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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 00-03-21

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, March 21, 2000


  • [01] Paphos Bishop’s snub leaves church on the brink of schism
  • [02] Denktash sure a solution can be found
  • [03] Galanos Brothers lawsuit joins list of 40 Euro court cases against Turkey
  • [04] Six Cypriots among Britain’s richest
  • [05] Two British soldiers killed in crash on unfinished motorway
  • [06] New complaints bureau for communications ministry
  • [07] Missing 84-year-old found safe

  • [01] Paphos Bishop’s snub leaves church on the brink of schism

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE PAPHOS Bishop's antipathy for his Limassol counterpart is creating a serious rift within the Cyprus Orthodox Church.

    Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos has not presided at a service alongside Bishop Athanasios of Limassol since the latter was enthroned almost a year ago.

    Things came to a head on Sunday, when Bishop Chrysostomos stayed away from a service to mark the Feast of Orthodoxy at the Ayion Panton church in Dherynia. The special service was meant to be presided over by all the members of the Holy Synod.

    Archbishop Chrysostomos did not mince his words in commenting after the service. He said a Bishop's refusal to share the communion cup with a fellow-Bishop was "to some degree a schism."

    Bishop Chrysostomos of Kition weighed in with an unbridled attack on his Paphos namesake: "Even primary school children know that such behaviour is irregular and risks excommunication," he said.

    Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos hit back by commenting on his Kition counterpart that "people in glass houses should not throw stones."

    Yesterday, the Bishop of Paphos seemed to be doing his best to keep a lid on things, denying there was any schism and insisting his absence on Sunday had been for "personal" reasons.

    Church observers appeared divided on the issue, but the local media was unanimous in its diagnosis of the situation: Sunday was the outward manifestation of a "civil war" or "minor schism" within the Synod.

    The Paphos Bishop first made his dislike for Athanasios plain in the run-up to last year's elections for Limassol Bishop, which Athanasios eventually won. In an apparent attempt to scupper Athanasios' credentials, the Paphos Bishop claimed Athanasios' octogenarian mentor had been guilty of molesting nuns.

    The Paphos Bishop yesterday insisted his no-show on Sunday was simply not a matter for the public or the media to concern itself with.

    "I have my opinions but they are seriously personal, they do not concern anyone else but me and the Synod," the bishop said.

    The reasons for his absence on Sunday were "strictly personal" and did "not necessarily" have anything to do with Athanasios, he said.

    "There is no schism in the Church... the Church is not a dictatorship, my not going to the service on Sunday is not the end of the world."

    The Bishop said he was "at one" with the whole Church every time he presided over a service and accused the media of blowing things out of all proportion.

    He took another pot shot at the Kition Bishop, saying his colleague had been given short shrift by the Synod when he had raised the issue of the Paphos Bishop's absence from previous Church functions attended by Athanasios.

    "The Bishop of Kition tabled the issue of my absence at the two last meetings of the Synod and got the answer from the Synod that it did not constitute a schism and a Synod member could be away," the Paphos Bishop said.

    Theologian Theodoros Kyriacou commented that the Paphos Bishop's absence was indeed a Church "schism." He said he was surprised at the Paphos Bishop's comment that the matter did not concern the public.

    Kyriacou said the Synod had a duty to call on the Paphos and Limassol bishops to lay aside their differences and "punish" them if they did not.

    Athanasios has never been drawn into making any comment in reply to any of the Paphos Bishop's attacks.

    Another Church expert, Costis Kyriakides, said talk of a "schism" was premature but admitted the situation could develop into such if left unchecked.

    Kyriakides preferred to call the situation a "family spat" and suggested the Paphos Bishop's actions were a reaction to the fact that he was no longer the Archbishop's favourite.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou refused to comment on the spat yesterday but made a plea for "harmony" within the Church.

    The local Orthodox Church's image has in recent years been tarnished by a number of "scandals" and bouts of public squabbling. Not least among these was the charging of Athanasios' predecessor, Chrysanthos, on suspicion of involvement in multi-million pound financial scams. The disgraced former Bishop is currently on trial on fraud charges.

    Recent opinion polls suggest the public perceive the Church as being in crisis.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2000

    [02] Denktash sure a solution can be found

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday he was sure a solution could be found to the division of the island.

    Speaking during a televised news conference in Turkey, Denktash said: "I am certain that a way will be found, without compromising what we call our national line and without injustice to the Greek Cypriots, that preserves their rights and ours".

    He said there was a growing agreement for a confederal solution, even among Greek Cypriots, claiming a recent poll in the free areas had found that 72 per cent of Greek Cypriots no longer wanted a federal settlement.

    The Turkish Cypriot side is seeking a confederation of two "states" on the island as opposed to the internationally acceptable bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    Denktash and President Glafcos Clerides are to attend a third round of proximity talks in May in New York in the latest international attempt to resolve the dispute.

    United Nations officials and other international envoys involved the talks process have warned not to expect any rapid progress and have ruled out face-to-face talks for the moment.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader is also running for re-election on April 15 as ‘president’ of the breakaway `state' in the north and has won backing from Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

    At the joint news conference yesterday, Ecevit said: "For the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to have Mr Denktash as a leader is a great good fortune for Turkish Cypriots and for Turkey."

    Denktash said the European Union's acceptance late last year of Turkey as a candidate for membership had helped the search for a solution in Cyprus. "The roads to a solution have become more clear because the EU has opened the door to Turkey," he said.

    While not specifically mentioning his proposal of a confederation, Denktash did call on EU member countries to recognise the existence of two sovereign entities on the island.

    "Our wish... is that particularly countries in the EU give a clearer, better and effective message that the two sides are equal, that they are both sovereign and that they say to the Greek Cypriots: 'You are not the government of the Turks'."

    According to the Turkish Daily News (TDN), Ecevit told reporters there had been some very serious and positive developments regarding Cyprus recently, and that the international acknowledgement that the Greek Cypriot side had no jurisdiction over northern Cyprus was one of those.

    "More and more countries have started to acknowledge the fact that an independent and sovereign state exists in northern Cyprus," he said, adding that Denktash's leadership had made great contributions towards achieving this result.

    Avoiding direct reference to the upcoming `presidential' polls in northern Cyprus, Ecevit said: "I wish him and all our Turkish Cypriot brethren success."

    It was not only Ecevit who extended Denktash full support, TDN said.

    Speaking at a ceremony at the Cankaya Presidential Palace later in the day for the presentation of the Ankara Journalists' Association's (TGC) "Man of the Year" award to Denktash, President Suleyman Demirel said he could not possibly capture in words the contributions Denktash has made to the Cypriot national cause.

    Denktash has established his re-election bid on a pledge to work to end the Cyprus problem in a loose confederation of two independent `states'.

    Observers say the start of the proximity talks and the positive atmosphere pumping up expectations of a Cyprus settlement have boosted Denktash’s chances of re-election.

    TDN said added that many Greek Cypriots and international mediators had also pinned their hopes for a Cyprus settlement on the success of Denktash in his re-election bid, as they fear a victory by "prime Minister’ Dervis Eroglu could steer Cyprus settlement efforts into yet another deadlock.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2000

    [03] Galanos Brothers lawsuit joins list of 40 Euro court cases against Turkey

    By Anthony O. Miller

    GALANOS Brothers Ltd yesterday added their names to the growing number of Greek Cypriots suing Turkey for denying them use of their property in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus with a lawsuit filed against Turkey in the European Court of Human Rights.

    The case is one of some 40 such lawsuits that Galanos' Nicosia lawyer, Achilleas Demetriades, said he has filed on behalf of Greek Cypriots against Turkey for keeping them from enjoying their land in the occupied north.

    The suit by Galanos, a Limassol-based distributor of foodstuffs, does not seek specific damages "at his stage" for the seven pieces of land in occupied Famagusta that held "a biscuit factory, flour mill, various ancillary operations as well as a store and freezer facilities - their production capability," Demetriades said.

    "Basically you make application to the European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe (CoE), in Strasbourg, France," he said. The court considers the case, sends Turkey a copy, deliberates, issues a ruling on finding a violation of rights, and awards compensation, he said.

    With some 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees from Turkey's 1974 invasion in the Republic, the Galanos suit is just one of possible thousands that could hit Turkey with huge political and financial liabilities for denying them access to their land.

    In one suit filed by Demetriades, the Court in 1998 ordered Turkey to pay Titina Loizidou some $914,000 for denying her the right to enjoy her land in occupied Kyrenia. That award entailed $600,000 for denial of use; $40, 000 for moral damages; and $274,000 for legal costs.

    Based on the number of invasion refugees, an extrapolation from the Loizidou ruling would slap Turkey with a potential financial liability of at least $16 billion for loss of use alone.

    And this figure would not begin to address the value of the land or buildings involved, since their titles remain to this day in the names of the original refugees, Demetriades said. And it would also not be affected by any Cyprus settlement, he added.

    "The interesting thing about these cases and the message that Loizidou has sent is that the individual also has rights, and these rights can be vindicated through the European Court quite separately from any Cyprus settlement," he said.

    "They are 'accrued rights'", he said. "These people have been deprived of the use of their property obviously since 1974... From that loss of use of property, they have an accrued right... independent of whatever (Cyprus) solution is reached."

    "And whatever compensation these people receive, is only for the loss of use; it's not for losing title to the land... because they haven't lost title to the land. That's the whole point," he said.

    Then there is the political cost to Turkey of continuing to flout the Court's judgment in the Loizidou case, Demetriades said. So far, Turkey has refused to pay her any money the Court awarded her for barring her from her Kyrenia land.

    Ankara had argued it had no responsibility for denying her access to her land, but that this had been the responsibility of the breakaway Denktash regime.

    The Court dismissed this claim, ruling that Turkey, by virtue of its 40,000 strong military forces in Northern Cyprus, exercised effective control and was liable.

    "In order to be eligible for EU candidacy, you have to abide by... a certain level of human rights. That level is determined by membership in the Council of Europe, and obviously by abiding by the judgments of the Court," Demetriades said.

    "If that is not done, then there is a serious reason for Turkey no longer to be eligible for the EU application (extended last December to Ankara in Helsinki) because of this non-compliance with the norms that it voluntarily undertook to abide by in joining the Council of Europe," he said.

    "The only orthodox way to force a state to comply with a (Court) judgment is through the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which is a political body, but which has been in its 50-year history extremely effective in that not a single state has in the 50-year history avoided honouring a judgment debt," Demetriades said.

    "They would prepare a resolution calling upon Turkey to comply with the judgment (they have already sent Ankara one). If they (Turkey) fail to do that, then there is a mechanism whereby they (the Ministers) will start to take action in order to expel Turkey from the Council of Europe," he said.

    At such a point, all Turkey's EU hopes would be dashed, and all recent Greek-Turkey, EU-Turkey, Cyprus-Turkey detente as regards an eventual EU seat for Ankara would have been just so much wasted time.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2000

    [04] Six Cypriots among Britain’s richest

    SIX CYPRIOTS are placed in The Sunday Times ‘Rich List 2000’, the paper's "definitive guide to wealth" in the UK.

    The highest Cypriot on the list was Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who ranked 44th with an estimated worth of £500 million sterling. The 33-year-old founded the no-frills airline easyJet in 1995. He has since started a successful internet café and plans to increase business with the easy RentaCar venture, which aims to hire out cars for as little as £9 a day. Haji-Ioannou was number 18 on the year's biggest risers with assets up from £313 million in 1998.

    The Sunday Times ranked Chris Lazari 120 on the list, with £250 million. The 53-year-old Cypriot went to Britain in the early 1970's, working as a waiter and starting a fashion business before amassing a fortune in property. Last year he acquired the lease on 25 Berkeley Square, the international headquarters of Cadbury Schweppes, for £42 million, bringing his total property holdings to £240 million. His other assets amount to £10 million.

    Glasgow Cypriot Tasos Symeonides and his wife Ailsa possess a fortune of £135 million, the 228th largest in the UK. The couple co-founded the software development firm Axios. Based in Edinburgh, Axios is the most successful software developer in Scotland. Symeonides, 50, was a senior manager of the Bank of Scotland before starting the software development firm in 1988.

    Also based in Scotland, Sir Reo Stakis and his family are placed 594th on the list after selling the Glasgow hotel chain he founded in 1942. The sale generated £50 million, bringing total family wealth to £56 million when added to other assets. Stakis, who is 87 years old, ranks sixth among the UK's oldest millionaires.

    Pop Icon George Michael's £55 million put him in the 595th spot. Son of a Cypriot businessman, Michael, 36, rose to fame in the 80's as a member of Wham! Despite a conviction for lewd behaviour in Los Angeles, his career has taken off again thanks to recordings such as ‘Songs from Last Century’. Michael is number 20 among the UK's richest music stars.

    Cypriot businessman Theo Paphitis ranked 914th on the list with total assets estimated at £30 million. Paphitis, 40, is current chairman of the Millwall football club. He made his name in property finance and estate agency work. He also rescued the Ryman stationary chain. Other major assets include the lingerie retailer, La Senza.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2000

    [05] Two British soldiers killed in crash on unfinished motorway

    TWO BRITISH soldiers were killed and another two injured when their rented car burst into flames after a head-on collision with a parked asphalt spreader on Sunday.

    The accident happened at around 2 am on an unfinished section of the Limassol to Paphos highway near Pissouri.

    "When police arrived we found two badly burnt bodies and two men who were injured. It's tragic," a police spokesman said.

    The names of the two dead, who are both under 25, had not been released yesterday as their bodies had not been formally identified.

    British base authorities yesterday named the injured soldiers as Michael James Byron and Peter Andrew Hawkins, both 21.

    The conditions of the two injured soldiers - who had been rushed to Limassol hospital in a critical state on Sunday - were yesterday described as serious but out of danger.

    A bases spokesman said Hawkins had undergone stomach surgery while Byron had a fractured tibia.

    A bases doctor visited the injured men at Limassol hospital yesterday, to liaise with doctors there.

    The spokesman said it was not clear how the four soldiers had strayed onto the unfinished road.

    "As a close knit family regiment we are devastated by this tragedy," Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Sharpe, Commanding officer of the 2nd Cheshire Regiment based at Dhekelia.

    The four soldiers in the accident had only arrived on the island three days before the crash.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2000

    [06] New complaints bureau for communications ministry

    APRIL 3 will be the kick-off date for the new Citizens Complaint Bureau in the Ministry of Communications and Works, the bureau's newly appointed director Katerina Economou Siamtani said yesterday.

    "Because the government is not personal, through this service we are trying to build a personal relationship with the citizens," Siamtani said.

    With the inauguration of the new complaint bureau will also come the publication of a government directory, "so they will have name and a telephone numbers they can contact" with a problem," she said.

    The new bureau hopes to be able to handle and reply to "personal complaints that people write or see the minister about, and they expect an answer to," Siamtani said.

    These complaints can range from postal service foul-ups that cause job- applicants to miss interview examination dates, to delays in repairing roads and pavements, or erecting them at all.

    The new bureau will also give citizens instructions in cutting the red tape involved in such things as getting drivers' licenses or simply using the island's airports.

    And it will create a liaison office within the ministry among the various departments to speed up response and sensitivity to citizens' complaints, she said, and to document the shortcomings of the different departments and correct them.

    Siamtani acknowledged that there were still many unfilled vehicle-inspector positions in the Road Transport Department, but blamed this on the seesaw freezing and unfreezing of the positions by the civil service system.

    She said the positions were now being unfrozen and advertised and applications being taken to fill them.

    Vehicle inspection has been a pet project of Traffic Police Chief George Voutounos, a programme he sees as one way to reduce the island's road carnage.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2000

    [07] Missing 84-year-old found safe

    AFTER a massive search, an 84-year-old Mari villager missing since 1am on Saturday was found in a field near Vassiliko cement works at midday on Sunday.

    Police reported that Christodoulos Chrysanthou was exhausted but unhurt when he was found by a police patrol car. The octogenarian was taken to Limassol hospital for precautionary reasons.

    Police officers, a police helicopter and sniffer dog, firemen, government game wardens, National Guardsmen and the missing man's fellow-villagers and relatives had all taken part in a search launched early on Saturday.

    At the time, police said they were particularly concerned about Chrysanthou because he had, of late, been suffering from ill health and forgetfulness.

    Almost 36 hours after his disappearance the 84-year-old was found in a field some 300 metres from the Vassiliko cement factory, just down the road from his home village of Mari, in the Larnaca district.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 2000

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