerous views and said his own election to the presidency was a "national necessity."

    But Christofides hit back at the barrage of criticism, saying intensive talks were expected in the spring, with key players working actively for a settlement. Accession talks with the European Union would begin around the same period. Yet Akel and Iacovou were dismissing these developments and talking of regression, Christofides said.

    He took issue with Iacovou's remarks that his policy would be more combative and assertive, and that there would be a "cost" for UN Secretary- general Kofi Annan if there was no progress on the Cyprus issue.

    "More seriousness would not do any harm to the Akel candidate in his strategy on the Cyprus problem," the spokesman said.

    Yesterday's broadside was the latest round in a dogged fight between the government and opponents over Clerides' handling of the Cyprus problem. Akel and Iacovou have challenged the government's contention that critical developments are expected after February's elections. They argue Clerides has led the issue into an impasse and that there are no international initiatives in the offing.

    Iacovou yesterday again went on the attack. He criticised Clerides, saying the President had tried to put on a brave face, but was now being forced to admit that difficulties lay ahead, not least with issue of Turkish Cypriot participation in EU accession talks.

    Clerides' position on sovereignty, the rotating presidency and the settlers were dangerous, Iacovou said, and made his own election a national necessity.

    At his daily briefing, Christofides said the new circle of initiatives due to start in the spring would be held under the "sleepless eye of the UN Security Council, with strong solidarity from countries who have a role to play in efforts to push for a settlement."

    "Clerides' strategy on the Cyprus problem is linked to a collective effort to resolve it which involve the UN and particularly the Security Council and the Secretary General, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the Non- Aligned and some 16 special representatives of countries with special interest in the Cyprus problem."

    Christofides also listed the number of meetings of the National Council over the past five years - 22 in 1993, 16 in 1994, and 13 each for 1995, 1996 and 1997. The spokesman said the president considered this record "satisfactory both in terms of number of meetings and their content."

    Asked to comment on criticism from other opposition parties that the threat of partition was now looming, he said partition - "a permanent Turkish endeavour" - had been hanging over Cyprus ever since the start of the Cyprus problem in 1954, never stopped being a danger and was constantly on the horizon. But Clerides' policy had not increased the risk, he said, but rather minimised it as key players moved for a settlement.

    Asked what the government would do if Turkey went ahead with threats to integrate the occupied north, Christofides said this would violate international law and UN resolutions.

    "We expect the international community to take the protective measures for international law and order... Turkey cannot behave in an expansionist way and operate as a regional bully," he said.

    [06] Lyssarides rage at 'false whispers and slander'

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    A NEW war of words erupted yesterday between Edek and Akel, while Diko signalled dissenters could face disciplinary action if they did not toe the party line.

    Edek president Vassos Lyssarides turned his fire on Akel, accusing party officials and employees of waging a dirty war against his candidacy in February's presidential elections.

    Lyssarides said Edek voters were being approached and told to vote for George Iacovou - the independent candidate backed by Akel and Diko - from the first round.

    The Edek leader spoke of "false whispers and slander against him". He told CyBC radio the innuendo was that his egotistic insistence to be a candidate and the loss of his "biological abilities" were damaging Edek. This campaign was unethical and unacceptable, the party later said in a statement.

    Akel denied the charges. In a written statement it expressed regret at the "spirit and content" of Lyssarides' statement, saying it never used "false whispers or slander." Akel went further, telling Lyssarides it was time to turn his fire on the main issue - how to rid Cyprus of a Clerides and the Disy administration, and not how to hurt Iacovou and Akel or to return to useless debates on who was to blame for the collapse of the Coalition of Hope last summer.

    "Let's all help so that the expiry date of the outgoing government is February 1998," it said.

    There was action too in the Diko camp. General secretary Stathis Kittis indicated dissenters Alexis Galanos, Dinos Michaelides, Katerina Pantelidou and Petros Voskarides could face disciplinary action if their response to a Diko call asking them to abide by the party's decision to back George Iacovou was not considered satisfactory. The four have until tomorrow to respond.

    On Galanos, the former Diko vice president who is contesting the elections as a rebel Diko candidate, Kittis said the Famagusta deputy should vacate his parliamentary seat because his action ran against the party's own choice of candidate.

    Galanos' candidacy and his claim he was the party's candidate only created confusion among Diko members, he added.

    But Galanos, responding in writing to Diko, said it was the party that should reconsider its decision to back Iacovou, a decision he said only led to a loss of party strength. The former House president also said that irrespective of whether Diko decided to expel him he would continue to work for a stronger centre.

    [07] Lilles "imprisoned for one month starting today"

    A GREEK national arrested by Turkish forces after he crossed to the occupied areas last month was yesterday sentenced to a month's imprisonment by a military 'court' in the north.

    UN spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said 24-year-old Spyros Lilles had been "imprisoned for one month starting today."

    Rokoszewski said the charge Lilles was convicted of was "illegal entry into a military area."

    Lilles, originally from Larissa in northern Greece but resident on the island, wandered into the occupied areas in the early hours of December 21. It is understood Lilles, a salesman, was in a state of drunkenness when he entered the buffer zone in the Ayios Pavlos suburb of Nicosia.

    On Monday, a second Greek national arrested by Turkish forces after crossing into the occupied areas was remanded for eight days by a military 'court'.

    The UN says 32-year-old George Constantinou Kantarakis from the Greek island of Santorini has stated he does not wish to return to the government controlled areas.

    Kantarakis walked into the buffer zone in the Kaimakli suburb of Nicosia on January 8. Kantarakis has refused to undergo an examination by a UN doctor, but Rokoszewski has said he is in "good shape".

    [08] Relatives 'suspicious' over information on missing

    By Aline Davidian

    REPRESENTATIVES of relatives of the missing were yesterday sceptical about the value of information on Greek Cypriot missing persons recently handed to the UN by the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Human Affairs Officer Takis Christopoulos, who met yesterday with the representatives, briefed them on the information given concerning the remains of some 400 out of 1,619 missing persons.

    But the president of the Pan-Cyprian Relatives of the Missing Committee, Nicos Theodosiou, said the committee viewed the information given to UN permanent representative Gustave Feissel with "suspicion", due to bad experiences in the past.

    He said the validity of the information would first have to be weighed up, as "it might concern Turkish and Turkish Cypriot dead" as well as those from the Greek Cypriot side.

    Both Theodosiou and the president of the National Struggle for Missing Persons committee, Economos Christoforou, called on UN Secretary general Kofi Annan to restore the tripartite nature of the Committee for Missing Persons (CMP) by appointing a third UN member.

    The last UN appointed member resigned almost two years ago; Annan has said he will not appoint a replacement until progress is made on the issue of the missing.

    Christoforou also called for the UN to send two scientists to Cyprus "to continue investigations about missing persons" not included in the information exchange.

    "We are not going to proceed any further if the Secretary-general's promise (to appoint a UN member to the CMP) does not materialise," said Christoforou.

    Asked to comment on reports that the information supplied to Feissel did not include names, Theodosiou replied it was "too early to speak of names".

    "Can you imagine how upsetting for relatives it is, hearing about figures, let alone names?" he asked; "we are very far from being able to carry out burial of remains," he added.

    He said the committees were not prepared to accept any location as the site of a mass grave for missing persons without scientific proof.

    The exchange of information on missing persons was agreed at a meeting between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash last July.

    The Greek Cypriot last year handed in files on 200 out of 803 Turkish Cypriots, missing since inter-communal clashes in the 1960s.

    Feissel said on Tuesday the exchange would occur "in the coming days" after the return of Rustem Tatar, the Turkish Cypriots' representative on the issue.

    Tatar is currently abroad for personal reasons and will be returning next week.

    [09] Echinococcus threat from the north

    By Aline Davidian

    THE FREE areas face a serious danger from the inadequate control of the echinococcus bacterium in the occupied areas, Agriculture Minister Andreas Mantovani said yesterday.

    Speaking at a news conference on the work of the pioneer Echinococcus Prevention programme, Mantovani said the scheme would receive 2.5 million in government funding.

    During 1997, said Mantovani, 739,941 slaughter houses were inspected, 13, 073 infected dogs were treated, and parasitological examination of fox corpses undertaken.

    "Echinococcus is a human parasite with serious consequences on public and animal hygiene and animal rearing," the minister said, adding that the only effective treatment for humans was by surgically removing the bacterial cysts.

    He pointed out that humans became carriers of the parasite after "direct contact" with infected dogs, or by eating vegetables or drinking water soiled by the dogs' faeces.

    Stray dogs from the occupied areas posed particular problems, he said, and medicated bait was now being deposited in the buffer zone in the hope of treating them.

    "Measures taken to reduce the problem in the occupied areas are inconsistent, sporadic and without effect," said Mantovani, adding that aid had also been enlisted from Unficyp members who shoot "dangerous dogs".

    Mantovani said the Ministry was co-operating with scientists from the universities of Cambridge, Salford, Zurich and Salonica to boost its anti- echinococcus programme.

    [10] Turkish Cypriots held on suspicion of smuggling icons

    TWO TURKISH Cypriots are in police custody suspected of smuggling icons from the occupied areas.

    Larnaca police said yesterday they stopped 22-year-old Ali Tzian for driving a car with Turkish Cypriot number plates and found 14 pictures of icons in his possession.

    The pictures represented icons believed to have been stolen from churches in the north.

    Passenger, Hal Kaldemir, 22, was also arrested and detained.

    Larnaca police are continuing their investigation.

    [11] Ukrainian woman claims rape by Russian Greeks

    A 20-YEAR-OLD Ukrainian woman has told police she was raped by three Russian Greeks in Limassol.

    According to police, the young woman claims she was taken to a quiet spot outside Limassol last Sunday and forced to have sex.

    Following the woman's statement, police yesterday arrested 20-year-old Kristodel Silof from Georgia.

    He told police he had gone for a drive with the Ukrainian, but claimed he had no sexual contact with her. However, Silof added that two other Russians in the car at the time did have sex with the woman, though with her consent.

    Limassol CID have issued arrest warrants for brothers Kyriak and Charalambos Tsilof.

    [12] IBM dismissive of legal action over tender

    By Aline Davidian

    LEADING computer manufacturer IBM dismissed yesterday as "unfounded" the suit filed against it by GCC, a Nicosia-based computer company.

    GCC filed a suit on December 15, claiming IBM and its local partner ITS had illegally conspired to obtain details of GCC's offer for a Cyprus Telecommunications (Cyta) tender a day before its submission. This had allegedly allowed IBM to drop its own offer prices to 10 per cent below those of GCC, thereby securing the tender.

    IBM general manager Nicos Stephanides yesterday described the allegations as "myths", saying GCC's suit was "unfounded".

    "We reject these charges completely - it's not a serious case," he said, adding such action "would not be within the business practices of IBM".

    He stressed this was not the first time IBM had won Cyta competitions for providing computer software; the company was also awarded a similar tender two years ago, and "always participated in Cyta competitions".

    Responding to allegations by GCC general manager George Constantinou that IBM and ITS employees had approached a GCC sales secretary to procure the offer, Stephanides said no such thing had happened.

    "We have never had access or any information concerning the prices of Cyta, " he added.

    GCC is suing IBM and ITS for over 300,000; Constantinou has said the case would go also to the Government Competition Protection department, as well as its European Union equivalent.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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