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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-02-25

Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Thursday, February 25, 1999

Europe standing up to Turkey on Ocalan

PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan remained at the centre of yesterday's main news stories as the papers continued to focus on the after-effects of his arrest by the Turks.

Politis reported that Europe "is standing up to Turkey" on Ocalan's arrest and detention. It said that the European Commission for Human Rights had demanded clarifications about the circumstances of Ocalan's arrest and detention.

The Commission also called on the Turkish government to allow the Kurdish leader's lawyers to visit him. Legal sources in Strasbourg noted that Ankara was obliged to respond to the Commission, which, reportedly, wanted "to crack the wall erected by Ankara" around Ocalan.

Alithia focused on Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis' counter-offensive against critics within his own Pasok party, who were unhappy with his handling of the Ocalan affair. His efforts were aimed at pre-empting calls for his resignation from within Pasok.

There had also been press reports claiming that some 40 Pasok MPs were plotting to topple Simitis. Rumours of Simitis' resignation had reached the Athens stock exchange on Tuesday, causing the price index to fall by 6.06 per cent, the paper said.

Phileleftheros found a Cyprus problem angle to the Ocalan affair. It reported that both Ankara and Rauf Denktash were using the "Ocalan card", to cultivate tension and "prepare the ground for more blackmail" with regard to Cyprus.

By insisting that Cyprus and Greece were helping Ocalan, Ankara wanted to destroy any prospect of progress in the Cyprus talks. Turkish PM Bulent Ecevit was quoted as saying that "Turkey knows well where the PKK army camps are in southern Cyprus".

Simerini likened parts of Turkey where Kurds lived to "an active volcano waiting to erupt". The country was in flames and the army was involved in a "large-scale sweeping operation" against the Kurds.

Quoting press sources, the paper said that there had been clashes between Kurds and security forces in the suburbs of Istanbul. It also said that the PKK was preparing a round of attacks against Turkish military and business targets.

Haravghi led with a report about the election of the new general secretary of the left-wing Peo trade unions federation, Bambis Kyritsis. Kyritsis, who took 54 of the 94 votes, replaces Avraam Antoniou who has gone into retirement.

Machi put a different spin on Kyritsis' election, claiming that the new general secretary had been imposed on the union by the Akel leader Demetris Christofias who, in this way, would have complete control over Peo. It said Kyritsis had never been a union man, entering Peo just four years ago.

The fact that 40 per cent of Peo members voted for Kyritsis' opponent was proof that half the union disputed Christofias' authority and choices.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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