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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 03-06-18

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, June 18, 2003


  • [01] No Turkey deal between Greek and Turkish Cypriot travel agents
  • [02] New plea on overnight stays in north
  • [03] Survey highlights gaps between north and south
  • [04] Traffic campaign brings results
  • [05] Paphos road under fire for lethal record
  • [06] Verheugen: united Cyprus is still on agenda
  • [07] Open checkpoints inspire rush to learn a new language
  • [08] Revised budget pushes deficit to 5.3pc
  • [09] Cyprus ‘risks becoming a junkyard’
  • [10] Green Party slam Curium work
  • [11] Ministry’s vision: innovation, culture and the mail
  • [12] Purity of virgin olive oil under fire
  • [13] Ministry issues warning to squatters

  • [01] No Turkey deal between Greek and Turkish Cypriot travel agents

    By George Psyllides

    THE GOVERNMENT and the association of travel agents (ACTA) yesterday denied any deal with Turkish Cypriot travel agents to organise trips to Turkey through ports and airports in the occupied north.

    Commenting on press reports yesterday, Trade Industry and Tourism Minister George Lillikas said the government had no knowledge of such a deal, adding the reports were just rumours based on the claims made by a Turkish Cypriot tour operator.

    “This does not constitute objective informing and is not an expression of reality,” Lillikas said.

    The minister said it was known to citizens and tour operators that the use of ports and airports in the occupied areas was illegal and possible use could not be accepted by the Republic.

    Lillikas said there had been attempts to organise such trips through Greece and despite being unable to stop anyone from going, the government warning was loud and clear, Lillikas said.

    “We urge Cypriots to put their country first and not the satisfaction of their personal pursuits.”

    He added: “It is up to Cypriots to decide whether they do not have any other means of entertainment or destinations to go to and instead visit the country which occupies half our country.

    “If this doesn’t bother us, then I have said it before and I’m repeating that we are worthy of our fate.”

    Lillikas wondered how foreigners would take interest in the Cyprus problem when Greek Cypriots ‘forget’ about the invasion and occupation and go to Turkey for holidays.

    But the press reports were also denied by ACTA, whose secretary-general Thasos Katsourides assured yesterday that no co-operation whatsoever had taken place with Turkish Cypriot tour operators.

    Instead, it was the Turkish Cypriots who approached their Greek Cypriot counterparts, Katsourides said.

    He said there have been hundreds of emails and personal visits from Turkish Cypriot agents wishing to cooperate and although they were welcomed the fact remained there could not be any cooperation until the Cyprus problem was solved.

    “I explained our policy, the realities, and they understood - at least the ones I saw - that such cooperation could not go ahead except after a solution,” Katsourides said.

    He also warned that Cypriots visiting Turkey through legal exit points could find themselves in trouble.

    “Cypriots in Turkey are no-state men and women; if they are injured, robbed, get sick… if anything happens, where are they going to go?

    “Who is going to help them?”

    “And do not let anyone say they can go to the Greek or British embassies; since their passports are not recognised they cannot access anything in Turkey,” Katsourides said.

    Meanwhile in a written statement, ACTA said the association would gladly start a dialogue with its Turkish Cypriot counterparts under the condition that any procedures would only take effect after the final solution of the Cyprus problem.

    “And we have assured our Turkish Cypriot compatriots that after the solution of the Cyprus problem we would help them through cooperation for the sakes of our unified country,” the statement said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [02] New plea on overnight stays in north

    By Elias Hazou

    THE GOVERNMENT yesterday reiterated its good will in promoting free movement on the island, but again urged people to avoid overnight stays in the north.

    Justice Minister Doros Theodorou said this week the government would be proposing that the Ledra Palace checkpoint be opened to cars on weekends, when visits between the two communities peak. Currently in the city region only the Ayios Dometios checkpoint is available to vehicles crossing over.

    “The Greek-Cypriot side has always wished for free movement and we welcomed this once it happened. Obviously, whether the Ledra Palace checkpoint is opened for cars will also depend on the breakaway regime agreeing to this.”

    According to Theodorou, approximately half a million people from both sides have crossed over since restrictions were lifted in mid-April.

    But Theodorou lashed out at the “few dozens” of Greek Cypriots staying over at hotels in the breakaway regime. He said that for the most part these people were gamblers who stayed over at the casinos in the north.

    Ever since free movement was allowed, the government has been urging Greeks to limit their activities in the north strictly to visits and has discouraged people from staying in hotels originally belonging to Greek Cypriots. Its arguments have been along moral lines, appealing to people’s conscience and better sense of judgment.

    “They are gambling addicts, who only care about satisfying their selfish needs and their vices… they do not think in political terms at all,” remarked Theodorou during a live radio news bulletin.

    “We must isolate these people,” added Theodorou, but did not elaborate.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [03] Survey highlights gaps between north and south

    By Elias Hazou

    GREEK CYPRIOTS earn over three times as much as their Turkish Cypriot counterparts but there are more hospital beds per capita in the north.

    Politis newspaper yesterday published a survey comparing economic and social conditions in the south and the breakaway regime, showing major discrepancies in the respective standard of living of the two communities.

    The data gathered in the survey - possibly the first of its kind - was gathered between 1999 and 2000. The results were based on a sample of 100, 000 from each side. There were important differences between the two communities, particularly when it came to economic parameters.

    One of the most telling differences related to per capita income, which is more than three times greater in the south. In 1999, Greek Cypriots made $14,000, while Turkish Cypriots made just $4,000. Expenditure by the Cypriot government was six times more than that of the breakaway regime. The government poured $257 million into defence expenditures, while the authorities in the north spent $53 million - not counting money and arms provided by the mainland.

    The south accommodates six times more tourists. The bulk of goods trafficked via harbours is five times greater in the south the value of exported goods was 20 times greater than that of the north. Both communities had a current account deficit in the year 2000; and

    The figures depended directly on the relative demographics; Greek Cypriots outnumber Turkish Cypriots by 3.5:1 and the same proportions apply to the size of the workforces.

    About three-quarters of the workforce in the south are employed in the services sector; 22 per cent are employed in industries and only five per cent in agriculture. The figures for the north are 56, 23 and 21 per cent, respectively.

    In food production, the south churned out many times more vegetables, cereals and fruits than the north, although Turkish Cypriots grew more barley. There are approximately three times more animals used in husbandry in the south.

    One parameter suggesting a better quality of life in the south was the age span; in the south there were twice as many men aged over 65. There were one-and-a-half times more Turkish-Cypriot males and women aged between 15 and 29 than Greek Cypriots.

    As far as education goes, there were more students in the south in absolute terms - but per capita there were comparatively more secondary schools in the north.

    And while there are more doctors in the south, the breakaway regime had more hospital beds available (in public treatment centres and private clinics)

    The crime rate is considerably higher in the breakaway regime. In the period 1999/2000, there were 290 reported cases of assault in the north; the corresponding figure for the south was 20. Sexual offences were eight times more frequent in the north. And the number of inmates aged 16-20 was far higher in the north.

    Lastly, the road death toll was slightly higher in the north; 25 people lost their lives there, 17 in the south. The number of accidents was significantly higher in the north, blamed on the poor quality of the roads.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [04] Traffic campaign brings results

    By a Staff Reporter

    A POLICE campaign to clamp down on traffic violators has led to 3,186 charges against motorcyclists since its launch on June 6.

    Police announced yesterday that the campaign to monitor motorbike and moped riders had produced 3,186 charges after ten days in operation.

    By June 16 traffic police filed four charges for engine modifications; 34 charges for violations on silencers and mufflers; 235 charges for driving without a helmet; 75 charges for underage driving and 2,838 other charges. Police will continue the campaign until the end of the month.

    Meanwhile, police reported that 17 people were injured in 15 separate road accidents during the long weekend that passed. This year’s statistics fair better than last year’s when two people were killed and 30 were injured in 21 motor accidents.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [05] Paphos road under fire for lethal record

    By a Staff Reporter

    TEN OUT of 16 lethal road accidents between December and February were in the Paphos district with five taking place on the same stretch of road, the House Communications Committee heard yesterday.

    Police headquarters traffic security officer Andreas Laos, told the committee that five deadly accidents happened on the Peyia to Ayios Georghios road, which was used daily by thousands of people, including tourists.

    The committee discussed the condition of the road, which lacks adequate signs and lighting as well as pavements despite its heavy use.

    The chairman of the committee Nicos Pittokopitis noted the lack of police on the Paphos roads adding that many stations in the district had been turned into outposts with just one officer who could not possibly patrol the roads.

    Pittokopitis requested a report from all those involved and requested a town-planning official to look into the issue and table proposals before the committee.

    Speaking after the meeting, AKEL deputy Takis Hadjigeorghiou said the stretch lacked the necessary infrastructure resulting in thousands of tourists having to walk on the road.

    He added that the public works department has been asked to put up the necessary signs and build pavements as well as install lighting and make plans to upgrade the road in the future.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [06] Verheugen: united Cyprus is still on agenda

    By Sofia Kannas

    THERE IS no room for complacency in efforts to achieve the accession of a united Cyprus to the European Union, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunther Verheugen said yesterday.

    On his first visit to the island following the signing of the EU Accession Treaty on April 16, Verheugen stressed that the opening of checkpoints by the Turkish Cypriot side on April 23 did not substitute a political settlement to the island’s division.

    Speaking at a press conference organised by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEBE), which was attended by hundreds of representatives from Greek and Turkish Cypriot employers’ organisations, Verheugen said, “Confidence-building measures… will never be an alternative to a reunification of the island. Dividing lines must disappear.”

    Verheugen added that a “window of opportunity” for a solution presented itself before the formal accession of Cyprus to the EU on May 1 2004, and called for a resumption of peace initiatives following The Hague debacle in March, when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to put UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan’s peace plan to a referendum.

    “The failure in March was a serious lost opportunity for all…But it is now time for deeds. The peace process must be resumed.

    “If you want, it will be a united Cyprus that joins the Union. The conditions for it all are there,” he said.

    He also noted that Ankara’s support for a settlement was “crucial” to Turkey’s EU aspirations, reiterating that “the only way for Turkish Cypriots to become EU members…is by a political settlement.

    ''A settlement would not only enable the Turkish Cypriots to join their Greek Cypriot compatriots and be fully integrated in the EU but would also remove an issue that would otherwise become a serious obstacle to realising Turkey's own aspirations to open accession talks,” he said.

    “I find it tragic that the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community was not strong enough to support a solution that would be of advantage to his citizens,” he added.

    Speaking after a meeting with President Tassos Papadopoulos earlier in the day, Verheugen stressed that the responsibility for a solution lay firmly with Denktash and Ankara.

    “President Papadopoulos made it very clear that…Cyprus wants a solution,” he said. “It is now the decision of Mr Denktash and his people, and his friends in Ankara, to use the window of opportunity before May 1,” he told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

    Regarding the EU accession of the free areas, Verheugen said Cyprus was well prepared for EU entry, adding that the island’s accession was close to “a miracle.”

    “Who would have believed some years ago that we would be here and could tell you that Cyprus will be a full member of the EU on May 1 2004? It really is a historic achievement,” he said.

    Verheugen, who also met with House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias and Chief Negotiator for Cyprus’ EU Accession, Takis Hadjidemetriou yesterday, is scheduled to cross to the occupied areas today to meet with Rauf Denktash, before departing for Brussels.

    Asked what he expected of today’s meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Verheugen said, “I do not expect that there will be a breakthrough from this meeting,” but added that he would try to help Denktash better understand the EU’s intentions.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [07] Open checkpoints inspire rush to learn a new language

    By Sofia Kannas and Gokhan Tezgor

    SALES OF Greek-Turkish dictionaries and phrasebooks on either side of the Green Line have soared since the opening of the checkpoints by the Turkish Cypriot side in April, booksellers in Nicosia said yesterday.

    Yiota Epiphaniou of Nicosia’s Ellas Bookshop said the sale of phrasebooks and dictionaries in both languages had risen “100 per cent” since April 23 when the first checkpoint to the north was opened up.

    Epiphaniou said that before crossings to the north were permitted, there were just a few Greek Cypriot students who bought Turkish phrasebooks and Greek-Turkish dictionaries. But, with the lifting of the barriers, she said, a mixture of age groups were purchasing the books, including those who felt learning Turkish might be useful in their job.

    “Most of them (the buyers) work for a company or are in the government and want to learn Turkish,” she told the Cyprus Mail, adding that others just wanted to learn a new language or facilitate communication with Turkish Cypriots when visiting the north.

    Before the crossings, the Ellas Bookshop sold just a handful of Greek- Turkish dictionaries and phrasebooks year; but in recent weeks, demand is in danger of outstripping supply.

    “We used to sell maybe 5-10 (of these) books per year before, but now we sell around 50 phrasebooks a day,” Epiphaniou noted.

    The bookshop’s location, in the centre of Nicosia, has also meant many Turkish Cypriots purchase dictionaries and phrasebooks: “It’s about 50-50, Greek and Turkish Cypriots buying them.”

    Nicosia’s Metropolitan Bookshop has had to order Greek-Turkish phrasebooks for the first time, due to customer demand, while the Solonion Bookshop has also seen the sale of bilingual dictionaries and phrasebooks rise by up to 50 per cent.

    A representative at the Solonion noted that Turkish Cypriot teachers from the north had also expressed an interest in ordering Greek language textbooks.

    “We had requests for books for learning Greek, to teach to groups and classes (in the north).”

    The same trend is also apparent in the north.

    “There is a noticeable increase in the sale of Greek dictionaries and phrasebooks,” said Ebru Yalusan, Book Section Manager of Deniz Plaza stationers in occupied Nicosia.

    “Some days we may sell only five, but there are many days when we will sell anywhere from 10 to 20 books.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [08] Revised budget pushes deficit to 5.3pc

    By Elias Hazou

    A SUPPLEMENTARY budget of £315 million will be submitted to parliament tomorrow, pushing the public deficit up to 5.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

    Finance Minister Markos Kyprianou said yesterday that the greater part of the supplementary budget - some £280 million - involved dues left by the previous administration as a result of poor planning and various commitments.

    A House Finance Committee chaired by Kyprianou yesterday was mired in disagreement as delegates representing opposition DISY defended the previous government’s management of public finances.

    Kyprianou provided a summary breakdown of the package, saying that an additional £46 million would be pumped into development projects. Significantly, the military will be receiving £65 million more to cover personnel salaries and armaments.

    Close to £44 million would be channelled into the public sector to pay for civil servants’ wage rises. Traditionally a controversial issue, this will involve creating 480 new jobs in the public sector. The government has argued that several government departments need to be upgraded to cope with the workload and commitments relating to harmonisation with the EU acquis communautaire.

    The Finance Minister said no other new jobs would be created in the civil service this year.

    According to Kyprianou, these funds would be channelled to improve the “administrative infrastructure” of the ministries of Agriculture, Industry and Tourism, Labour, Communications and Works and the Statistics Department.

    Taking the new data into account, economic analysts have projected a 5.3 per cent public deficit, while the public debt is expected to reach 62.7 per cent of GDP, which is much higher than the off Maastricht criteria that EU members must meet.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [09] Cyprus ‘risks becoming a junkyard’

    By a Staff Reporter

    CYPRUS RISKS being turned into a junkyard after EU accession, when the age limit on used imports will be lifted and high taxes on new cars will force people to buy old vehicles. This was the warning issued by the House Trade Committee yesterday.

    Committee chairman Lefteris Christoforou said if taxation on new cars remained the same, Cypriots would only buy old cars.

    He added when Cyprus joined the European Union on May 1 next year and the age limit on imported used cars was lifted, the island risked being turned into a junkyard.

    Christoforou said cars in Cyprus were considered a luxury item, with taxes ranging from 55 to 145 per cent, he went on to say that people had no alternative but to purchase a car because of the island’s skeletal public transport.

    The DISY chairman added that 50 per cent of cars on Cyprus roads were over 12-years-old.

    The committee yesterday resumed discussion on the potential modifications that certain types of cars would need to use unleaded fuel since leaded fuel would be gradually phased out in the years following accession to the bloc.

    Transport Department official Yiannis Nicolaides told the committee that only two to three thousand cars would be affected, and said his department would contact the owners to inform them of the necessary changes that would usually involve adding some kind of chemical to their fuel.

    Nicolaides said Cyprus had one of the highest car taxes adding that these taxes should be gradually transformed to ownership and use taxes without shocking the market.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [10] Green Party slam Curium work

    By Tania Khadder

    GREEN PARTY representatives yesterday blasted the Antiquities Department for continuing to build at the ancient Curium amphitheatre, despite a unanimous parliamentary decision in January to freeze the budget for work at the site.

    Construction of a car park, a large canteen and a site museum were supposed to be put on hold because of concerns by environmental and heritage groups that the work could destroy the archaeological site.

    But just a few months later, building of the car park is still under way and the Greens say that even work being done to protect the site is highly questionable.

    “There are no words to describe the barbarous way that things are proceeding,” Roxani Coudounari, member of the Green party pan-Cyprian committee and an architect specialising in the restoration and conservation of monuments, told the Cyprus Mail yesterday. “We are protesting that there is no respect of the institutions.”

    Coudounari said the methods being used to erect shelters to protect the mosaics and pathways to guide tourists are in violation of international conventions.

    “The charter of Venice, which Cyprus signed years ago, says that when it comes to restoration and protection of an archaeological site there are three important principles to follow,” she said. “There should be minimal intervention, one must be able to easily tell the difference between the new additions and what was already there, and anything newly built must be reversible.”

    At the Curium, she said, all three of these principals are being ignored.

    Sophoclis Hadjisavvas, director of the Department of Antiquities, argued that they had frozen construction of a café, agreeing to make it smaller and place it in a location further away from the antiquities.

    “But we didn’t realise there was an opposition to all the construction,” he said. “We cannot stop everything because we have a contract and parts have already been ordered from abroad.”

    “We have to build a parking lot where we first planned, because it takes about an hour on foot now to get from the nearest parking to the site.”

    Coudounaris refuted this: “You cannot maintain that you have a contract because the whole work is under question - including the contract.”

    She also said that one archaeologist working on the sight resigned because of “reasons of conscience”.

    “He was getting instructions to ignore relics of our civilisation or to mishandle them and said that nothing was being done under international conventions,” she said. “Most of the work has been done by machine and not by hand. There are pieces of mosaic strewn all over the place and in all directions.”

    Green party deputy George Perdikis said an urgent meeting of environmentalists, archaeologists and representatives from the Ministry of Public Works and Communication was to take place next Friday to find a solution.

    “We have been to the site and spoken to tourists, and some have noticed problems straight away,” Coudounaris said. “They tell us ‘We’ve been to neighbouring countries and they are so much more respectful of the sites. Why here are you people so heavy-handed with them?’”

    But Hadjisavvas insisted his Department was doing its best to ensure that construction at the amphitheatre was being done properly and would not take away from its intrinsic value.

    “The opposition is the reaction of just a few people who for some reason are obsessed with the Curium,” he said. “If we had anything to hide, we would close the site to visitors while we work on it. But we have not done this, and anyone who wants to go and see what we’re doing is free to do so.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [11] Ministry’s vision: innovation, culture and the mail

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    COMMUNICATIONS Minister, Kikis Kazamias, yesterday announced his ministry’s vision for the next five years.

    The plans included an upgrade of the road networks, liberalisation of telecommunications, transformation of the postal services into a robust semi-government organisation, completion of the procedures for constructing the new airport, strengthening Cyprus’s image as a shipping hub and the creation of a Cultural Authority to protect and develop the island’s heritage.

    The action plan includes the construction of a new Cyprus Museum. The minister said the Cultural Authority will “enhance the projection of the island’s antiquities”. The minister also pledged to upgrade the road networks and tackle traffic in major cities.

    The Publics Works Department intends to improve road safety through public works, while protecting the natural environment and improving the coastline.

    Regarding shipping, the minister said the main target was to improve the safety level of ships under the Cypriot flag and strengthen Cyprus’ position as an international shipping centre.

    Kazamias said that a new air traffic control centre would be completed in Nicosia within two years.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [12] Purity of virgin olive oil under fire

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    CERTAIN OLIVE oil products in the market contain up to 70 per cent foreign substances, according to press reports yesterday.

    Politis reported that some olive oil products sold on the Cyprus market are not up to European Union standards because they contain impure oil substances, which the State Laboratory is unable to identify.

    According to the report, the State Laboratory fails to pick out alterations made on virgin olive oil products because they use outdated testing methods. The paper tested olive oil products in a foreign laboratory using both the outdated method and a newer method that is in accordance with EU regulations. The tests reportedly revealed that large quantities of other oil substances - up to 40 per cent seed oil and 70 per cent pomace oil - were found in the olive oil.

    General Manager of the Cyprus Olive Products Marketing Board (SEKEP), Georgios Christodoulou, told the Cyprus Mail that alterations on virgin olive oil existed, but not in products sold in supermarkets. “Alterations on olive oil are being made as a rule, but only in the oil supplied to hotels and restaurants,” he said.

    According to Christodoulou, 500 tonnes of impure olive oil reaches hotels and restaurants in Cyprus through the black market. “Altering olive oil has become so widespread that it may very well become a profession in itself,” admitted Christodoulou.

    The SEKEP manager suggested various ways to deal with the problem. “Olive oil used in hotels and restaurants should be clearly labelled. Every menu should write which make of olive oil is being used. The customer has a right to know what oil he is eating. If he is going to pay £8 for a salad, the restaurant should put the bottle on the table and leave it up to the customer to use,” he added.

    Asked whether the study, which found certain products to contain cheap sunflower oil and pomace oil, included olive oil sold in supermarkets as well as oil directed to restaurants and hotels, Christodoulou replied: “The paper did not specify where the oil comes from, just that it’s taken from the market.”

    “I shouldn’t think the olive oil we sell has been altered because we buy directly from the producers and test our samples,” he added.

    SEKEP’s vice-President, dietician Eliza Markidou, said that she could assure the public that SEKEP sells pure virgin olive oil which contains all the benefits for a healthy diet. Regarding the capability of the state lab to identify seed oil in the product, she said, “Our state lab is accredited and approved by the EU”.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

    Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    [13] Ministry issues warning to squatters

    By a Staff Reporter

    INTERIOR Minster Andreas Christou yesterday warned that district officers had instructions to restore the law when either Greek or Turkish Cypriots took over empty properties in the government-controlled areas without permission.

    Christou was commenting on a couple of cases where Turkish Cypriots from the north had arbitrarily moved into Turkish Cypriot homes given to Greek Cypriots after they had been abandoned by their owners after the Turkish invasion in 1974.

    Christou said such actions were condemnable wherever they came from, adding that district officers had instructions to intervene and restore lawfulness even if it involved Turkish Cypriots moving in properties, which belonged to them.

    “If a Turkish Cypriot wants his house and has decided to settle in the free areas, he must file the relevant application with the district officer,” Christou said.

    From then on the district officer will provide housing for the Turkish Cypriot until the application was processed, the minister added.

    Commenting on one case where Turkish Cypriots moved into a house in Larnaca whose occupant had died, Christou said it was not an easy issue to deal with but the district officer was taking all necessary actions.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2003

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