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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-10-16

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, October 16, 1997

Tension could lead to war?

ALL lead stories were related in some way to the Nikiforos military exercise.

Philelfetheros reported the statements made by Turkey's minister responsible for Cyprus affairs, Sukru Gurel, who had warned that the mounting tension between Turkey and Greece could lead to war. After a meeting with a British Foreign Office minister, Gurel had accused Greece of "playing a very dangerous game" and of "playing with fire".

Shows of miliary power not only "poisoned relations between the two sides, but could also lead to accidents and military confrontation," Gurel was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile the Greek government has attributed the mounting tension to Turkey's reactions to Greece's participation in the Nikiforos exercise. It said that the behaviour of Turkey, whose fighter planes had "buzzed" a Greek transport plane carrying the minister of defence to Cyprus, was "childish".

Simerini concentrated on the exercise, giving a detailed account of the last day's manoeuvres. It said that Cyprus skies were covered by the "wings of the Greek Air Force and were filled with parachutists from the National Guard and the Greek Special Forces".

Quoting the Greek defence minister and Spyros Kyprianou, it said the exercise showed the following: 1) the increased power of deterrence of the National Guard; 2) the common and unified defence of Cyprus and Greece against Turkey; 3) the continuation of the implementation of the Unified Defence Dogma.

Haravghi was less enthusiastic about the exercise. It quoted the Akel leader, Demetris Christofias as saying that the "Cyprus problem cannot be solved with guns". He insisted that the Greek Cypriot side should be sending "messages of peace and friendship" to the Turkish Cypriots".

Alithia focused attention on the meeting in Athens between President Clerides and Prime Minister Costas Simitis. The message of the meeting was far removed from the climate of tension in the military field, the paper said.

Simitis had underlined the need for the Clerides-Denktash peace talks to continue, because it was time for "peace and stability to prevail in the are". He said Cyprus had every right to arm itself until Turkey agreed to the complete demilitarisation of the island.

Agon said Clerides had repeated Cyprus' willingness to re-examine its arms purchasing programme if Turkey accepted his proposal for the demilitarisation of the island.

Machi said Clerides and Simitis praised the "readiness and a courage" displayed by the Greek Air Force in the face of the latest Turkish provocations.

© Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail

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