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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-01-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Friday, January 23, 1998

CONTENTS

  • [01] Boycott Britain, says Denktash
  • [02] Defence dogma takes centre stage
  • [03] Clerides and the twelve ministers
  • [04] Police appointments 'were not political'
  • [05] Akamas villagers in poll boycott protest
  • [06] Don't stand in the way of EU membership
  • [07] Turkish Cypriot lawyer claims trap in smuggling case
  • [08] Prosecutors challenge ruling on Aeroporos evidence
  • [09] Bomb blast in Pallouriotissa
  • [10] Turkish gamblers expected to flood occupied areas
  • [11] Mideast churches gather in Nicosia
  • [12] Russian woman dies of hepatitis
  • [13] Coffee prices will not rise
  • [14] UN appoints new member to Committee for Missing Persons
  • [15] Blast outside Bases police station

  • [01] Boycott Britain, says Denktash

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot officials appear confused over whether Britain's visa restrictions are a blessing or a curse.

    While Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is calling on his people to boycott Britain, 'Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu believes the British decision a week ago could be a sign that the 'TRNC' is "beginning to be recognised as a state and an entity" - an interpretation dismissed out of hand by the British High Commission.

    Eroglu's statements also contradict those of 'Foreign Minister' Taner Etkin, who echoed Denktash in accusing the British government of discrimination.

    In a written statement, the Turkish Cypriot leader urged people not to visit Britain until the visa demand was dropped, "unless there is a vital reason".

    Denktash himself cancelled two planned visits to the UK in protest over what he termed "this punishment".

    He also slammed the Greek Cypriot side for allegedly suggesting that Turkish Cypriots obtain Cyprus Republic passports to overcome the visa requirement.

    "This is not out of love for us," Denktash said. "They will point to the passports and claim that the Turkish Cypriots also recognise them as their government and are their loyal subjects." He added to was so obvious that no one would be taken in by this "trick".

    Denktash on Tuesday said he would refuse to see Britain's special Cyprus envoy Sir David Hannay unless his government lifted visa restrictions.

    "If Sir David wants to contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus problem, he should remove this injustice," Denktash was quoted as saying yesterday.

    "They may pile on more punishments, but we will still not recognise the Greek Cypriots as the government."

    Britain said it was withdrawing the right of people from the occupied areas to enter the UK without a visa after processing almost 1,000 bogus asylum claims over the past two years.

    A British High Commission spokesman in Nicosia said the decision was not a political one and was only taken on immigration grounds.

    [02] Defence dogma takes centre stage

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    DEFENCE turned into an election issue yesterday as the government blasted presidential candidate George Iacovou over his comments on the joint defence dogma with Greece.

    Spokesman Manolis Christofides went on the attack accusing Akel and Iacovou of "playing with the joint defence dogma during the election period."

    The Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance fully covered the defence dogma; any reference to the need for a special pact or agreement was unnecessary, he added.

    Earlier Iacovou told CyBC radio the defence dogma was very important and that there should therefore be a framework to how decisions were taken. Crucial issues should not be left up to verbal agreements, and this was something to take up with the Greek government, he added.

    Iacovou said he was not talking about a bilateral defence agreement between Cyprus and Greece, but a "framework" which he said apparently did not exist. This could take the form of an exchange of letters or an additional protocol to the Treaty of Guarantee.

    The spokesman rejected these views. "The dogma does have a framework. The strange insistence of some on the need for a framework for the dogma with obscure, dark excuses raises questions as to their true intentions," he said.

    The Paphos airbase will be handed over to the National Guard tomorrow, he reminded. "Greece has guaranteed the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus... and within the context of this base Greece will have the facilities of a guarantor power which will allow it to fulfil the responsibilities it undertook with the Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance," he said.

    Asked to comment on Iacovou's queries as to how the joint defence dogma would actually operate, the spokesman said such details could not be discussed in public.

    "The dogma is a reality. There are Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance and they set out obligations and rights. Since these operate, the internal operational means of the dogma cannot be announced. But it is clear they exist and operate," he said.

    He was pressed on whether a framework or a bilateral agreement had been mooted in Greece, but not adopted.

    "From the moment you have the Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance signed by three or more there is no reason to make other agreements to create other impressions and other situations. The guarantees are clear, the Treaty of Alliance is clear; they are more than adequate for all purposes... there is no need for other laws, or protocols or documents."

    Edek president Vassos Lyssarides spoke in a similar vein. He told CyBC radio Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos felt a bilateral agreement or framework was unnecessary and could lead to something different.

    For his part independent candidate Alexis Galanos also opposed the idea of a framework, adding that he feared the whole debate aimed to play down the significance of the dogma.

    [03] Clerides and the twelve ministers

    PRESIDENT Clerides' re-election campaign has been boosted by the high- profile backing of 12 former government ministers.

    Twelve ministers who served under presidents Clerides, Kyprianou and Archbishop Makarios have signed a public declaration backing the present incumbent.

    The twelve said that, at such a critical point in the island's history, the electorate should vote for Clerides so he could continue his achievements where he had left off.

    With EU accession talks imminent and the international community ready for a major push towards a solution, not voting for Clerides would be catastrophic and would result in isolation, the ex-ministers said.

    "As former senior officials of the state, we feel the need to declare our position publicly and call on the Cypriot people to give President Clerides the chance to complete his work founded on so much success," the declaration said.

    Though it's no surprise that five ministers who served under Clerides should support his re-election, the real boost comes from the backing of two Kyprianou ministers and six from the Makarios administration.

    The five Clerides ministers are: Phaedros Economides (finance), Alecos Evangelou (justice), Claire Angelidou (education) and Adamos Adamides (communications).

    The six Makarios ministers are: Andreas Papadopoulos (communications), Frixos Petrides (education), Panayiotis Toumazis (agriculture), Chrysostomos Sofianos (education) and Antonio Pierides (commerce).

    The two Kyprianou ministers are: Simos Vassiliou (finance) and Petros Stylianou (interior).

    [04] Police appointments 'were not political'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE POLICE yesterday rejected any suggestion of wrongdoing in its decision to recruit 86 special constables on the eve of the election.

    Police chief Panicos Hadjiloizou and Justice Minister Nicos Koshis were hauled before a special House sub-committee to defend the recruitments.

    Akel and Diko deputies questioned their decision to hire "emergency" constables at a time when their recruitment could be seen as politically influenced.

    Akel deputy Andreas Christou claimed the criteria used for the 86 were political, as they had not been selected from the approved register of special constables.

    But the police chief denied that any ulterior motives had been involved in what he said was the completely legal procedure of recruiting an additional 86 constables between October 1997 and January 1998. Hadjiloizou's position stance was backed up by Koshis.

    Diko deputy Marios Matsakis said he was not totally convinced that the provisions of the relevant law, which allows for emergency recruitments under special circumstances, were met in this instance.

    Koshis explained that extra constables had been drafted in to tighten security around the presidential candidates.

    He said there had been no specific request by the candidates themselves, but fears about their safety had been raised.

    Another Diko deputy, Nicos Cleanthous, queried why a ruling from the Attorney-general was not sought to clarify the issue.

    But the police responded it was beyond reproach as the additional recruitments had been approved by the House.

    The committee finally requested from the police that a list (including age and background) of all special constables recruited in the last ten years be submitted for further study.

    [05] Akamas villagers in poll boycott protest

    RESIDENTS of the remote Akamas area village of Inia have decided to boycott the upcoming elections in protest at plans to declare the area a national park.

    The protestors - who want to be allowed to develop their land for tourism - risk fines or imprisonment if they fail to cast ballots in the February 8 presidential elections. Voting is compulsory in Cyprus.

    Over 180 of the village's 300 voters have already handed over their electoral registration booklets to community leader Sofoclis Pittokopitis. Pittokopitis said the community had agreed to all hand in their booklets by next Sunday.

    He said he would then hand over the documents to Paphos District officer, Nicos Roussos, to register Inia's protest at the government's handling of the national park issue.

    Environmentalists have long campaigned for the remote peninsula - whose beaches are nesting sites for endangered loggerhead and green turtles - to be protected from mass tourist development.

    Greens have backed a government-commissioned World Bank report that has proposed the area be declared a national park with development limited to within existing village boundaries.

    The report is still being considered by the government, but local residents have openly opposed it.

    Pittokopitis said Inia villagers were unhappy with the government's "delay in changing the provisions of the World Bank plan."

    [06] Don't stand in the way of EU membership

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday urged Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership not to stand in the way of the desire of the overwhelming majority of Cypriots to join the European Union.

    Spokesman Manolis Christofides said opinion polls on both sides of the divided island showed more than 90 per cent of Cypriots wanted to see the island become a member of the European Union.

    "This is desired by the Republic of Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot community, the Turkish Cypriot community. It is welcomed by the European Union, supported and encouraged by the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Non- Aligned, everyone except Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership," he said.

    The road to Europe was open and the youth of Cyprus deserved to see their country join the European family, he added.

    "Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership must put aside excuses... it is not right to sacrifice the interests of the Turkish Cypriots in order to serve the interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership. The Turkish Cypriot community has suffered enough from the partitionist policy and expansionist plans of Turkey," he said.

    The European Union and the international community have appealed to Turkey to contribute positively to see all of Cyprus into the Union; such a positive response would serve Turkey's own vital interests, Christofides concluded.

    [07] Turkish Cypriot lawyer claims trap in smuggling case

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE LAWYER defending two Turkish Cypriots charged with attempting to smuggle guns and animals from the north yesterday claimed his clients had been the victims of police entrapment.

    Shepherd Ozman Kondoz, 41, and 33-year-old butcher Mustafa Veli, both from occupied Louroudjina, were arrested on the night of October 23 following a sting operation involving Greek Cypriot police in the buffer-zone near their village.

    Turkish Cypriot lawyer Youstrel Katri told the Nicosia Assizes yesterday that Kondoz and Veli had been caught in a "well-devised trap" set by under- cover police officers and chief prosecution witness Andreas Maltezos.

    Katri said police and Maltezos were lying when they said his clients were carrying guns at the time of their arrest.

    Maltezos has testified that Kondoz and Veli asked him to secure buyers for guns, counterfeit 10 notes and sheep and goats to be smuggled from the north. Maltezos, from Dhali village outside Nicosia, has testified that he went to police after the two suspects approached him at the mixed buffer- zone village of Pyla, where he had gone to have lunch with Greek Cypriot friends in July.

    The father-of-four told the court Veli and Kondoz asked him to find a "moneybags" buyer for 30 pistols, 2 Kalashnikovs, a G3 automatic, a million pound's worth of fake 10 notes from Turkey and 2,000 sheep and goats.

    He told the court he agreed to call Veli and then went to a police officer and told him what the Turkish Cypriots were proposing.

    Maltezos said police told him to keep meeting the suspects, which he did on a number of occasions in Pyla, informing police of his activities each time. He introduced an under-cover officer - with the pseudonym of Andros - to Veli and Kondoz as a prospective buyer for the guns and animals, he told the court.

    Maltezos said the two Turkish Cypriots were arrested by under-cover police after handing a pistol to Andros during a meeting Maltezos had arranged.

    Under cross-examination by Katri, Maltezos insisted he had only played along with what police told him to do and had never acted to entrap Veli and Kondoz.

    Kondoz and Veli have pleaded not guilty to five charges relating to alleged smuggling and gun possession.

    The courthouse was again patrolled by armed police during yesterday's proceedings, for fear of an attack on Maltezos, who police say has been threatened in an attempt to stop him from testifying.

    The trial continues.

    [08] Prosecutors challenge ruling on Aeroporos evidence

    THE PROSECUTION in the Aeroporos trial yesterday challenged the court's decision not to admit potentially crucial computer evidence.

    Aeroporos brothers Hambis, 35, Andros, 30, and Panicos, 25, are charged with the attempted murder of 57-year-old club-owner Antonis Fanieros in Larnaca on May 29 last year.

    The Nicosia assizes has already ruled that computer records of calls made to and from the mobile phone of chief prosecution witness Tassos Simellides around the time of the shooting are not admissible as evidence.

    State prosecutor Petros Clerides yesterday presented a revised list of 11 legal points on which he wished to challenge the ruling at the Supreme Court. His original list of 22 points was challenged as "general and ill- defined" by defence lawyer Efstathios Efstathiou.

    The prosecution believes the computer records will back-up 28-year-old Simellides's testimony that it was the Aeroporos brothers who instigated the attack on Fanieros. The father-of-three - serving a nine year sentence for his part in the Larnaca machine-gun attack - is claiming the Aeroporos brothers forced him to act as get-away driver while Panicos pulled the trigger.

    The three-bench court ruled last month the records could not be admitted as evidence because it had not been established beyond doubt that there was no way they could have been tampered with.

    Efstathiou is to reply to Clerides' challenge today.

    The three Aeroporos brothers, who deny the charges, have been held at Nicosia prison since their arrest almost eight months ago.

    [09] Bomb blast in Pallouriotissa

    THE EXPLOSION of a home-made pipe-bomb disturbed the slumber of the Pallouriotissa suburb of Nicosia in the early hours yesterday, police reported.

    The bomb had been placed outside the home of Iakovos Petrou on Kennedy street and went off at 1am, police said. No-one was injured by the blast, but the window of a neighbouring shop was shattered.

    Police are investigating.

    [10] Turkish gamblers expected to flood occupied areas

    THE NUMBER of casinos in the occupied areas is set to soar after the failure of an appeal against a new law ordering the closure of casinos in mainland Turkey.

    Turkish gamblers are now expected to flock to the occupied areas in search of the forbidden fruit.

    There are currently 18 casinos in the north, and a further 30 are about to open, according to Turkish Cypriot press reports.

    It is thought that the number of casinos will now rise even further to cope with the expected rise in demand.

    The new law in Turkey will force the closure on February 11 of 79 casinos across the country.

    [11] Mideast churches gather in Nicosia

    REPRESENTATIVES of all 30 churches in the Middle East are on the island for the Middle East Council of Churches conference starting in Nicosia today.

    The two-day event will focus on christianity in the region and the problems it currently faces, such as the growth of Islamic fundamentalism.

    Churches of various denominations - eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant - will join in the conference at the archbishopric. Delegates will be addressed by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus and will also be received by President Clerides.

    [12] Russian woman dies of hepatitis

    A 22-YEAR-OLD Russian woman died in Limassol hospital yesterday after failing to recover from a hepatitis-induced coma.

    Valentina Havanina, who arrived on the island as a tourist in August, had been in hospital receiving treatment since Boxing Day, when she was diagnosed as suffering from acute Hepatitis B and C.

    Police said they had asked a local man believed to have been having an affair with Havanina to give a statement and undergo medical tests to ensure he had not contracted hepatitis.

    [13] Coffee prices will not rise

    THE PRICE Commission yesterday rejected a bid by producers to raise the price of coffee.

    The coffee manufacturers had claimed that a rise in the market price of coffee had led to a corresponding increase in production costs.

    The proposal asked for a 65 cent increase per kilo of coffee, taking the price of one kilo of lower grade from 4.14 to 4.80, and that of higher grade from 4.25 to 4.90.

    However, Director of Consumer Protection George Mitides said that the price commission was "not satisfied" that the evidence supplied by the manufacturers justified an increase. A new study will now be made before any future increase is decided upon.

    The last price hike on coffee was in 1994.

    [14] UN appoints new member to Committee for Missing Persons

    By Jean Christou

    UN SECRETARY-general Kofi Annan has decided on a third member for the Committee for Missing Persons (CMP), it was revealed yesterday.

    The decision was passed on by President Clerides to the committees representing the relatives of the missing.

    The name of the third member, reported to be a veteran Swiss diplomat, is expected to be made public shortly.

    Paul Wurth, the previous UN-appointed member of the CMP, resigned nearly three years ago over the lack of progress on the issue.

    The announcement of his replacement, coming on the eve of today's historic exchange of information between the two sides, is the fulfilment of a promise by the UN chief to reappoint a third CMP member in the event of progress on the issue of the missing.

    Representatives of the two sides will meet today at the buffer-zone home of UN Permanent Representative Gustave Feissel, in what is seen as a significant development after more than 23 years of stagnation.

    The agreement to exchange information was made at a humanitarian meeting between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in July last year.

    Turkish Cypriot representative Rustem Tatar is expected to hand over information on 400 of the 1,619 Greek Cypriots missing since 1974.

    Greek Cypriot Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Takis Christopoulos will in turn give Tatar information on some 200 of the 803 Turkish Cypriots said to be missing since intercommunal clashes in 1963.

    But after yesterday's briefing by President Clerides, representatives of the relatives remained cautious.

    Nicos Theodosiou said work on the information supplied by the Turkish side would probably begin next week.

    "I expect that on Monday there will have to be a comparison of information, so I think the assessment will take a few days," he said.

    Asked if the information submitted by the Turkish side referred to those who had died in battle in 1974, Theodosiou said it was premature to talks about names.

    "At this stage, no one is talking about persons or names. This time, it's just an exchange of information. We are a long way from talking about names. We will only talk about names when we have proven remains," he said.

    Another representative of the relatives, Father Economos Christoforou, said they would wait to see what the Turkish side would give.

    "I believe we are doing very well," Christoforou said. "A road has been opened and we believe that if the Turks keep to the agreement we will arrive at a satisfactory conclusion."

    [15] Blast outside Bases police station

    AN EXPLOSION outside a police station within the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area (SBA) yesterday caused minor damage to the building. No one was injured by the blast.

    "There was a small explosion outside the SBA police station at Phassouri at around 7pm," bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones said last night.

    The station is about two miles outside the RAF Akrotiri airfield, West of Limassol.

    "There was some minor damage to lighting outside the building but there were no injuries," Wynne Jones said.

    "The area around the station is now cordoned off while the incident is being investigated," he added.

    Limassol police said an explosive device had been placed "in the road three or four metres from the station".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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