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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-02-19

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, February 19, 1999

Mavros passport a Turkish concoction

THE CYPRUS angle of the Ocalan affair grabbed all the headlines yesterday.

"In the eye of the storm," was the title Alithia chose for its report on Turkey's claim that Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan had a faked Cypriot passport on him when he was nabbed by Turkish agents in Kenya.

The government was highly concerned about the allegations that Ocalan was carrying the passport of Greek Cypriot reporter Lazaros Mavros, with the Kurd's picture pasted over Mavros'. An emergency meeting was called at the Presidential palace shortly after the Turkish government released newsreel footage of the forged passport to the world, Alithia reported.

The paper suggested the Turkish claims appeared legitimate, as the passport shown on television news broadcasts across the globe seemed to be the genuine article and Mavros was a well-known Kurdish sympathiser.

Machi said the passport saga was an attempt by the Turkish secret services to implicate Cyprus in the whole affair.

Phileleftheros reported that the Turks were "concocting scenaria in order to take advantage of them."

The Turkish side was trying to provoke and create tensions in its relations with both Cyprus and Greece, the paper reported. The Turks were also aiming to spoil relations between Athens and Nicosia, the paper suggested.

Politis agreed that the passport case was a Turkish secret service ploy.

Simerini also gave front-page space to a visit to Cyprus by a group of US Senators. The senators, who paid a visit on President Clerides, announced that a US government report on the presence of US-made weapons on the island would be ready by the end of March, the paper said. Politis commented that the US government report was being completed "at snail's pace."

The daily also reported that President Clerides was about to launch a charm offensive in an effort to repair and enhance his tarnished public image.

The image readjustment exercise would involve three moves: a cabinet reshuffle, two press conferences and the launch of a political dialogue with all parliamentary parties, the paper stated.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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