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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-06-03

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek Americans call on US to stop encouraging Turkish aggression
  • [02] British Bases deny Greek vessel inspection
  • [03] Bradimas says Turkey the key to a solution

  • 1020:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Greek Americans call on US to stop encouraging Turkish aggression

    Nicosia, Jun 3 (CNA) -- Greek American leaders have asked US President Bill Clinton to personally intervene to stop officials of his government from tacitly encouraging Turkish aggression.

    In a letter sent yesterday, the Greek American leaders support Cyprus' right to its defences and say that statements by US officials against the Cyprus government's decision to deploy the defensive S-300 missiles, while keeping quiet about Turkish aggression, also weakens voices of peace in Turkey.

    The letter to the US President is signed by the Presidents of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus and the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes.

    The Greek American leaders say that American officials' statements about the Russian-made S-300 "are encouraging aggressive voices in Turkey and increasing instability in the eastern Mediterranean".

    They note that the American officials criticise the Cyprus government but say "nothing critical" about Turkey's military overflights in Cyprus and its illegal military occupation of 37 per cent of the island's territory since 1974.

    "We ask you to personally intervene now to stop this aggression- encouraging policy of blaming the victim," they add.

    They point out that "when such blame-the-victim statements come from the world's only remaining superpower, voices for peace in Turkey are weakened and voices for aggression encouraged".

    The Cyprus government ordered the S-300 in January 1997 in a bid to boost its air defence, but has said it would reconsider its decision if there is substantive progress in reaching a settlement to the Cyprus problem or if demilitarisation is agreed.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [02] British Bases deny Greek vessel inspection

    Nicosia, Jun 3 (CNA) -- The Cypriot press today wrote that a British Bases helicopter yesterday illegally inspected a Greek registered vessel, prompting a strong denial by the Bases.

    The newspapers support that the MV Raphael was approached by an RAF Wessex helicopter circled around the ship and then asked the captain for information regarding its cargo and crew.

    They described the whole incident, which occurred in the Akrotiri peninsula in the south of the island, as an "illegal" and "hostile act".

    However, a British Bases press release describes the reports as "complete fabrication with no basis in fact".

    They add that the Wessex helicopter was on a routine search-and-rescue training flight.

    "The MV Raphael was approached by an RAF Akrotiri-based helicopter and a request was made by radio to lower an RAF winch-man onto the deck and then lift him back off. There was nor reply from the vessel to the request and so the helicopter then flew away," it adds.

    The Bases say that contrary to the reports "no instructions were issued to the MV Raphael and no-one boarded the ship".

    They also say that such requests are daily occurrence, as "the professionalism of the helicopter crews can only be maintained by regular training flights involving real ships at sea".

    The Bases point out that its helicopter squadron based at Akrotiri "provides a comprehensive maritime search-and-rescue facility for the whole of the eastern Mediterranean".

    It adds that in 1997 RAF helicopters were involved in more than forty rescue missions around Cyprus and 25 lives were saved.

    "The newspaper reports are complete nonsense", Bases spokesman Mervyn Wynn Jones said.

    Britain has retained two Bases on the island, on the southern coast, under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment of the Cyprus Republic.

    CNA MA/GP/1998

    [03] Bradimas says Turkey the key to a solution

    Nicosia, Jun 3 (CNA) -- The military is the decision and policy-maker in Turkey, former US Congressman, John Bradimas pointed out today, urging Turkey to decide whether it wishes to become a modern democratic country or not.

    Speaking after a meeting with President of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, Bradimas, who has been invited to the island to receive an honourary degree by the University of Cyprus, stressed that the key to a Cyprus settlement is in Ankara.

    Describing Cyprus' prospect of accession to the European Union as a "development of great significance", Bradimas added:

    "There is obviously agreement that the position of Turkey in respect to Cyprus has only hardened" and expressed the view that "the key decision- making in respect to this island is in Ankara".

    He also said that "it is up to Turkey to make the decision as to whether or not it wishes to become a modern democratic state or wishes to turn away from Europe and become a pariah state".

    The former Congressman said that one of the lessons he has come away with here and which he will convey to US Presidential Emissary, Richard Holbrooke and State Department Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, is that:

    "We need to give more attention to the role of the Turkish military because I think they play a key role in deciding on the politics of Turkey."

    Bradimas wondered "will Turkey be a democracy or will it not be? That will have an important impact on Turkey's attitude towards Europe and Turkish attitudes towards Cyprus", he said.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA KN/MCH/GP/1998
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