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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-05-13

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, May 13, 1998


  • [01] Apocalyptic scenario for Turkish nuclear plant
  • [02] Man dies after doorstep quarrel
  • [03] Rubin was 'ill-informed'
  • [04] Turkey does not believe missiles will be deployed
  • [05] Clerides defends title deeds action
  • [06] Prices slip for third day as traders warn of panic
  • [07] Turks hold mystery three
  • [08] Turkish army ready for Cyprus soccer battle
  • [09] Desalinated water on its way to Nicosia
  • [10] Larnaca mayor hits back at seaweed claims
  • [11] Cocaine through the post?
  • [12] Driving instructors on strike
  • [13] Want to give up smoking?

  • [01] Apocalyptic scenario for Turkish nuclear plant

    By Andrea Sophocleous

    CYPRUS will be "massively affected" in the event of an accident at the proposed Turkish nuclear reactor at Akkuyu Bay, only 250 km from Nicosia.

    And there is little Cyprus can do apart from raise international concern.

    This was the message from Greenpeace Mediterranean chief Dr Mario Damato at yesterday's launch in Nicosia of a computer modelling study showing that a major accident at the Akkuyu reactor would be catastrophic for Turkey, Cyprus and the entire Middle East.

    "Cyprus is in the centre of it all," Damato said. Irrespective of the direction of air masses that will determine the impact on other surrounding countries, Cyprus will suffer maximum damage.

    The study comes 12 years after the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine which forced the evacuation of 400,000 people and ultimately killed thousands. It shows that apart from Cyprus, all Middle Eastern countries face a substantial risk and western Europe a lower risk.

    The Greenpeace director said radioactive fallout in the event of an accident was not the only danger. Radioactive contamination would be a constant problem for Cyprus and the Middle East throughout the nuclear plant's operation.

    The Akkuyu reactor will be the first of seven or ten reactors that Turkey plans to build by the year 2000. Damato said Greenpeace had been monitoring Turkey's nuclear plans for five years now and had been the first organisation to announce the Akkuyu plans.

    The Akkuyu area is particularly unsafe for a nuclear reactor because it is prone to seismic activity -- there have been two major earthquakes in the region this century.

    According to Damato, construction work on the reactor is already under way, despite environmental pressure on Ankara to abandon its plans. He said the Turkish government was determined to go ahead with the reactor and was due to announce in June which consortium had won the tender to build the plant.

    Two companies are competing for the project, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd and Siemens of Germany.

    Damato said his organisation may be able to challenge the legality of the Canadian bid because the Canadian government has offered a $1.5 billion loan to Turkey to fund the nuclear project in an attempt to win the contract.

    The Canadian government, however, cannot grant funding to such a programme before an environmental assessment is carried out. No such assessment was commissioned by Canada before its loan offer and an impact study would have judged Akkuyu an inappropriate site for a nuclear power plant, Damato said.

    Greenpeace has adopted a three-pronged approach in its campaign against the nuclear reactor. It is already trying to raise the awareness of the Turkish public, lobbying the Turkish government and putting pressure on the two companies involved in the bidding for the project.

    Damato said the campaign directed at Turks living in the Akkuyu area was going well because "people are very concerned by what they see as a real threat to them".

    The Turkish government, however, "is not listening to anybody". Greenpeace's push for a referendum on the issue to be held in the area presents problems because there is no mechanism for referendums in Turkey.

    Putting pressure on the Canadian and German companies vying for the nuclear contract may prove difficult at a time when the market for nuclear power is shrinking in the West and the only avenue for such companies is underdeveloped countries like Turkey.

    Even so, Greenpeace intends to use its international resources and contacts to put pressure on the companies.

    In response to a question about India's shock announcement on Monday that it had conducted three underground nuclear tests, Damato said a nuclear reactor gave a country the means to conduct nuclear tests and that this was probably on Turkey's agenda.

    Despite the grim outlook, Damato was confident of his organisation's ability to stop the Akkuyu and other Turkish nuclear projects, saying Greenpeace had been successful in stopping reactors in the past.

    [02] Man dies after doorstep quarrel

    THE DEATH of a 75-year-old fishmonger in Nicosia is being treated as manslaughter by police.

    Pambis Erotocritou was declared dead on arrival at Nicosia General hospital yesterday afternoon after he was found lying unconscious outside a house in the Ayios Andreas area.

    Sixty-year-old house painter Costas Nicolaou was later arrested in connection with the incident.

    Nicosia CID said it had an eye-witness who allegedly saw the suspect hit Erotocritou during a heated argument.

    According to police, the altercation occurred when Erotocritou was helping two Filipinas move their belongings from a flat rented out by Nicolaou.

    Police also say a knife was pulled during the confrontation on the doorstep, which caused the victim to fall while trying to escape.

    An autopsy will be carried out today to discover whether Erotocritou died from a blow, a heart attack or from hitting the ground.

    [03] Rubin was 'ill-informed'

    By Andrew Adamides

    US SPECIAL Co-ordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller yesterday spoke out about statements made by Spokesman James Rubin on the Cyprus situation, saying Rubin had not been well informed when he made the statements.

    Speaking on Monday, Rubin had said that US Presidential Emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke blamed both sides in Cyprus for the deadlock, and said the "European Union had to rescind its willingness to have Cyprus join".

    Miller said Rubin had been on a tour of Asia and Europe with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and as such was not well-informed on the issue.

    Miller's comments came as Greek Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said America had no intention of officially recognising the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    Speaking after a meeting with US Undersecretary of State Strobe Talbott and Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Mark Grossman, Kranidiotis said the US government insisted on a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions.

    But Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on Monday said the concept of a federal solution was "outdated".

    In the current circumstances, he said, talks between the two sides could only be conducted "between two countries within the framework of good neighbourly relations".

    Acting with haste to solve the Cyprus problem would, he said, give the "trump card" to the Greek Cypriots. But he added that the Turkish Cypriots were on the right path and advancing with patience.

    Meanwhile, speaking over the weekend, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that Holbrooke had not left Cyprus empty-handed after his recent visit, and that he now saw what could and couldn't be done on the island.

    In an interview with the Turkish Daily News published yesterday, Ecevit said that there were indications that Holbrooke had come to an "objective" understanding of the Cyprus situation.

    Ecevit also said that while no state was "ready" to give diplomatic recognition to the 'TRNC', some countries would be prepared to do so but for the American and West European obstacles preventing them from doing so.

    He added that he believed the situation in Cyprus would "solidify", as the present set-up did not present any "real and serious" problems to either the Greek or Turkish Cypriots. The situation had, he said, "proven its validity".

    [04] Turkey does not believe missiles will be deployed

    TURKISH Defence Minister Ismet Sezgin said yesterday he did not think the S- 300 missiles would be deployed, as it was the wrong decision, "politically, socially and economically."

    Speaking in the Greek newspaper Ta Nea, Sezgin said the missiles' deployment would complicate the Cyprus problem and threaten stability and peace in Europe.

    He added that if they were deployed, he would take the "appropriate measures" to protect his "compatriots".

    Brushing aside the Greek Cypriot "claims" that the missiles were defensive, Sezgin said that "with a little effort they could be turned to attack missiles", and as such were a danger.

    Turkish press reports have also carried a denial by the Turkish Foreign Ministry that the country would not oppose the missiles' redeployment to Crete as part of a compromise solution. The ministry described reports in the Greek press that this would be the case as "fiction".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff General Cevik Bir on Monday left the occupied areas, saying he was happy with the level of training and the battle readiness of the Turkish forces in the north. Asked about the missiles, he said: "All our activities are for peace and stability and everyone should have this understanding. I hope everyone will contribute to peace and stability."

    [05] Clerides defends title deeds action

    By Martin Hellicar

    PRESIDENT Clerides has not abandoned plans to issue title deeds to refugees despite his decision not to challenge a package of amendments passed by the House to block the controversial scheme.

    Monday's shock news that Clerides was no longer to send the amendments back to the House was widely interpreted as the President backing down in the face of criticism of the plan. Opposition parties had labelled the scheme -- announced in the run-up to the February presidential elections -- a dangerous vote-winning ploy tantamount to acceptance of the status quo created by the invasion.

    But a government announcement yesterday made it clear the President's policy on the issue had not changed. The government was simply changing tack by seeking to table before the House a set of regulations governing the issue of deeds for refugee homes, the announcement stated.

    The President had decided not to challenge the blocking amendments for "purely legal reasons" and on the advice of Attorney-general Alecos Markides, the announcement added.

    The announcement also made it clear that those refugees who received title deeds before the House blocked the scheme would keep them.

    Markides said further deeds could still be issued if the House approved the relevant regulations tabled by the government.

    But the chairman of the House refugee committee, Aristofanis Georgiou, disagreed. He said he had never heard of a "set of regulations" overturning the "spirit and letter of the law."

    Markides said such regulations would not clash with the blocking amendments passed by the House.

    Georgiou, a deputy for opposition party Akel, launched into an attack on the deeds issue scheme. "I have been chairman of the House refugee committee for seven years now. We have been unanimous on all issues. The only decision which divided the committee and the plenum was the title deeds," he said.

    "The reason for this is obvious: we cannot allow damage to be caused to our struggle for our rights for the return of property in the occupied areas," Georgiou said.

    His party continued in the same vein in an announcement later in the day. Akel said the President's decision not to challenge the blocking amendments was proof of the bankruptcy of the government's refugee policy. The whole scheme was but a pre-election ploy to secure the refugee vote, the left- wing party stated. The fact that hundreds of deeds were handed out on the eve of the election and none sent afterwards proved this, the party claimed.

    Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou and Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides both welcomed the President's decision to shelve his amendments challenge. Kyprianou agreed with Akel that the deeds issue was a vote-winning ploy.

    But Lefteris Christoforou, deputy for governing Disy, said it would be a "great injustice" to deprive refugees of the benefits of title deeds. He noted that refugees had welcomed the scheme.

    "We must not again victimise refugees for reasons of 'political principle' which have no basis," he said.

    Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades reiterated that the government had not shelved the scheme.

    "Quite simply, after a study and bearing in mind the opinion of the Attorney-general, it was judged that sending the amendments back to the House was legally baseless and it was judged better to put in place regulations to govern the titles issue," Anastassiades said.

    The issue is to go before the House refugee committee today.

    [06] Prices slip for third day as traders warn of panic

    By Hamza Hendawi

    SHARE prices slipped yesterday for the third successive trading day, prompting warnings that further drops could create a panic in a market already reeling from a turbulent week.

    Still smarting from last week's losses, the official all-share index of the Cyprus Stock Exchange closed down 1.61 per cent yesterday with all seven sub-indices of the market, including that of the usually resilient banking sector, registering losses. Yesterday's drop followed Monday's fall of 1.23 per cent. On Friday, the market closed down 0.20 per cent.

    "If the market falls like this for three or four successive days, people will panic and the drop will be greater," warned Harris Savvides of Laiki Investments, the securities arm of the Popular Bank.

    "Unfortunately there are some people who want to put pressure on the market. This house (Laiki Investments) does not want to see the market fall any further.

    "I cannot speak for other major brokerages, but I believe they share our view," said Savvides.

    Drops so far this week, he explained, were largely caused by investors selling at a profit in order to later return to the market and buy cheaply.

    "The market's sentiment is not at its highest at the moment," said Neophytos Neophytou of AAA United, a Nicosia-based brokerage.

    Yesterday's 1.61 per cent drop means that the market has lost 6.33 per cent of its value since the beginning of May. The loss is in sharp contrast to nearly 20 per cent of virtually consistent gains in the first four months of the year on the back of impressive 1997 profits by banks and promising 1998 forecasts for tourism, the economy's lifeline.

    "Many investors are still getting out with handsome profits of 15 and 20 per cent in some cases despite the recent drops," explained Neophytou, who said that the market's behaviour so far in May had in part reflected the failure of US envoy Richard Holbrooke's latest effort to restart negotiations to reunite the island.

    "A lot of people think that things don't look that good after Holbrooke's latest failure," he said.

    Savvides, expressing a view shared by some traders, however said the market had long discounted the impact of the comings and goings of foreign emissaries searching for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "Economic indicators are far more important to the market than the political situation, except of course when there is some significant developments on, say, the missiles," said Savvides.

    He was referring to the deployment due later this year of Russian-made, anti-aircraft S-300 missiles, which Turkey has threatened to prevent by any means, including military action.

    [07] Turks hold mystery three

    By Martin Hellicar

    THREE unidentified men were yesterday being held in the occupied areas after they were apprehended by Turkish forces in the Dhekelia area late Monday, police said.

    The exact circumstances of the men's arrest and their identities were a mystery yesterday.

    According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the occupation regime had informed the UN of the apprehensions but would not give details concerning their identities.

    UN spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said the UN were investigating the incident and "would like to see them (the three men) return as soon as possible." Rokoszewski declined to comment further.

    CNA quoted "sources" as saying a UN soldier had witnessed the apprehension of the three men in the Strovilia area near the British Base of Dhekelia at around 7.30 on Monday evening.

    The UN-controlled buffer-zone does not extend along the boundary of the Sovereign base area (SBA) with the occupied areas, but the UN maintain a lookout post in the Strovilia area.

    "There seems to have been a report to the UN that three Greek Cypriots were arrested in a vehicle in the vicinity of Dhekelia SBA, but on the other (Turkish-held) side," Bases spokesman Mervyn Wynne Jones said. He gave no further information.

    Famagusta district police chief Savvas Erodotou said the three men might be foreigners as no Greek Cypriots had been reported missing.

    Other reports suggested the three were Greek gypsies living in the Limassol area. The reports suggested two of the men were reported missing to police by their wives yesterday.

    Erodotou said police were working with the UN to secure the release of the three men.

    [08] Turkish army ready for Cyprus soccer battle

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE TURKISH army is ready to send its finest to do battle with the National Guard in Cyprus.

    And we're not talking about another invasion, but the World Army Soccer Championship.

    In a footballing first, the National Guard has been drawn against the mighty Turkish army in a world qualifying fixture to be played in Cyprus.

    Other teams in the group include Germany (already beaten 4-0 by the Turks in Ankara), Holland, Latvia and Estonia.

    According to the Turkish Daily News, a Turkish military source is quoted as saying: "We are willing to go to the match, listen to our national anthem and hopefully win the game and return home."

    Although the fixture is supposed to take place by the end of September, the political implications of such a tie make it almost certain that the Turks will not play ball.

    Turkey's foreign ministry spokesman Sermet Atacanli has declined to comment on whether the Turkish team would fulfil its obligation or not.

    But he did say that Turkey would act in accordance with its policy on Cyprus.

    For the game to go ahead, Turkish players and officials would have to recognise the Cyprus government by entering through a legal airport.

    As the match is a single-leg game, the prospect of the National Guard having to fret about going to Turkey is not an issue.

    Which also explains the Cyprus Defence Ministry's enthusiasm for the game to go ahead, as all the delicate political manoeuvring must be made by Turkey.

    The only time a Cypriot team came close to playing against Turkish opposition in soccer was in the mid-80s, when Apoel were drawn against Besiktas in a two-legged European Cup game.

    Apoel cited security reasons for refusing to play in Turkey, and received a one-year ban from European governing body UEFA.

    Now the boot is on the other foot, and the Turkish army faces expulsion if it refuses to play the fixture in Cyprus.

    But many observers think this may be preferable to seeing two traditional and volatile enemies playing football on the most militarised place on earth.

    [09] Desalinated water on its way to Nicosia

    THE RAIN which swept the country on Saturday and Sunday may have dampened down the weekend, but it had a negligible effect on the water level in reservoirs, the Water Development Department said yesterday.

    Senior Water Engineer Dr George Socratous told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the rain had made an "insignificant" difference, adding just 28,000 cubic metres to dams.

    But he added that the water department hoped to ease water shortages in some areas with desalinated water piped in from Dhekelia.

    Water is expected to begin flowing in from the Tersephanou Desalination Plant today, Socratous said, and will be carried to some areas of Nicosia via a conveyor which was only finished on Monday.

    The conveyor was yesterday being sterilised, and is expected to carry up to 40,000 cubic metres per day of water, although at first it will only carry 30,000.

    As well as easing the situation in the capital, desalinated water is expected to cover the needs of the tourist areas of Famagusta and Larnaca.

    [10] Larnaca mayor hits back at seaweed claims

    By Andrea Sophocleous

    LARNACA Mayor Yiorgos Lycourgos claims he has not seen a letter sent to Larnaca Council by Swedish tour giant, Star Tours, threatening to exclude the town from its programme because of its seaweed and other problems.

    The mayor was responding to a Cyprus Mail story, published yesterday, reporting that Star Tours had sent a letter to Larnaca Council, to the Cyprus Hotels Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the city's police chief complaining about piles of seaweed on Larnaca's beaches, noise pollution and the early closure of Larnaca's discos.

    Lycourgos questioned the very existence of the letter, saying he had not seen it if it had been sent to the Council.

    He was aware of complaints about the seaweed, but believes there is no problem.

    The Cyprus Hotel Association has also complained about the seaweed, with the president of the local branch, Fotis Adonis, claiming on Monday it was not cleared regularly.

    The mayor, however, argued that for the last three years the seaweed had been cleared "12 months a year"; the council, he added, employed inspectors who monitored piles of seaweed to decide when it was time to clear them off the beaches. This could be every week or every day, depending on what the sea dragged out.

    Lycourgos said clearing the beaches of seaweed was an expensive process, costing the council up to 30,000 a year. Besides, he said, two or three English families had in fact complained about the cleaning up of seaweed because their children enjoyed playing in it.

    Regarding plans for an extension of disco operating hours, the mayor said the district official would examine the matter in the case of discos away from residential areas. At the moment, bars are forced to shut at 2am and discos at 3am.

    Questioned about the problem of noise pollution in Larnaca, the mayor said it was a nationwide problem and argued the noise was worse in Limassol and scarcely better in Nicosia.

    He said Larnaca council had improvement plans for the area but was waiting for government support.

    [11] Cocaine through the post?

    A 32-YEAR-OLD British national was yesterday remanded in custody in a connection with a drugs-through-the-post scam.

    Briton James Paul, suspected of receiving cocaine and cannabis in the mail, was remanded for four days by a Larnaca court in order to help police with their enquiries.

    Police told the court that they had evidence that Paul was a drug user and obtained his fix in the post via packages from England.

    Other suspect packages were found at his Protaras flat, police said.

    Police are also investigating whether the suspect is involved in a wider operation to move drugs through the postal service.

    British police has been contacted through Interpol to discover whether Paul has been involved in other drug-related cases.

    [12] Driving instructors on strike

    THE MINISTRY of Communications and Works said yesterday it was doing all it could to reduce the waiting time for driving tests.

    Driving instructors yesterday went on strike to protest the long periods pupils must wait between booking their tests and taking them.

    The ministry said it was filling the vacant posts within the Road Traffic Department and that this would soon ease the situation in Nicosia.

    It also hopes to improve conditions in Limassol soon.

    Driving instructors complain that the test centre in Nicosia has only two examiners, where there used to be 12.

    The instructors yesterday picketed test centres, the Finance Ministry, the Presidential Palace and the House of Representatives.

    [13] Want to give up smoking?

    PEOPLE who smoke at least 15 cigarettes a day and want to quit are invited to take part in a research programme to determine the effectiveness of homoeopathy in quitting smoking.

    The research is conducted by the Medical Institute for Homoeopathic Research and Application and will run for six months. Homoeopathic medicine in the form of capsules developed by homoeopathy professor, Spyros Diamandides, will be used. The capsules do not contain any chemicals or have any side-effects. The research will determine the capsules' effectiveness in reducing the amount of cigarettes smoked or in giving up smoking altogether.

    Those interested in participating should contact Dr. Christos Hadjicostas on: Nicosia (02) 369028, Limassol (05) 347767 or Larnaca (04) 651902.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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