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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-03-23

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, March 23, 2002


  • [01] Verheugen: Turkey can forget EU if it annexes the north
  • [02] Denktash precariously perched over Cyprus talks
  • [03] Bar and Big Brother back on air after Greek court overturns ban
  • [04] Gypsies say they'll never go back north
  • [05] Halloumi wins 11-year battle for UK trademark
  • [06] Lanitis raise price of milk as liberalisation kicks in
  • [07] Cypriot mother 'to be freed'

  • [01] Verheugen: Turkey can forget EU if it annexes the north

    By Melina Demetriou

    E.U. ENLARGEMENT Commissioner Guenter Verheugen yesterday dismissed Turkish threats to annex the occupied areas if Cyprus joined the EU before a solution, saying such a move would sound the death knell of Turkey's own EU aspirations.

    Speaking in Athens, Verheugen said Cyprus' EU accession - with or without a solution - would strengthen stability in the eastern Mediterranean, dismissing Turkey's claim to the opposite.

    "We have shown that we are not impressed by Turkey's threats to annex northern Cyprus if the island joins the block by 2004 as planned. Besides, Turkey appears to be harmed by those threats it makes," the Commissioner said.

    "If Turkey carries on threatening Cyprus after its accession, then its own accession process will be cancelled. Turkey is very well aware that it cannot possibly annex part of a country that is a member of the EU," he said.

    Talking about Cyprus' accession course at a news conference later in the day, Verheugen said the country had made so much progress that it could make it into the Union sooner than the other candidate countries.

    He added Cyprus' overall progress would be appraised in October.

    Cyprus is expected to sign its entry into the bloc by 2003, together with Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta.

    Verheugen believed EU member states would sign the agreement for Cyprus' accession in the spring of 2003 under the Greek Presidency.

    He also ruled out the idea of a confederal solution to the Cyprus Problem, stressing the need for "a unified state". He insisted the provisions of an agreement on Cyprus should be in line with the European acquis communautaire, adding such a settlement would boost the economy of northern Cyprus.

    The commissioner said Turkey held the keys to a solution, noting that its own accession prospects had encouraged it to make considerable progress on reforms and soften its tone over Cyprus.

    "I found it very promising that nobody repeated the threats which we have seen in the last years," Verheugen said.

    Polls show most Turks favour EU membership, which they associate with prosperity and greater democratic freedoms. Parts of the governing coalition want a clear date for the opening of EU membership talks by the end of the year.

    Meanwhile, US Cyprus envoy Thomas Weston, on an official visit to Cyprus, said yesterday he was now better informed about the current state of affairs in the UN-led peace talks and their prospects.

    The US State Department's special co-ordinator for Cyprus welcomed not only

    the start of direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish

    Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash but also the fact that these talks had been sustained.

    "We had a very productive meeting, discussed the peace process and had a very good exchange," he said yesterday after a meeting with Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

    Weston leaves Cyprus tomorrow for Brussels.

    The UN Security Council will review progress in the Cyprus peace talks in early April after being briefed by the UN Secretary general's special adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto.

    De Soto yesterday sat in on the regular twice-weekly meeting between Clerides and Denktash. The meeting lasted for an hour.

    The two leaders will hold two more meetings next week, on Tuesday and Friday. De Soto travels to Athens and Ankara between the two, before then flying to New York.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Denktash precariously perched over Cyprus talks

    By Ralph Boulton

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's voice rises over the chattering canaries that seem to rule his Nicosia office. He is, he says, in a hurry to join his old Greek friend and adversary in ending a conflict that has riven Cyprus for decades.

    "In two, three months a skeleton (of a deal) must emerge. What we're trying to achieve is that even if two skeletons come up, there'll be a bridge to unite them at the head."

    The image may be macabre, but no more so perhaps than the conflict itself that more than once in the last four decades has brought NATO allies Greece and Turkey to the edge of war. Thousands have died, tens of thousands have been forced from their homes.

    The optimism that marked January's opening of talks between Denktash, 78, and 82-year-old President Glafcos Clerides has faded to a familiar gloom as old disputes come onto the table.

    The European Union may start this summer the process of absorbing Cyprus, over the heads of Turkish Cypriots who have run their own breakaway territory since 1974. That June deadline is thrown into relief by the news that Denktash may need heart surgery in August.

    The EU, which Turkey also seeks to join, has made it clear it expects the skeleton to be there for all to see in the summer.

    Much depends on the chemistry between Denktash and Clerides. They have known each other since British rule in the 1950s when, as lawyers, they were courtroom adversaries.

    "For 18 months we worked together on the (1960 independence) constitution, day and night, eating and drinking together most of the time," Denktash recalls.

    "I think, let us say, it is 30 per cent the personal contact between us," says Denktash, reflecting on the latest round of talks.

    "Probably by now if it had been any other couple, there would have been good-byes, 'it won't work'... I think it's a friendship but each side knows the other has his brief."

    A chorus from five cages of yellow canaries lining the wall opposite his desk subsides to the solitary whistle of one bird.

    "There will be more soon," he explained, pointing to a solitary cage by the door. "They should reproduce next month."

    The birds, besides photography, constitute Denktash's sole pass-time outside the thorny Cyprus problem, which has defied generations of bright- eyed diplomats.

    Denktash seeks a loose association of Greek and Turkish zones and a limited central government. Greek Cypriots seek a more wide-ranging central government, a close union of the two separate zones that emerged from the catastrophe of 1974.

    Issues such as the return of refugees or compensation for lost property and territorial exchanges are highly emotional, and there is little sign of give on either side.

    "The whole issue is trust and confidence," says Denktash.

    The pressure is also on Clerides, who must step down from office in February 2003. He too looks to his place in history and would clearly like to bequeath a united island.

    Ozdem Sanberk of the Istanbul-based research organisation, TESEV, sees little evidence of movement.

    "My feeling is that the talks will break down; not definitively, but there will be some kind of crisis," he says.

    An anti-European backlash in Turkey could slow any progress being made. Conservative forces are increasingly vocal at the moment, accusing the EU of seeking to undermine Turkey by imposing inappropriate liberal reforms and pressing for concessions in settling the Cyprus issue.

    They see Greeks as wedded still to the dream of Enosis - union with Greece.

    It is, of course, not just the Turkish Cypriots who are suspicious. Many Greek Cypriots see Denktash's vision as one of Taksim, total partition of the island with creation of a fully sovereign north beholden to Turkey, just 40 miles away.

    "Greeks believe that if they recognise the sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriot side, Denktash would take it and run," said Mehmet Ali Talat, head of the opposition leftwing Republican Turkish Party.

    "They have these fears and if you ask me they've a right to them. How can we deny the right of Greeks to think in this way?"

    Denktash demands international recognition of his pariah state, but this could take effect only at the moment he signs an agreement with Clerides.

    This would legitimise the past judicial and political order in the north. The squeamish also see it as a way out if the new Cypriot bizonal state collapsed. Turks would revert to what they trust would be a sovereign Turkish Cypriot state rather than the present "limbo" of an isolated enclave beset by embargoes.

    Denktash insists that, far from making collapse inevitable, such fleeting recognition could secure any new Cypriot state. "If the Greek Cypriots know that if there is a collapse there will be separation, they will be more careful," he says.

    Only trust can square that circle, but time runs short.

    Denktash says the EU would be making a great mistake if it admitted Cyprus without a solution for the north. Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has said Turkey might annex the north if that happened -- an action that would end Ankara's EU hopes.

    "We should naturally react by closing the entry points (to northern Cyprus), and asking UNFICYP to leave us," Denktash says.

    "That will create a big crisis."

    Greek Cypriots would feel encouraged to portray north Cyprus as an EU territory occupied by 30,000 Turkish troops and goad the EU to action.

    Like him or loathe him -- there are adherents of both schools -- few would deny that Denktash's position is precarious. He sees many dangers on the way to a deal, but knows expectations run high, especially among the young who have already left the economically stagnating north for London or New York in droves.

    "It's not personal emnity," he says of Greeks. "It is 'you shall not dominate me, you will not dominate me'." (R)

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Bar and Big Brother back on air after Greek court overturns ban

    By Jennie Matthew

    A GREEK court yesterday overturned a three-day ban on the airing of reality- shows Big Brother and Bar for transmitting explicit material unsuitable for children.

    Commercial TV stations Antenna and Mega, which produce the two programmes, have been bombarded with viewer complaints in Greece, taking issue with the "immoral" content of the broadcasts.

    The hair that broke the camel's back was a live sex-scene between contestants during an episode of Mega's risqué Bar show earlier this week.

    The President of the Greek National Radio and Television Authority, Vassilis Lambrides, stepped into the breach and slapped a three-day ban on both shows on Thursday.

    The Cyprus Broadcasting Authority immediately followed suit and issued a statement claiming to have been deluged by complaints about the shows.

    They said specific instalments of Big Brother and Bar transmitted in Cyprus were under investigation, in accordance with Cypriot legislation.

    But yesterday the Greek ban was overturned just 24 hours later by an Athens court and Cyprus followed through, reinstating Bar on Mega.

    Antenna had ignored the Big Brother ban in Cyprus and broadcast its nightly episode of the show as usual on Thursday evening.

    Press spokesman for the channel Maria Papaloizou justified the decision on the grounds that the Greek law was not applicable in Cyprus.

    Neither station in Cyprus yesterday admitted to an inordinate number of complaints over the content of shows.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Gypsies say they'll never go back north

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE latest batch of gypsies from the occupied areas arrived in the south yesterday, claiming their family roots lay in Limassol and vowing never to return to the north.

    A total of eight gypsies were picked up by SBA police patrols at Dhekelia. Three married couples, a two-and-a-half month old baby and a single man all claimed to have family in Limassol, and asked the authorities to take them there so they could start a new life. One of the gypsies crossed over in his car, which was confiscated.

    The gypsies described their harsh living conditions in the north, where they said work was hard to find and it was commonplace for three to four families to be staying under the same roof. A group from Morphou told how work there was limited to orange gathering, and that getting any menial job depended on having good connections with the authorities.

    After providing food and beverages, Cyprus police made arrangements to have the gypsies taken to Limassol as they requested.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Halloumi wins 11-year battle for UK trademark

    By Jennie Matthew

    AFTER an 11-year legal battle, the government has finally established Halloumi cheese as a trademark product in the UK, preventing Danes from marketing their rival product under the same name.

    The fight follows earlier procedures to register Halloumi in the US, Canada and Greece as an exclusive product to Cypriot manufacturers.

    Britain is the biggest single export market for Cyprus Halloumi, netting Pittas Dairies alone £2 million a year.

    State attorney Stella Ioannidou, who handled the case, triumphed over an appeal from the Danish Board for Dairy Products.

    The Danes also produce halloumi, which they export to the UK.

    When the fight started in December 1990, they were operating out of Denmark. But five years ago they moved their factory to Cyprus in order to produce a 'legitimate' product - a significant factor in favour of the Cyprus case.

    Ioannidou confirmed the case had been won by overwhelming testimony that Halloumi was a traditional cheese produced only in Cyprus, only with traditional materials and in a method unique and exclusive to Cyprus.

    Manufactured from either sheep's milk or a combination of sheep and goat's milk, the method has been recorded, and the product accredited with a UK trademark.

    The Danish board was forced to withdraw its appeal and efforts to win the same victory in other countries are well under way.

    "We're always delighted about things like this," said Athos Pittas, managing director of Pittas Dairies.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Lanitis raise price of milk as liberalisation kicks in

    By Jennie Matthew

    LANITIS have jacked up the price of their milk in shops by two cents, in a bid to take advantage of the liberalisation that came into effect last week.

    But rival pasturisers Christies and Charalambides have resolutely kept their price of a carton at 45 cents.

    Liberalisation allows retailers to set their own prices within reasonable parameters. The Commerce Ministry still has the authority to step in if they feel retailers are taking advantage of the freedom.

    The two old timers have been at loggerheads with Lanitis since the juice manufacturers launched into milk, bottling it in transparent, screw top bottles.

    The packaging has proved a hit with consumers, who find it easier to use than the traditional, tear-open cardboard cartons.

    When the Milk Marketing Board awarded Lanitis an extra 10 tons of raw milk a week at the beginning of the year, their rivals were livid.

    They underlined that, while popular, the transparent bottles did not provide the optimal conditions within which to store milk.

    "We're not going to increase our prices for the time being. We're going to suffer the increase but we haven't decided for how long," said director Antonis Charalambides.

    Pasteurisers, who buy their milk according to the fat content in the raw product, lost out in February when milk manufacturers put their prices up.

    "It's only up two cents from 45 to 47 cents a litre. I think it's reasonable," said George Mitides, director of competition and consumer products at the Ministry of Commerce.

    "Profit margins are very small for retailers and for pasteurisers. Retailers only make one cent gross profit per litre on a pack of milk," he added.

    Milk prices for factory producers went up from 41 to 44 cents earlier this year.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] Cypriot mother 'to be freed'

    By a Staff Reporter

    A CYPRIOT woman imprisoned in Morocco for allegedly trying to kidnap her five-year-old son was expected to be released last night.

    Lia Nicolaides, aged 32, a friend and two private detectives were arrested in Morocco 14 days ago and charged with attempting to abduct her young son of Moroccan nationality.

    The two detectives were allegedly employed by Nicolaides, a Limassol dentist, in an effort to smuggle the boy out of his father's home in Morocco.

    Nicolaides' uncle, Savvas Nicolaides, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that the Moroccan authorities had promised that his niece would be freed last night. According to television reports yesterday the four suspects were expected to be sentenced before being given a pardon.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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