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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 97-10-17

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, October 17, 1997

War conditions prevail in skies

THE mock dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter jets in the Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR), received extensive coverage in yesterday's papers. Most papers also mentioned the "arrogant" statements made by Turkey's Chief of Staff, General Ismail Karadayi in reference to Greece.

Simerini said that "war conditions" had prevailed in the skies, stretching from the Aegean Sea to the Cyprus coast. According to reliable sources, six Turkish F-16 planes had entered the Nicosia FIR in "an attempt to cause tension". They were engaged in mock dogfights with six Greek F-16s, before being chased out of the Nicosia FIR. Had the Turkish planes not left, they would have been shot down, the paper said. Twenty more Greek fighter planes had been waiting in the Crete-Rhodes-Cyprus triangle, in case they were needed, the paper said.

Alithia said the Greek fighter planes that had chased the Turkish planes out of the Nicosia FIR had been participating in the Nikiforos parade. On the same day, there had been 12 violations of Greek air space, the paper said. In all cases, Greek fighters chased the Turkish planes out of Greek airspace. While all this was going on, the French government had been warning Athens and Ankara to avoid actions that would lead to a build- up of tension, while the US tried to play down the tension.

Phileleftheros said that General Karadayi's "arrogant" statement about Turkey's "overwhelming military superiority" over Greece was a clear attempt to defuse tension and to downplay the view that Turkey had "reacted nervously" to Greece's participation in the Nikiforos exercise. The General had also warned "hot-headed officials" in Ankara that the tension could be a "Greek trap". Karadayi's views were incompatible with the level of the Turkish reaction to the exercise, the paper said. Since Sunday, it added, there had been more than 100 violations of Greek airspace.

Machi reported that there had been an outcry by the political leadership against the "anti-Greek sentiments" expressed by Akel chief Demetris Christofias, who demanded that Greek fighter planes stay away from Cyprus. It carried statements by the leaders of Edek, Diko and Disy, who were very mild in their criticisms of Christofias.

Haravghi claimed that Akel had exposed the "idealised picture" of the economy with which Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades had tried to mislead the public. It said that Anastassiades had conveniently forgotten to mention the most important economic indicator - the rate of growth - in his comparison between the Clerides and the Vassiliou governments. In 1992, growth was 9.8 per cent, while in 1996 it was down to one per cent, it said.

© Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail

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