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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-05-25

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, May 25, 2001


  • [01] Markides pledges to reopen case condemned by Euro court
  • [02] Vote for free love and Plato's Republic
  • [03] Pilot of plane downed by Israelis had been living in Cyprus
  • [04] Coalition 'government' in north collapses
  • [05] Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press
  • [06] Eurocyopria strike off after minister in hospital dash
  • [07] Scuffles break out as villagers return to the Palace
  • [08] Hefty jail terms for killers of British tourist
  • [09] Picking their way through the trenches
  • [10] Lyssarides: big two are dragging down the standard of debate
  • [11] Ballots delivered to district offices

  • [01] Markides pledges to reopen case condemned by Euro court

    By Martin Hellicar

    ATTORNEY-General Alecos Markides yesterday vowed the state would try to track down those responsible for the police brutality that led to Cyprus being condemned by the European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday.

    But Markides said the difficulty of finding witnesses to the inhuman treatment meted out to nine Turkish Cypriot detainees in 1994 made the job of apportioning blame "complicated".

    President Glafcos Clerides is to call a top level meeting next week to look at ways of stamping out the kind of abuse that got Cyprus into hot water with the European rights court.

    The Strasbourg-based court slammed Cyprus for the inhuman treatment of nine Turkish Cypriots arrested in 1994 after the murder of Greek Cypriot pro- Kurd activist Theophilos Georgiades.

    The court found that the Turkish Cypriots, expelled to the occupied areas in April 1994, had been mistreated during a two-week detention and were told they would be killed if they set foot in the government-controlled areas again. The court ruling includes shocking accounts of brutal police beatings.

    The Strasbourg court added that it had been unable to clear up the death of one of the nine, Ilkner Tufansoy, who was shot and killed after re-entering the government-controlled areas in June 1994.

    A 1994 Justice Ministry probe into complaints lodged by the nine Turkish Cypriots found that Cyprus police had done no wrong.

    But Wednesday's stinging court ruling is prompting the government to look at the case again. The Attorney-general said the government was keen to find those responsible for the 1994 attacks. "We will certainly look at this issue, but I cannot say more at this time," Markides told the Cyprus Mail.

    But he said the issue was not simple: "It is a complicated issue and we will have to study it because we do not know if we have any witnesses."

    The Green party yesterday called for an independent investigation into the 1994 events to determine who was responsible for the brutality. "This (court) decision once again proves how thick-skinned the authorities, and the police in particular, are on issues of ill-treatment of citizens," the fringe party stated in a press release.

    Attorney-general Markides said the government was determined to take action to prevent a repeat of such actions. He said the President had decided to call a meeting for next week to look at how best to do this.

    The government has stated it will comply fully with the European Court ruling, which ordered Cyprus to pay 20,000 compensation to each of the eight surviving Turkish Cypriots and to Tufansoy's mother.

    Markides again expressed the government's "sorrow" over the damning rights court ruling, but insisted the ill-treatment referred to by the court represented an isolated incident of police brutality.

    The Attorney-general also said all Council of Europe member states had been hit with similar judgments in the past.

    The damning decision came just two weeks after Cyprus won a significant legal victory before the same court, when Turkey was found guilty of a whole series of human rights violations arising from the 1974 invasion.

    Markides yesterday suggested it would be "sacrilege" to try to place the two rulings in the same basket. He said the ruling against Turkey was a far more serious matter, as it referred to continuous violation of human rights on a massive scale over decades.

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] Vote for free love and Plato's Republic

    By Melina Demetriou

    ACCORDING to some political analysts and most cynical punters, most candidates seeking election to the Parliament on Sunday have pretty much identical policies, calling for things such as better education, a crackdown on crime and action on drugs.

    But one independent candidate from Paphos does stand out, with a set of ideas that would certainly break new ground in the House of Representatives.

    It would be an understatement to say that 43-year-old Costas Kyriacou Outopos, a Paphian farmer, has high political aspirations:

    "I want to rule the planet and implement Plato's Republic. I would start from Cyprus of course. If I become a deputy, then I might stand as a candidate in the Presidential elections in 2002. My idea is to build a communist society where all would have equal opportunities and live with dignity.

    "Everyone will have a place to live, food, clothes and a job. People would work in turns. There would be no cars, no nations and no borders. This way the Cyprus Problem would be solved too," Outopos pointed out.

    Wasn't he just a Trotskyist, like so many others on the ultra-left-wing fringe?

    "No, my idea comes from some other planets," Outopos replied.

    But some might be tempted by one of his policies:

    "People are polygamous and they should be able to enjoy free love. It is very oppressive and boring to live your life with one person only. Could you have the same food for lunch everyday?" he asks the voters.

    But Outopos believes it should be women pulling the strings.

    "I am in favour of matriarchy. Women should have many different lovers and choose who is the best to have children with, depending on looks and brains."

    Outopos appeared optimistic that he would be elected to Parliament, saying that many Paphian voters supported him.

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Pilot of plane downed by Israelis had been living in Cyprus

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE pilot of a Cessna aircraft shot down over Israel yesterday had been living in Cyprus until the day before the incident. "According to the information I have, the man was living in Cyprus but was a Lebanese national of Armenian descent," Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

    According to a radio report, the man, named as 43-year-old Stephan Ohannis Nicolian had arrived in Lebanon from Cyprus on Wednesday. The government spokesman could not confirm how long the man had been living in Cyprus and did not expect to have any further details until today.

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] Coalition 'government' in north collapses

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE COALITION 'government' of Turkish occupied northern Cyprus collapsed yesterday amid disagreement over what stance to take on the future of the divided island.

    "The National Unity Party (UBP) assembly approved the breaking up of the coalition and the formation of a new government," UBP general secretary Vehbi Zeki Serter said. He said the party, which has 23 of the 50 seats in parliament and is led by 'Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu, was starting talks with other parties to form a new coalition.

    The powers of the 'government' in the north are far outweighed by those of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. And while Ankara insists the occupied north is independent, the Turkish army maintains 30,000 troops on the island and Turkey has very close links.

    Party sources said the UBP's coalition with the Communal Liberation Party (TKP) had collapsed because of differences over the stance on a solution for Cyprus. Proximity talks between the two sides broke down at the end of last year when Denktash decided to boycott the talks until his regime was granted international recognition.

    "There was a difference of opinion as regards the National Cause," a TKP source said, adding that economic problems had also contributed to the collapse of the coalition, founded after elections in late 1998.

    TKP leader Mustafa Akinci said he was not happy with the current situation. "Unfortunately decisions regarding the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are being made elsewhere," he told Reuters.

    The UBP is expected to form a 'government' with the Democratic Party of Serdar Denktash, son of the Turkish Cypriot leader. The two parties held lengthy talks on Wednesday afternoon.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail that the government was still gathering information on political developments in the north and that he would comment on the situation today.

    The collapse of the coalition comes at a time of growing concern in Turkey about the implications of Cyprus' bid to join the European Union, which is seen as likely to spark a crisis on the island within the next 18 months. Cyprus has been advancing rapidly towards EU accession and is ahead of all the other candidates to join in 2004, EU officials say.

    Turkey has threatened to annex northern Cyprus if a divided Cyprus is admitted to the EU without a peace deal, a move that would threaten Ankara's own EU membership ambitions and pit it against the international community.

    Against that backdrop, some in Turkey have started to warn that Ankara must do something to facilitate a solution, if necessary by sending Denktash back to the talks.

    Commentator Mehmet Ali Birand yesterday wrote in an editorial in the mainland Turkish Daily News that Ankara should accept the reality that the door to the EU will be closed for ever if it does not act now. "The Cyprus issue has always been shaped by Ankara and Athens," he wrote, urging the two countries to start bilateral talks to outline a solution.

    "Denktash will not move without Ankara," Birand said. "Even if he objects at first, he will always comply with Ankara's policies."

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    STAFF at Turkish Cypriot opposition newspaper Avrupa have accused the Denktash regime of planting a bomb that ripped apart its printing press in occupied Nicosia yesterday night, causing extensive damage and putting the paper out of action for at least 24 hours.

    The blast shattered all the windows and blew the doors off their hinges. The paper's guillotine and scanner were completely destroyed, and three other production machines were partly damaged.

    Broken glass littered the street below and damaged a car parked outside.

    The premises were still without electricity yesterday afternoon and no edition of Avrupa was published today.

    The bomb exploded at 3.45am on Thursday morning - just 15 minutes after the last journalists had left for the night.

    An eyewitness, who happened to be looking out of his apartment window, told police that he saw one or two people jump out of a passing car and throw an object through the window.

    The explosion blasted out minutes after the car sped off.

    The newspaper was left counting the cost of the attack after police left yesterday lunchtime, but they don't expect anyone to be brought to justice.

    Son of Avrupa proprietor Sener Levent, Ozman, told the Cyprus Mail that they suspected the Turkish Cypriot authorities were responsible for the sabotage operation.

    The openly critical newspaper has a troubled history with the Denktash regime. Yesterday's bomb was the second explosion in six months.

    A firebomb caused slightly less damage in November 2000, but despite a 'police' investigation, no one was brought to justice.

    Levent said the paper would be printed tomorrow if alternative printing offices could be found.

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [06] Eurocyopria strike off after minister in hospital dash

    By Jean Christou

    A STRIKE by Eurocypria pilots due to begin at midnight last night was called off at the last minute after Communications Minister Averoff Neophytou had to rush to hospital to see his brother, who had suffered a heart attack.

    Before the medical emergency forced Neophytou to rush off to Paphos, the strike looked set to go ahead as last-ditch efforts by the government and Cyprus Airways (CY) to avert the measures came up against a brick wall.

    Neophytou had called a 6pm meeting with Eurocypria pilots. He had to leave 30 minutes into the meeting, informing those present of his brother's heart attack, Eurocypria sources said.

    Eurocypria then decided to call off strike action out of respect for the minister. Eurocypria sources said the strike would probably now take place on Wednesday.

    Earlier yesterday, Minister Neophytou hit out at the strikers, saying he had had enough of disruption within the national carrier and threatening to rush in liberalisation in order to give "others" the chance to do a job he implied CY and Eurocypria were incapable of.

    "The CY pilots are threatening that if Eurocypria pilots' problems are solved than they will go on strike. If Eurocypria's problems are not solved, their pilots will go on strike. Well, it would be difficult, after thousands of years of no one managing to square the circle, for Averoff Neophytou to manage it," the minister said after a morning meeting with Eurocypria and CY pilots.

    He called on the pilots to "for once" put the interests of the whole above their own. Otherwise, he warned, he would have no option but to speed in liberalisation "in order to give the right to other private companies to serve the economy".

    Eight of the charter firm's flights to the UK and various other European destinations would have been affected by the strike, with the likelihood of hundreds of tourists being inconvenienced.

    Sources in Eurocypria told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the minister had asked them during the morning meeting to call off the strike and postpone an earlier agreement they made with Labour Minister Andreas Moushouttas, which had been accepted by CY management.

    The pilots are protesting because CY has not yet begun to implement the accepted agreement to promote two co-pilots to captain in the charter firm.

    CY fears crossing its own pilots in PASIPY who have long laid claim to Eurocypria promotions under a demand for common seniority. A strike by PASIPY would do far more damage than a strike by the smaller charter firm and especially now two days before the elections, according to sources.

    Last year PASIPY reached an agreement with CY to take Eurocypria promotions at the ratio of 6:3 in their favour and in return accepted some cost- cutting measures including lower wage scales for entry-level pilots.

    This agreement however contradicts other agreements the company has with the Eurocypria pilots. CY has made conflicting agreements with both unions in an attempt to keep the peace and prevent industrial action by either one.

    The latest 'Moushouttas' agreement was to be a gesture of goodwill towards the Eurocypria pilots but PASIPY has said if it was implemented they would view it has a violation of their agreement.

    "Now they want to shove a completely new proposal at us which involves putting off the two promotions until next January," the Eurocypria sources said.

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [07] Scuffles break out as villagers return to the Palace

    By George Psyllides

    SCUFFLES broke out yesterday outside the Presidential Palace between police and residents of Pera Orinis village who insisted on seeing the President to protest about the allegedly unfair treatment their community has been receiving from the government.

    Two people were slightly injured during the trouble.

    It was the second consecutive day the residents had converged on the palace.

    On Wednesday, 233 out of the 300 residents of the Nicosia district village handed in their voting cards in protest for the fact that the government was "undermining their community"

    Their main grievance is that funds for the area are handled by nearby Palehori Morphou and they say none of it ever finds its way to their community.

    "We want to become autonomous. Decisions concerning our village are not taken by our community but by Palehori Morphou," the villagers complained.

    On Wednesday, a delegation of residents met with Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou, who said that the Attorney-general had to rule over the issue.

    But unconvinced residents returned to Nicosia yesterday and demanded to see President Glafcos Clerides.

    Their demand was refused, and the situation escalated rapidly with the residents blocking the entrance and exit to the palace.

    The police rapid reaction unit arrived on the scene and clashes broke out, with two villagers injured. They were rushed to hospital for treatment.

    Police arrested village Mukhtar Tassos Michaelides, who was later released without charge.

    Michaelides said: "We asked to see the President and instead we were dragged like a sack of potatoes.

    "This is the Republic of Cyprus of 2001."

    Michaelides accused the government of preferential treatment, saying that they had been asking to see the Interior Minister since July 1999, but to no avail.

    Michaelides said that Christodoulou met with them yesterday because he was forced to after they handed in their voting cards.

    "In order for them to move, pressure is needed," he said.

    The Mukhtar said the government had been dragging its feet for one-and-a- half years, claiming they needed the Attorney-general's ruling to resolve the funding issue.

    "And for one-and-a-half years they have been giving the money to Palehori Morphou," he said.

    Michaelides said his protest was not politically motivated, adding that whatever they did they did for their community.

    He charged the government with trying to portray them as politically motivated to justify its negligence.

    "Their negligence, which stems from friendships they have with certain individuals in the presidential palace."

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [08] Hefty jail terms for killers of British tourist

    By a Staff Reporter

    TWO Limassol teenagers were yesterday handed stiff prison sentences for bludgeoning to death a 41-year-old British tourist near the town's old port in April last year.

    The Limassol Assizes sentenced Christos Christodoulou, alias Kattos, to 13 years behind bars and Andreas Kyriacou, alias Panouri, to 14 years behind bars. Kattos and Panouri, both 19, had been found guilty of killing Briton Graham Mill, 41, on April 19, 2000.

    The two teenagers were convicted for manslaughter and robbery. In passing sentence, the court noted that the two teenagers, who had pleaded not guilty, had shown no remorse for their actions. Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in Cyprus.

    The court heard that Kattos and Panouri had been drinking with Mill in a bar near the old Limassol port just before the fatal attack. Mill left the bar before the two teenagers. They caught up with him on the seafront near the old port and attacked him, robbing him before bludgeoning him to death with stones.

    Panouri was handed a longer sentence because the court found he had been the instigator for the deadly mugging.

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [09] Picking their way through the trenches

    By Jean Christou

    TOURISTS were thin on the ground near the hotels around the Amathus area yesterday as the controversial road works drove them to shop and eat further away from the noise and dust.

    Dozens of workers lined both sides of the road as cars snaked their way around the barriers and pedestrians had to choose between clambering over rubble or taking their chances in the traffic.

    Those using a bus, which pulled up outside one of the hotels, had to stretch across a trench to get on board, while workers poured tarmac on the stretch of road outside the hotels.

    On the other side, tourists Pat and Ray Luff from Portsmouth struggled to negotiate an unshielded gaping hole, only a foot from the entrance to the Amathusia restaurant.

    The couple's daughter lives in Cyprus and they said they had visited the island quite often over the past five years.

    "We come here quite a lot but there is always something," Ray said. "These things should be done before the tourist trade starts. They seem to take so long."

    Pat said the worst part was that pedestrians were not being taken into account. "There are no footpaths. It's terrible. It's not so bad for the young ones but not for older people," she said. "When they do road works they don't make provisions for pedestrians. They're not worried about whether people can walk along here or not."

    Amathusia owner Elias Vassiliou told the Cyprus Mail his business had dropped by 50 per cent due to the road works.

    "This year things are really bad. Nobody is coming in," he said. "It's very bad. They promised to finish the south side by May 21 and pavements on north side, and to complete this side by June 25 but as you see, they haven't."

    Expat Peter Brewer from London, who lives in Ayios Tychonas, said the situation was dangerous for most people and impossible for those in wheelchairs.

    "They've been digging up Limassol ever since I've been here and that's 11 years now," he said. "It bothers me because they dig up everything at once. For tourists it must be a nightmare. The cars don't take any notice of the people. And people in wheelchairs, how they get around I don't know. There are no facilities and no ramps for them."

    The extensive road works were featured on Monday night in the British television show Wish You Were Here, which drew a huge response from tourists who planned to holiday on the island this summer.

    One British couple, Chris and Kerry Mills form Sussex, who live in Trachoni and were aware of the ITV programme, said they didn't agree fully with the content, although they did sympathise with those tourists who were not prepared for the situation or had not been told the full extent of the problem.

    "I think the works are horrendous actually and we feel sorry for the tourists," Kerry said. "We've just seen two of them absolutely stranded over on the other side and they have tarmac in front of them that's just been done so they couldn't step on that, and the rest of the bits have been dug up and there's only one piece of road where the cars are going."

    Chris blamed the tour operators in the UK for not giving out enough information.

    "The work has to be done but the problem we found is that the travel agents in the UK are not warning the tourists at all. They come here expecting perfect roads and everything, and are not being told."

    He said tourists coming here should not expect that the work could be done by waving a magic wand and that things were not much better in the UK when it came to road works. "It's unfortunate for the tourists but that's the way it is," he said. "Those Wish You Were Here people should have done a programme on the works on the M1 for tourists coming to the UK."

    "Isn't it typical that out of all the beautiful places in Cyprus that have had works done, they go and pick on the pieces with the road works that need to be done," Kerry added. "Of course we are a bit biased because we love it out here. I even remember when there weren't any roads."

    British journalist Mary Tomlinson, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Journalists told the Cyprus Mail yesterday she has just arrived on the island and was staying at the Amathus. She said the Wish You Were Here programme was "appalling"

    "The road works here are no worse than anywhere else in Europe," she said. "I think the programme was way over the top. There was far too much said and shown and they picked the worst spots to show."

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [10] Lyssarides: big two are dragging down the standard of debate

    By Melina Demetriou

    ONE DAY before the end of election campaigning, Vassos Lyssarides, the leader of the Social Democratic Party KISOS, yesterday accused the two big parties, AKEL and DISY, of downgrading the standard of political debate by turning them into a football match.

    Addressing a news conference three days before Sunday's Parliamentary elections, Lyssarides said he was sad that the burning issues that concerned the people were not part of most parties' election campaigns.

    "We tried to reinforce serious political dialogue, but we didn't have much luck because of the two big parties," he complained.

    Lyssarides made a "last plea of agony" with the people to do some thinking about the burning social, economic and national issues, such as the need for a universal health plan and the cause of the Cyprus Stock Exchange, before deciding which party to vote for.

    Lyssarides also charged that some parties were "stealing ideologies."

    "People who are not proud of their ideologies cannot appeal to voters. I am very proud of being a social democrat, despite mistakes that have been made by social democratic parties. I believe democratic socialism is the only pro-people ideology."

    But with campaigning coming to an end, AKEL yesterday stepped up attacks at ruling DISY.

    AKEL spokesman Nicos Katsourides criticised what he called as "the autocratic policy of the government and DISY during the pre-election period."

    "The government and DISY have become the one and the same and DISY's leader Nicos Anastassiades has been transformed into president of the Council of Ministers. He obliges ministers to obey to his wishes and to break the President's rule (to stay out of the election campaign). When ministers don't do as he says he threatens to 'sort them out after the elections.' " Katsourides claimed.

    Katsourides also claimed that Anastassiades had threatened senior right- wing government officials that he would fire them if they did not follow his instructions.

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [11] Ballots delivered to district offices

    By a Staff Reporter

    MORE than 500,000 ballots were yesterday delivered to the six district offices, three days before the Parliamentary elections on Sunday, while brand new ballot boxes were taken to the International Conference Centre in Nicosia.

    The Centre will be guarded until the boxes are transferred to polling stations on Sunday.

    The ballots will be distributed to 1,131 polling stations across the country on the day of the elections. There will be 300 more polling stations than there were at the last elections.

    A total of 467,182 voters are registered to vote. Sixty thousand more people are expected to vote than in the last elections, most of them first- time voters. The number of registered voters by electoral constituency is: 172,755 in Nicosia, 96,082 in Limassol, 93,111 in Famagusta, 45,130 in Larnaca, and 35,488 in Paphos.

    Of the 56 parliamentary seats up for grabs, 21 are in the Nicosia district, 12 in Limassol, 11 in Famagusta, five in Larnaca, four in Paphos, and three are reserved for the occupied Kyrenia district.

    Ten thousand civil servants are working for the elections at a cost of 2 million.

    Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 5pm on Sunday, with a one- hour break between midday and 1pm. Counting of votes will start at 6pm at joint district counting centres in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Paralimni. For the first time, the counting will be carried out digitally.

    General results will be out by 2am, and by 8am on Monday the first group of candidates securing enough votes to make it into Parliament will be announced. The second group of candidates will be announced at 5pm on Monday.

    The first session of the new House will be held on June 7.

    Bomb rips apart Avrupa printing press

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

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