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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-02-26

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, February 26, 1999

Turks leak Aegean invasion plans

THE TURKISH threats against Cyprus and Greece that have been raging since the arrest of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan continued to dominate the front pages yesterday.

Simerini reported that the leaking of Turkish military plans for the invasion of the Aegean island of Kastellorizo had increased tension between Greece and Turkey. Ankara had been heightening the tension by leaking information about its military plans, according to which the invasion of Kastellorizo would be followed by the capture of more Aegean islands.

According to sources in Greece, the military plan had been in existence since the Imia crisis three years ago. Greece had stepped up navy patrols in the Aegean Sea, while troops stationed on the borders with Turkey had been put on alert.

Alithia gave prominence to President Clerides' denial of Turkish claims that there were military camps in the free areas of Cyprus which trained Kurdish guerrillas. He said Unficyp as well as all diplomats were allowed to move freely and would have known if there were such camps. The EU was welcome to send envoys to establish the truth, Clerides said.

Meanwhile, Turkish officials had linked Ocalan's arrest with the Cyprus problem, saying that Cyprus' allegedly close links with the Kurds were an obstacle to efforts to find a settlement. Greece, however, warned that it would not allow Turkey to set the diplomatic agenda.

Haravghi quoted Akel leader Demetris Christofias calling for calm in the face of the provocative Turkish statements. He predicted that the Turks would continue the "war of nerves" and recommended a cool-headed approach by the Greek side.

Phileleftheros said that the UN set of ideas, submitted in 1992 as a framework for a Cyprus settlement, remained a basis for negotiations and would be on the table when the new peace initiative got under way some time in the summer.

The issue had been raised by British envoy Sir David Hannay in a speech he had given at a Foreign Office seminar recently. A British High Commission source said that the UN set of ideas was not a take-it-or-leave-it package, but was very useful and it was up to the two sides to use it.

Politis also led with a Cyprus problem report. It said that the latest, ambitious attempt by the US to find a settlement to the Cyprus problem would start in Washington in April at a meeting at which the US, Britain, Greece and Turkey would be represented. President Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair, who will be at a Nato summit in Washington, would participate, together with the Turkish President and Greek Prime Minister.

Britain and the US had prepared a detailed list of proposals for a settlement that they planned to unveil at the Washington summit, which they hoped would pave the way for direct talks between President Clerides and Rauf Denktash. The only danger, according to US sources, was that the Ocalan affair could derail the whole process.

Machi revealed that efforts for the establishment of a Social Democratic grouping, which several small parties would join, were on the verge of collapse. Edek general secretary Marinos Sizopoulos alleged that Diko was working to undermine the formation of this grouping by employing obvious delaying tactics.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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