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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-07-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, July 16, 1998


  • [01] 'Something will be done' to avert pilots' strike
  • [02] US defence envoy dispatched to the region
  • [03] Hannay to visit next week
  • [04] Police seek anonymous caller in murder mystery
  • [05] The Kurd, the priest and the taxi driver
  • [06] Remembering the coup
  • [07] Teenager killed in road crash
  • [08] Love rivals beat each other senseless

  • [01] 'Something will be done' to avert pilots' strike

    By Jean Christou

    THE GOVERNMENT will not stand idly by and watch Cyprus Airways (CY) pilots ground the national carrier and its charter firm Eurocypria.

    Speaking after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said the issue had not been discussed by the cabinet.

    "Something will be done before it gets out of hand," Stylianides said. "The government will not stand idly by in relation to the strike."

    Finance minister Christodoulos Christodoulou meanwhile said the action of the pilots was "unbelievable", while Communications Minister Leontios Ierodiaconou said he hoped there was still time to work something out.

    However, no effort has yet been made by any of the parties involved to avert the three-day strike announced on Tuesday and due to begin on July 23. Unions called the strike after the breakdown of talks with management to secure a new collective agreement.

    The strike by 95 of around 140 pilots will ground 153 flights in the two airlines, affect some 25,000 passengers and cost the CY Group nearly £2 million, CY spokesman Tassos Angelis said yesterday.

    "We'll do everything we can to run as many flights as we can," he said, referring to the fact that only around 50 pilots will be working.

    He said no meetings had been planned to try and avert the strike, and it looked as if it would be going ahead.

    "As a union, we have not been officially approached," said Pambos Tappas, a representative of the striking pilots union Pasipy.

    Tappas also said he was not aware of any behind-the-scenes move. "As things stand it looks as if the strike is going ahead," he said.

    Condemnation poured in yesterday from various parts of the tourism sector, particularly hoteliers, who called the strike threat "unacceptable".

    Communications Minister Ierodiaconou said he hoped good sense would prevail on the part of the pilots.

    But the criticism from Finance Minister Christodoulou was harsher.

    "It is unbelievable to say the least that the pilots union has decided to use the threat of strike action in a period that is critical for the economy. I am sad to say it is no coincidence that they are carrying out this irresponsible action at this time," the minister said.

    Christodoulou said it was up to the CY board to come up with a solution, but added he had no doubts the government would intervene in the situation if necessary.

    Under the industrial relations code, there are ten days in which to make a last-ditch effort to find a solution.

    Pilots, who have not had a pay rise since 1989 other than annual increments and other benefits, say their demands are reasonable.

    The company, whose wage bill represents some 35 per cent of annual costs, say their pilots are among the best paid in the world.

    [02] US defence envoy dispatched to the region

    By Athena Karsera

    The UNITED States has sent an envoy to the region in a bid to defuse the tension over the S-300 missiles and explore the possibility of setting up a moratorium on military overflights.

    "We have an envoy now in the area talking to both Greek and Turkish officials," Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon told a Washington press briefing yesterday.

    The unnamed envoy from the US Defence Department, who may also be travelling with a State Department official, left the US last week, Bacon said.

    And the spokesman backed the idea of a no-fly zone over Cyprus, though he made clear the US was not willing to enforce such a zone.

    "We do not support policing a no-fly zone over Cyprus," he said. "We do support a moratorium on provocative air flights. We do support a self- policed no-fly zone over the area. But it's very difficult for any Nato country to get involved in enforcing a no-fly zone that involves other Nato countries."

    The idea of a no-fly zone was first put forward earlier this year by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. An unofficial moratorium on overflights last year broke down with annual military exercises on both sides of the Green Line.

    American efforts to mediate came as President Clerides returned from a visit to Moscow during which the S-300s were high on the agenda.

    Bacon yesterday repeated Washington's opposition to the deal: "The US and other countries have made it very clear that we do not think this is the right way to go, we think it is provocative, and we think there are better ways to resolve the dispute between the Greek side and the Turkish side."

    The government signed a contract with a Russian manufacturer in January 1997 to purchase surface-to-air missiles. Turkey has threatened a military strike on the missiles if they are deployed.

    The missiles are also likely to come up in discussions this week in Washington, where Turkish Chief of General Staff, General Ismail Karadayi, is on a visit: "I'm sure Cyprus will be a prime topic of conversation," Bacon said.

    [03] Hannay to visit next week

    ISSUES on the agenda for next week's visit by EU envoy for Cyprus Sir David Hannay include the resumption of dialogue between the two sides, Cyprus' EU accession process, and the ever-present issue of the S-300 missiles.

    Speaking after a morning meeting with president Glafcos Clerides to discuss the visit, British High Commissioner David Madden said it was important for Hannay, who is also Britain's envoy on Cyprus, to visit the island early on in Austria's rotating EU presidency, which began this month.

    Hannay arrives on July 21 and leaves the next day.

    Madden said although intercommunal talks were currently at a standstill, this did not mean people should stop working towards their resumption.

    Talks have been stalled since last summer. Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash insists on recognition of his 'state' and withdrawal of Cyprus' EU membership application as preconditions for their resumption.

    "We shall continue, in co-ordination with others, and try to do our best to try and ensure the UN process can be resumed with direct meetings," Madden said.

    On a more hopeful note, he added that "it is possible to envisage a resumption of direct talks, and I hope we will be able to find the conditions that will make that possible."

    [04] Police seek anonymous caller in murder mystery

    By Charlie Charalambous

    AN ANONYMOUS caller who tipped-off police on the Lady's Mile murder has been urged to come forward in attempts to solve the case.

    Twenty-two-year-old builder Michalakis Evangelou was found stabbed to death on Lady's Mile beach three weeks ago, and police still have no strong clues as to the motive.

    But WSBA Divisional Commander Richard Chidley yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that the man who phoned Limassol police station at 5.45 am on Thursday June 25, saying there was a body on the beach, could help solve the puzzle.

    "We don't know who made the call to police or why... and maybe this person doesn't realise he could be a key witness and we hope he comes forward," said Chidley, who - in co-operation with Cyprus CID - is heading the bases investigation, which has jurisdiction over the case.

    Chidley added: "there is also speculation that the caller could have been involved in the incident, which is something we can't eliminate."

    Whatever the reason for the call, investigators are keen to explore the lead.

    Chidley is optimistic that the 20 or so officers on the murder inquiry will find the killer, but admits "it won't be next Tuesday".

    Although the police have taken 173 statements leading to 220 lines of enquiry, Chidley confesses that there is still no clear motive.

    "We can't actually identify a motive, a lot of what's been published about a mystery witness is neither accurate nor helpful."

    A further stumbling block is the unaccounted time between the last sighting of the victim at 4.20am buying cheese pies for his fiancée and the anonymous call at 5.45am.

    A violent struggle is believed to have taken place 400 metres from where the body was found in a car that still had its engine running and radio blaring.

    Forensic evidence suggests that the victim was tortured in some way before receiving the fatal stab wound. The body was found to be covered with superficial knife wounds.

    This has led detectives to believe that the killer was looking for revenge or information and was probably known to the victim.

    "He probably knew his killer or he wouldn't have gone to a forlorn spot in pitch darkness to meet somebody he didn't know," said Chidley.

    Although Evangelou is described as a "man of the night", police say his drug and organised crime links have been exaggerated.

    However, Chidley says the victim's lifestyle could unlock the key to his killer's identity.

    "Around 90 per cent of murders are domestic; this is in the other 10 per cent."

    Contrary to popular belief, Chidley disagreed that three weeks was a long time in crime solving and said sooner or later the killer would be caught.

    "Somebody out there knows who did it, I'm sure of that."

    [05] The Kurd, the priest and the taxi driver

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A KURD who entered Cyprus illegally from Turkey had the courage to ask a priest for a £6 cab fare then managed to get himself arrested when seeking sanctuary at Larnaca police station.

    Kilic Tahir, 27, was remanded for three days by a Larnaca district court yesterday, suspected of illegally entry through the occupied port of Kyrenia.

    Police officer Michalakis Karaiskakis told the court that Tahir crossed the cease-fire line from the north in the Ayios Dhometios area of Nicosia.

    According to the police, the Kurd then visited an orthodox church and on seeing a priest asked him for a charitable donation.

    The good Samaritan, taking pity on the destitute Kurd, gave him £6, which Tahir then translated into a taxi ride to Larnaca.

    On Tuesday, he arrived at Larnaca police HQ, requesting assistance. He was arrested for his troubles, said Karaiskakis.

    When asked by the court whether he had any objections to the remand order, Tahir said:

    "I do not like the regime in Turkey, and I do not want to join the army to fight against the Kurds."

    Larnaca police are investigating why Tahir fled from Turkey to Cyprus and the details of his personal circumstances before deciding on whether he should be deported.

    [06] Remembering the coup

    By Elias Hazou

    SIRENS wailed over Nicosia early yesterday as Greek Cypriots remembered the 1974 coup that prompted the Turkish invasion and subsequent division of the island.

    At 8.20am, the precise time of the attack engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece, President Clerides told journalists at the Presidential Palace that adherence to democracy was the only way to ensure the events of July 15, 1974 would never be repeated.

    "What is important is to realise that the only guarantee which could be useful in the future is our dedication to democratic principles."

    All over the island, politicians and various organisations were gearing up for the "black anniversary" with a series of demonstrations and events to remember 1974.

    The House of Representatives held an extraordinary meeting yesterday to condemn the coup and the Turkish invasion.

    House President Spyros Kyprianou called for a minute's silence in memory of those who died in defence of democratic principles and their homeland. He called for an investigation into the events that led to the coup and the invasion, so that the younger generation may know what happened.

    The Leader of right-wing ruling party Disy, Nicos Anastassiades, spoke out against fanaticism, hatred and division. He stressed the need for "the past to become a bridge to the future of Cyprus".

    Socialist Edek party leader Vassos Lyssarides said the coup was an act of treason, adding that, for his part, he was willing to forgive, though not forget. In a call for unity, Lyssarides said that patriotism is "ideologically colour blind."

    Communist Akel General Secretary Demetris Christofias was not equally inclined to forgive, noting that "it is inconceivable... that victims and perpetrators sit together in the cabinet and jointly govern our country." He called on the Turkish Cypriots to contribute in any way they could towards an independent, united and federal solution, noting that "we have a common destiny."

    Centre-right Diko Parliamentary spokesman Tassos Papadopoulos spoke of ethnic cleansing by Turkey.

    The President of the United Democrats party, George Vassiliou, stressed the need to uncover the whole truth about the coup, adding that condemnation was not enough.

    The coup against Archbishop Makarios, the island's elected president since independence from Britain in 1960, was followed five days later by the Turkish invasion. Ankara said its action was a move to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority on the island who feared 'Enosis' or union with Greece following 10 years of intercommunal strife.

    In a second wave of military action on August 15, 1974, Turkey secured 37 per cent of the island's territory. In 1983 the breakaway Turkish Cypriot regime declared itself a 'state', which to date is only recognised by Ankara.

    [07] Teenager killed in road crash

    A TEENAGER from Trachoni died yesterday after being involved in a car accident in the early hours of the morning.

    The accident took place at around 1.30am, when a car driven by Ioannis Christodoulou, 27, in which 17-year-old Andreas Neocleous was a passenger, crashed on the Zakaki to Trachoni road.

    Neocleous was severely injured in the crash and was taken to Limassol General Hospital, where he later died. Three other teenage passengers in the car were also hurt in the crash.

    Limassol police are investigating.

    Police also yesterday issued alarming figures for traffic accidents in the first week of July. The week saw a total of 98 crashes on the island's roads in which two people were killed and 19 seriously injured. During the same period, 2,939 traffic violations were recorded, and 418 traffic cases went to court, resulting in 14 people having their driving licences revoked. Traffic fines imposed across the island amounted to £18,508. Sixty- five motorcyclists were caught riding without helmets, while, out of 338 motorists breathalysed, five were found to be over the legal drink-drive limit.

    Police are currently cracking down on traffic violations on the island, after the number of road deaths soared earlier in the year.

    [08] Love rivals beat each other senseless

    A VICIOUS fight broke out in Paphos yesterday afternoon, sending two men to hospital with serous injuries and giving the woman over whom they were fighting a nervous breakdown.

    Paphos police were unable to identify the three -- all Russians -- as their names have not yet been established.

    A 25-year-old woman was the cause of the dispute when her husband saw her returning home with another man. Apparently out of control, the husband attacked his wife's companion and a fierce fight broke out between the two.

    Seriously hurt, both men fell to the floor, one of them just managing to crawl out into the street to call for help. Two ambulances arrived to take the injured to Paphos General Hospital.

    Police found the couple's flat, where the fight took place, badly damaged. Windows were smashed and broken bottles and furniture littered the floor.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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