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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-07-21

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, July 21, 1998


  • [01] Hannay criticises `no talks' Denktash
  • [02] Both sides mark the events of 1974
  • [03] Yilmaz repeats missile threats
  • [04] Clerides calls for compromise
  • [05] Cypriots around the world mark anniversary of 1974
  • [06] New health probe launched into death of young man
  • [07] Two tourists die in pools
  • [08] Couple 'may lose flat because of bishop'
  • [09] Supreme Court rejects church plea
  • [10] EU Commissioner advises on EU harmonisation
  • [11] Drug smuggler gets nine years

  • [01] Hannay criticises `no talks' Denktash

    Sir David Hannay, Cyprus envoy for the EU and Britain, arrived on the Island yesterday and slammed Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for refusing to speak to him.

    "Mr Denktash is not prepared to see me. He prefers isolation to dialogue which I think is a pity," Hannay said at Larnaca airport yesterday afternoon, shortly after arrival for a three-day official visit.

    "I have never known any international problem that has been helped to be solved by not talking about it," he added.

    Denktash has declared Hannay persona non grata, claiming the envoy wants to "hurt" Turkish Cypriots by refusing to recognise the breakaway "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC).

    Denktash, who declined to meet Hannay during his last visit earlier in the year, has set international recognition for the TRNC as a pre-condition for his return to settlement talks he abandoned last summer.

    Hannay said finding a way out of the current talks impasse was one of the targets for his visit. "It's fairly clear that there is no simple way to do this, that neither side involved in these discussions is prepared to recognise the position or status of the other."

    "The challenge, I think, is to find some way of engaging negotiations which doesn't prejudice either side's view of their own position, that does not alter the international position in any way, but which does enable substantive talks about all the issues that really matter," he stated.

    He said finding a way forward called for "imagination".

    Hannay, who is to have a working breakfast with President Clerides this morning, said the other issues he would be addressing during his visit were Cyprus' EU accession bid and security.

    The EU wanted to see the Turkish Cypriot community participating in accession talks, Hannay reiterated. "That community should participate in these negotiations and have a real say in the way in which Cyprus' terms of accession are determined," he said.

    The government has invited Turkish Cypriots to participate in the accession talks team but the offer has been turned down.

    Concerning security, the envoy called for a ban on overflights by military aircraft in order to defuse tension. But he said he did not back the idea of a policed no-fly zone as proposed by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    "I don't think that anybody is talking in terms of guarantees, if you were talking in terms of guarantees than you are talking in terms of some outside powers having responsibility for Cyprus' security. I am not sure that is a wise step," Hannay said.

    In Brussels, Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schussel said the US government was to launch an initiative to defuse tension in Cyprus.

    Tit-for-tat landings of Greek and Turkish fighter jets last month increased the tension already fuelled by the government's order for Russian S-300 missiles. Turkey had warships and planes in Cyprus yesterday to mark the 24th anniversary of the invasion.

    The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported that Schussel, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, said EU and US officials had agreed in Washington last week that "the Americans would take action to defuse tension."

    He did not specify what this action would be.

    [02] Both sides mark the events of 1974

    By Martin Hellicar

    DAWN sirens pierced the calm at 5.30am yesterday to mark the exact hour Turkish troops landed on Kyrenia beaches to begin the Turkish invasion 24 years ago.

    Memorial services were held in churches across the island, while in the occupied areas the mood was markedly different, with a military parade heading celebrations of what the Turkish side terms the 1974 "peace initiative".

    President Clerides and visiting Greek Interior Minister Alecos Papadopoulos laid wreaths at the Makedonitissa tomb of National Guardsmen and Greek soldiers who died in the invasion.

    "We will never accept the faits accomplis created by the invasion and will continue our struggle until justice is done," Clerides said after the ceremony.

    Later Clerides, Papadopoulos and other dignitaries attended an official state memorial presided over by Archbishop Chrysostomos at St John's cathedral in Nicosia.

    In a speech after the service, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides continued the fighting talk: "No blackmail, difficulty or pressure will force us to surrender to the Turkish Attila," he declared.

    Cassoulides called for unity among all Greeks. "This is the only way we can carry through our struggle for justice and protection of the human rights of Cypriot Hellenism," he said.

    Papadopoulos continued in the same vein. "A belief in freedom cannot be bent through guns and force," the Greek Minister said. He attacked Turkey for keeping 35,000 troops stationed in the north, and said the Joint Defence Dogma military pact between Cyprus and Greece was proof of Hellenic solidarity.

    Church bells rang out across island just before midday in remembrance of the victims of 1974.

    At 1pm at the Ledra Palace checkpoint, a group of relatives of the missing ended a three-day hunger strike in protest against the invasion. Relatives of the missing and Kyrenia refugee groups also handed petitions to the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, calling for greater international efforts towards a settlement and determination of the fate of 1,619 Greek Cypriots missing since the invasion.

    In the occupied north, meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz and Turkish Minister of State Shukru Sina Gurel arrived to take part in Turkish Cypriot celebrations of the invasion.

    Hundreds of people waving Turkish and 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)' flags turned out to cheer a military parade, Reuters reported. Turkish tanks and armoured cars rumbled down occupied Nicosia's streets while Turkish army helicopters and light aircraft passed overhead.

    According to Bayrak radio, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash urged Turkish Cypriots never to forget "what they suffered at the hands of Greek Cypriots between 1963 and 1974", and to be certain that this would never happen again. He said the Greek Cypriot side had to accept there were to be two separate states on the island.

    Yesterday evening, Denktash was to host a "reception for the people" in a hotel in occupied Kyrenia, Turkish Cypriot newspapers reported yesterday. The Turkish Stars - the Turkish Air Force's aerobatic team - were also expected to put on an air display to be followed by fireworks.

    The display team aircraft arrived on the island along with Turkish naval ships over the weekend.

    [03] Yilmaz repeats missile threats

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE government's plan to deploy S-300 missiles could lead to renewed conflict on the island, Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz warned during a visit to the occupied north yesterday.

    "Greece and Greek Cypriots have not learnt the lessons of history," Yilmaz said on the 24th anniversary of the Turkish invasion. "I want to point out that the events of 24 years ago remind us how dangerous this is," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying.

    "We will not refrain from taking every kind of precaution," Yilmaz said, repeating Turkish threats to prevent deployment of the Russian ground-to- air-missiles.

    Yilmaz did not mince his words, warning against ignoring Turkey's threats: "There are historical examples of how seriously the word of the Turks should be taken."

    The government insists that the S-300s deal will go ahead, with deployment in November.

    "The S-300s are not just our problem but the problem of the whole of Europe and the US," Yilmaz added. The European Union and United States have made clear their opposition to the missile deal, saying it increases tensions in Cyprus.

    The Turkish Prime Minister attended a military parade to mark the anniversary of the invasion and met Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    The Greek side responded by dismissing Yilmaz's threat and protesting about his visit and the arrival of Turkish ships and airplanes to mark the anniversary.

    Greek Interior Minister Alecos Papadopoulos - in Nicosia to attend memorials marking the invasion - dismissed Yilmaz's threats as a "commonplace phenomenon".

    "They do not affect the fighting spirit of Hellenism," Papadopoulos said. "The visit of the Turkish Prime Minister to the occupied areas is nothing more than a further link in the endless chain of Turkish provocations."

    Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides called on "foreigners" to prove their impartiality by doing something about the arrival of Turkish warships and planes in the north.

    "The necessary protests will certainly be lodged with the UN. But this is not the issue: the issue is that heaven and earth were moved because four Greek fighter jets landed in Paphos. I want to see what will happen now after these Turkish provocations," he said.

    Turkey sent F-16 jets to Cyprus last month in retaliation for the landing of Greek air force jets at the Paphos airbase, prompting US-led calls for a no-fly zone over Cyprus.

    In Athens, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday Yilmaz's visit to the occupied areas proved that Ankara was not interested in defusing tension on the island.

    "The presence of so many Turkish officials and forces on Cyprus is a sign of weakness. It confirms that Turkey illegally occupied part of the island and has no intention of easing the crisis," Reppas said.

    [04] Clerides calls for compromise

    PRESIDENT Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash came out with starkly contrasting invasion day messages on Sunday. Clerides tried to strike a conciliatory note, calling on Greek Cypriots to make compromises for the sake of unity with Turkish Cypriots. Denktash recalled past divisions and urged Turkish Cypriots to trust only Turkey.

    "Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, by respecting ethnic, religious and language differences, should as Cypriots make all those compromises necessary if we are to live together again in our common country," Clerides said in his televised message.

    He called for negotiation to take the place of confrontation.

    "The international policy of the cold war, which was based on division and confrontation, has been abandoned. Its place has been taken by a policy of dialogue, solving local and regional problems, co-operation and mutual support. We all have to join in this consensual and unifying trend of all the peoples in the world," Clerides said.

    He reiterated the government's invitation to the Turkish Cypriots to join Cyprus's European Union accession talks team.

    But on a sterner note, Clerides defended the country's right to defend herself. "Our decision to continue to strengthen our defences with every kind of defensive weapon which we believe will maximise our security is irreversible," he said. He re-stated the government position that this stance would only change if there was progress towards a settlement or a demilitarisation deal.

    Denktash, in an address broadcast by Bayrak radio at midday on Sunday, recalled that during the period 1963-1974 the Turkish Cypriots "did not surrender when the Greek Cypriots had knives at their throats".

    "We trusted our motherland and we won," he said.

    He said that the Turkish Cypriot people's future security, existence, progress and economic development depended on close co-operation and "fraternal solidarity" with Turkey.

    "If we are aware of this, there is nothing we cannot achieve," he said.

    Denktash also urged the Turkish Cypriots never to forget the martyrs who had laid down their lives for the cause, and expressed his gratitude to Turkey for invading in 1974.

    [05] Cypriots around the world mark anniversary of 1974

    By Andy Georgiades

    CYPRIOTS around the world have declared support for their homeland in demonstrations marking the 24th anniversary of the Turkish invasion.

    Record numbers participated in marches and memorials organised in Britain, Australia, the United States and Canada.

    In Britain, 20,000 people marched through London and ended up at Trafalgar Square on Sunday, waving placards protesting against Turkey's occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974.

    Representing the government at the rally was keynote speaker Dinos Michaelides, Minister of the Interior, who said Cypriots worldwide must put pressure on their own governments to bring justice to Cyprus.

    "Our struggle is difficult, but we shall not cease to demand our rights, we shall not stop knocking on every door and raise the Cyprus question at every international forum," he said.

    Michaelides added that Cypriots will not give up their struggle to unify the island once more.

    Coinciding with the rally, The National Federation of Cypriots in the UK sent a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair asking him to "redouble (his) efforts in the search for a settlement" in order to "open the way for better and stronger relations with Turkey".

    A letter was also sent to the prime minister on July 15 by three conservative MPs who believe the "close link" between Britain and Cyprus holds the UK responsible for finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem.

    Sir Sydney Chapman, Nicholas Hawkins and David Ames wrote that the Clerides government is being "positive" while the Turkish Cypriot leader "refuses to make the commitment for peace".

    In Australia, the largest congregations took place in Melbourne and Sydney, where thousands marched and chanted, holding lit candles and pictures of the missing.

    [06] New health probe launched into death of young man

    By Charlie Charalambous

    WITH the Health Ministry inquiry into the Makarios Hospital to be published today, a separate investigation into alleged medical negligence has also been launched.

    It follows serious allegations by Disy deputy Isidoras Makrides, during a recent House Health Committee meeting, concerning the death of a young patient.

    The deputy said a young man who was injured in a Larnaca traffic accident spent most of his time being shuttled in an ambulance between the town and the capital.

    When first taken to Larnaca general hospital, his injuries were thought to be serious enough for him to undergo a scan, and he was ferried to Nicosia's general hospital.

    Once there the traffic victim spent three days in intensive care, said the deputy.

    Makrides' said that the patient, although suffering a high fever, was then transferred back to the Larnaca hospital for further treatment.

    Then, at a time when the patient's health was deteriorating, he was inexplicably sent back to Nicosia general where he later died, according to the deputy.

    After questions were asked by the health committee about the behaviour of the doctors involved, the ministry decided to appoint an in-house investigator.

    The findings of the enquiry are expected to be made public next week.

    Meanwhile, Health Minister Christos Solomis will hold a news conference this morning to announce the conclusions of the Makarios hospital investigation.

    It was launched last week after the hospital's top paediatric surgeon, Eleni Theocharous, accused nurses of disrupting scheduled operations, resulting in the children concerned having to be sent home.

    [07] Two tourists die in pools

    AN ENGLISH tourist was found drowned in his hotel swimming pool early yesterday morning, less than 24 hours after an Irish holidaymaker met a similar fate.

    Darren Lawley, 27, died after becoming unconscious during an early morning swim at about 2.30.

    Police said the victim was dragged from the bottom of the pool by his friends at an Ayia Napa holiday complex.

    Lawley was taken to a local private clinic where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

    Ayia Napa police, who are investigating the incident, said the body showed no external injuries and an autopsy would take place at Larnaca general hospital today.

    Earlier on Sunday, 84-year-old Irish holidaymaker John Courtney was found unconscious by his family in a Paphos swimming pool.

    Police suspect death was due to natural causes.

    [08] Couple 'may lose flat because of bishop'

    By Elias Hazou

    ACCUSATIONS about Limassol Bishop Chrysanthos' alleged business dealings continue to fly.

    In an interview with Simerini, Costakis Pavlides and his wife Toula said that they could lose their apartment because of their involvement with the transfer of a Larnaca hotel to Chrysanthos.

    According to the couple, they "came to be" guarantors for the hotel's equipment in three separate contracts. But Pavlides claims that he signed only one contract, and he has suggested that his signature was forged for the other two. He intends to report the matter to the police, he told the paper.

    The bishop had reportedly agreed to buy the hotel for $600,000, but the deal later fell through and the property was returned to its original owner. Pavlides says that Chrysanthos still owed some money to the hotel owner, and that he (Pavlides) was identified as the guarantor for these debts. When the deal did not proceed, the banks involved sought payment from the Pavlides couple.

    Toula Pavlides says she phoned Chrysanthos about ten days ago and pleaded with him to settle the debt because she might end up losing her apartment. Her husband has alleged that following that telephone conversation, he received another call by someone who warned him to stop harassing the bishop.

    Meanwhile British detectives are due on the island to question the bishop over an alleged attempt to defraud a British investor out of 3.7 million. Chrysanthos is currently abroad, but his lawyer has denied that he left Cyprus in order to avoid being questioned by the detectives.

    [09] Supreme Court rejects church plea

    THE Supreme Court has rejected the Anglican Church's petition for a licence to construct a church in the occupied north.

    The Jerusalem and the East Mission Trust, the Cyprus branch of the Anglican Church, had planned to build in Kyrenia, but the Cabinet ruled that such a procedure was not feasible.

    Because the property lies in the north, the Cyprus Republic authorities are unable to exercise any control over it, and therefore cannot grant a licence for its transferral to the Anglican Church. The land is owned by the Colonial and Continental Church foundation.

    An appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse that ruling has now been denied.

    [10] EU Commissioner advises on EU harmonisation

    PADRAIG Flynn, European Union Commissioner responsible for Employment and Social Affairs, is on a three-day visit to the island at the invitation of Minister of Labour Andreas Moushiouttas.

    During his stay Flynn will advise the government on measures to harmonise existing labour legislation with the acquis communautaire.

    Moushiouttas said he hoped his meetings with the Commissioner will prove to be a milestone in the country's EU accession efforts.

    Flynn said that the Cyprus economy satisfies the Maastricht criteria, but that an interim period of adjustment is necessary before the actual harmonisation process begins.

    He will also hold talks with the ministers of foreign affairs and health, and with George Vassiliou, head of the negotiating team for the island's accession.

    Cyprus began EU accession talks at the end of March, after applying for membership in 1990.

    [11] Drug smuggler gets nine years

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A 46-year-old Cypriot man was jailed for nine years yesterday for his role in the importation of 115 kilos of cannabis from Bulgaria.

    Stavros Kourouniades, from Dherynia, was found guilty by the Assizes court on six charges concerning the import, possession and supply of a large quantity of drugs.

    He was arrested last December after two drug suspects named him as their supplier. He later named Demetris Frangou as the ringleader in the Cyprus- Bulgaria drug trafficking network.

    But the court was satisfied that the accused played a significant role as the receiver of the drugs in Cyprus and was then responsible for their distribution.

    The cannabis hoard was found hidden in containers carrying charcoal, which were sent to Kourouniades from Bulgaria.

    In his defence his lawyer said it was the first time he had got involved in drugs and had a clean criminal record.

    The court was also asked to consider that Kourouniades was forced to deal in drugs because of intense financial pressures which were leading him to bankruptcy.

    His lawyer said that it was Frangou, in Bulgaria, who pressured had Kourouniades into drug dealing and it was Frangou who had organised the whole operation.

    Although the court took into consideration that the accused was not the mastermind behind the scam, it decided that Kourouniades had taken a willing part in executing the plan.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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