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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 97-10-22
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
 Cyprus Foreign Ministry issues formal statement on military oveflightsFollowing a spate of strong reactions against what was seen as lukewarm and non-committal response by the United States to the reported Turkish military overflights over Cyprus and particularly the buzzing and harassing of the aircraft carrying the Greek Defence Minister to and from a visit to Cyprus last week, the Republic's Foreign Ministry issued the following statement on Tuesday, 21.10.97:
"With respect to the two statements by the Spokesman of the US State Department on 20.10.97, the Cyprus Government wishes to remind all interested parties the following:
There was never an agreement for a moratorium on flights over the sovereign airspace of Cyprus. Last year the Cyprus Government unilaterally declared that, in order to help create the necessary good climate for the intercommunal talks, it had decided not to invite the Greek Air Force to participate in military exercises until September when the current cycle of talks was due to end. The outcome of the talks in New York and Montreux did not justify extension of this unilateral decision to cover the duration of the "Nikiforos" exercise.
It is out of the question for Cyprus to agree to a moratorium with Turkey which equates the violations of Cyprus' sovereign airspace by the Turkish Air Force with the legitimate invitation to the Greek Air Force to participate in exercises of the Cyprus National Guard within the framework of the joint defence pact between Cyprus and Greece.
When our own unilateral decision was announced, the US Administration informed us that Turkey too had decided to refrain from overflights over Cyprus in the same period. It is recalled, however, that Turkey repeatedly violated its pledge to the US Administration. It is also recalled that the announcement by both sides to refrain from overflights of Cyprus concerned fighter, not transport planes.
The harassment by Turkish fighter planes of the aircraft which carried the Greek Minister of National Defence, Mr Tsohatzopoulos, is a highly provocative action on the part of Turkey which should have been clearly condemned by all those who express concern about flights over the air space of Cyprus.
The Cyprus Government reserves the right to decide, if it deems that this is called for by circumstances, whether or not to invite - and for how long - the Greek Air Force to participate in its military exercises".
 Cyprus launches protest about airspace violations by TurkeyThe recent overflights of Turkish military aircraft over Cyprus and the repeated violation of the Republic's airspace have been officially protested to the UN.
In a letter addressed to the 52nd General Assembly and the Security Council, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN Ambassador Nicos Agathocleous stresses:
"These highly provocative and aggressive actions of Turkey cause serious concern and heighten tension in Cyprus".
He points out that "from 30 September to 14 October 1997, an alarmingly increasing number of violations of the airspace of the Republic of Cyprus and of the Nicosia FIR have taken place by military aircraft of the Turkish Air Force".
During the said period there were six cases of airspace and FIR violations on four different days by 26 Turkish military aircraft, including F-16 fighters and RF-4 reconnaissance planes.
 Holbrooke condemns Turkish air harassment of Greek MinisterRichard Holbrooke, the Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, stated on 21.10.97 that there was indeed harassment by Turkish fighter planes of the Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos's aircraft during his flights to and from Cyprus last week.
Speaking to the Athens news agency in Washington Mr Holbrooke said: "I have no doubt that the provocative action of harassing the aircraft by Turkish fighters indeed has taken place and I consider it a State Department's mistake the fact that it does not publicly acknowledge this fact".
He added that there is no excuse for what happened and that it is not possible to dispute it even after it has been recorded on camera.
According to the news agency report the American Presidential Emissary continued: "Even if the Greek Defence Minister wasn't on the plane, this constitutes an unacceptable action which does not help at all the efforts to defuse tension between Greece and Turkey", adding that he absolutely understands the concern and worry of all those aboard the C-130 plane carrying the Greek minister.
Referring to US State Department Spokesman James Rubin's characterisation of the Greek Minister's flight as "an overflight over Cyprus" which contravenes a flight moratorium, Mr Holbrooke said Mr Rubin did not have proper briefing on the subject by the relevant officials of the State Department bureaucracy.
 Art exhibition by "enclaved" children at the European ParliamentDrawings and paintings by Greek Cypriot children who are living under Turkish military occupation in the Karpass Peninsula are being exhibited at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The Karpass peninsula is the only area of the Turkish-occupied northern third of Cyprus where a number of Greek Cypriots have remained in their homes, albeit being subjected to inhuman restrictions and oppression in their daily lives. But the numbers of the Greek Cypriot and Maronite "enclaved" people have been dwindling since 1974 under the pressure of the Turkish occupying regime.
Opening the Exhibition on 21.10.97 Mr Ph. Monfils, President of the Cyprus- EU Joint Parliamentary Committee spoke of the well-documented violations of the "enclaved's" human rights and the personal courage of the local Greek lady teachers, especially Mrs Eleni Foka who accompanied the exhibition to Strasbourg. Mr Monfils praised the work of the teachers under inhuman conditions and promised that the European Parliament will continue to help the island's accession course to the European Union.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/