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A.N.A. Bulletin, 12/08/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 961), August 12, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Turks savagely kill Greek Cypriot man in buffer zone

  • [2] Cyprus Police account of anti-occupation rally

  • [3] President Clerides condemns murder

  • [4] Freedom in Cyprus is world' business, Reppas says

  • [5] Presidential address - Motorcyclist chief apologizes

  • [6] Turks protest outside Greek consulate in Istanbul

  • [7] FYROM will not compromise on name issue, Frckovski says

  • [8] Opposition reaction

  • [9] Pangalos set to visit Albania, reports say

  • [10] Another tremor worries Konitsa residents

  • [11] Tribute held for Andreas Papandreou

  • [12] Murder of family members was 'God's will', Sehidis says

  • [13] Illegal immigrant smugglers arrested


  • [1] Turks savagely kill Greek Cypriot man in buffer zone

    Nicosia, 12/08/1996 (ANA - G. Leonidas/CNA)

    A Greek Cypriot was killed and 41 other demonstrators were wounded, some seriously, after being beaten by Turks in the buffer zone dividing the Republic of Cyprus since Turkish forces occupied the northern part of the island-republic in 1974.

    The dead man and the wounded demonstrators were part of a group of motorcyclists from Cyprus and other European countries who arrived on the island on Saturday by ship from Piraeus after riding from Berlin in a peaceful protest of the continued division of the island.

    Despite a call from Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides to rally organizers earlier yesterday to cancel the ride across the cease-fire line, some of the protesters went ahead, to be met with fire from the Turkish occupation forces.

    Tassos Isaac, 24, of Paralimni, died in hospital of injuries sustained at the Dherynia checkpoint. Isaac and most of the others wounded had become trapped in barbed wire and then savagely beaten by Turkish settlers and Turkish-Cypriots using sticks and pieces of metal, while soldiers from the UN forces (UNFICYP) looked on.

    A statement by UNFICYP representative Waldemar Rokoszewski told CNA that his forces had been unable to intervene as they had been understaffed and were not trained to deal with demonstrators.

    Some of the motorcyclists had pushed ahead into the buffer zone despite an appeal from Mr. Clerides earlier in the day not to proceed into the zone, an appeal which their federation leadership had agreed to.

    While thanking the Cypriot motorcyclists' federation and the foreign participants in the rally for trying to draw international public opinion to the continued abuse of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cyprus by the Turkish occupation forces and the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, Mr. Clerides emphasized that the Turkish side had taken steps to give the impression that yesterday's protest was a clash between the motorcyclists and groups of Turkish Cypriots, thus enabling them to call in the Turkish occupation forces.

    Therefore, he added, he had considered it necessary to ask the federation to call an early end to its so-far successful demonstration, which had initially been planned to enter the occupied areas and go as far as the northern port of Kyrenia.

    In Athens, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas strongly condemned the killing of the demonstrator, and called on the international community, and "all free people struggling for a better way of life, to realize that freedom in Cyprus is also their business."

    [2] Cyprus Police account of anti-occupation rally

    Nicosia, 12/08/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    The toll of yesterday's anti-occupation rally was one person dead and 41 wounded - 36 of these were Greek-Cypriot civilians, three were police officers and two were police officers serving with one of the two British bases on the island.

    Health Minister Manolis Christofides later visited the wounded in hospitals in Larnaca and Paralimni.

    Police said in a statement that the dead person, Anastassios (Tassos) Isaac, "was trapped in barbed wire in the buffer zone and was beaten by the Turkish occupation troops with stones and batons."

    The statement said police "implemented a contingency plan, prepared to deal with tension and serious danger, which could possibly arise from undisciplined events."

    It added that demonstrators withdrew from all points in the UN-controlled buffer zone they had gathered at earlier yesterday.

    Increased tension was notable at various points along the 180-kilometre-long buffer zone and "the police was trying to avoid any confrontation with the demonstrators on the one hand and avert the danger of entering the buffer zone on the other."

    Police have acknowledged that their task was made even more difficult by the great length of the cease-fire line and the line's border with the British base of Dhekelia where the Cyprus police has no jurisdiction.

    There was increased trouble in three specific areas, in "Sopaz", on the eastern side of Nicosia, near Achna village in close proximity to the British bases and in the village of Dherynia, on the eastern end of the dividing line.

    More than 2,000 people were involved in scuffles in all three locations, the statement added.

    [3] President Clerides condemns murder

    Nicosia, 12/08/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides last night condemned the murder of the Greek-Cypriot demonstrator by the Turkish occupation regime and called on the international community to understand that the continuing Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus is a provocation.

    In a statement, the president said "this criminal and abhorrent act is another example of the ruthlessness of the occupation troops and constitutes blatant contempt of every principle of international law and violation of UN fundamental principles."

    The government, he said, will protest "this new horrific crime internationally and to all directions."

    The statement also said that "the murder provides yet more telling evidence that the tolerance of the continuing occupation intensifies the provocative behavior of the occupation troops and encourages the license of these troops and the self-styled Turkish Cypriot state."

    The president noted that unfortunately the information made known to the government late last night and yesterday had been confirmed.

    The information, Mr. Clerides added, had led him to ask the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation leadership to modify the last part of the anti-occupation rally, and the Federation complied with his request.

    Expressing "shock and deep sorrow for the inhuman murder" of 24-year-old Anastassios (Tassos) Isaac from Paralimni by the occupation troops and the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state, Mr. Clerides extended his "condolences and sympathy" to the murdered man's widow, now five-months pregnant, and to his family.

    The Cypriot government has announced that the funeral of the dead man will be held at the state's expense.

    [4] Freedom in Cyprus is world' business, Reppas says

    Athens,12/08/1996 (ANA)

    In Athens, the Greek government and all political parties expressed their abhorrence at Isaac's killing.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas expressed the government's distress at the death of the young Greek Cypriot, who "laid down his life for the right to move freely within his own country."

    "The attacks with firearms and the merciless beatings showed the extent of the barbarity," he added.

    Expressing the Greek government's deepest sympathy with Isaac's family, Mr. Reppas reiterated Greece's commitment to the Cypriot government's aim of achieving a permanent and just resolution of the Cyprus issue. He urged the international community and " all free people struggling for a better way of life, to realize that freedom in Cyprus is also their business".

    "What else are international organizations and governments waiting for," concluded Mr. Reppas' statement, "before they stop treating the Cyprus problem with indifference or with resolutions that have never been implemented, something which is tantamount to tolerance, support and encouragement of Attila (the name given to Cyprus' invasion by Turkey in 1974)."

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party praised the responsible and level-headed attitude of the Cypriot government and parties yesterday, while at the same time expressing its deep sorrow over the "unjust killing of a peaceful demonstrator, who fell victim to Turkish barbarity".

    ND pointed out that "international organizations, especially the United Nations and the European Union, and international public opinion generally could, even now, come to realize the true character and level of civilization of the Turkish occupation forces which still remain on Cyprus, violating every principle of international legality."

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras said that when foreign governments put Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on equal terms with the legal Cypriot government in dialogues for the Cyprus problem, "then the moral instigator of these abhorrent and brutal crimes against civilians is the provocatively biased stance of the international community with regard to the Attila."

    "All those who believe", Mr. Samaras continued, "that a submissive attitude to Turkey will supposedly lead to just solutions, should realize that the only thing this achieves is to increase Turkish provocativeness and aggressiveness."

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), expressed its indignation that "a peaceful demonstration by the Cypriot people gave Turkish chauvinists the opportunity to transform it into a bloody conflict."

    These sorts of incidents, the KKE spokesman said, "add grist to the mill of those who want to create tensions in Cyprus and prolong the de facto division of the island."

    A Coalition of the Left and Progress party announcement said "the blood and death that marked the bikers' protest reminded all humanity that the Cyprus problem is one of an invasion and occupation that shames all humanity and violates the guarantees of international law."

    "The US and other powerful countries in Europe", the announcement adds, "are responsible to history so long as they tolerate or cover up this unacceptable situation."

    [5] Presidential address - Motorcyclist chief apologizes

    Nicosia, 12/08/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    President Clerides yesterday at noon expressed satisfaction with the compliance of the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation (CMF) with his request to cancel the last part of yesterday's anti-occupation rally, which started from Berlin on August 2.

    The president also praised the "patriotism, courage and sense of responsibility" of the bikers and told them they had done a great job to publicize Cyprus' demand for freedom and justice.

    On his part, CMF President George Hadjicostas apologized to the hundreds of bikers and supporters of the rally for the cancellation of the ride but stressed that the decision to cancel the rally was taken with a heavy heart.

    In a televised address to the nation, Mr. Clerides publicly thanked the CMF for their initiative in organising the ride and extended special thanks to the Greek and other foreign participants.

    "They conveyed the message that Turkey's occupation of Cyprus' northern areas is continuing and the people of Cyprus are deprived of their fundamental freedoms," the president said.

    He described the service all bikers have done for Cyprus as "an immense contribution to Cyprus because it has touched on a chord among the international community about the continuing violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms by Turkey in Cyprus."

    Mr. Clerides said he had urged the CMF leadership to alter their plans and explained to them in detail "the serious reasons that warrant this change."

    Expressing satisfaction over the bikers' response, patriotism, courage and sense of responsibility, Mr. Clerides said that "as the President of the Cyprus Republic, having examined in a calm manner all the information before me and in full knowledge of m y responsibilities to the people of Cyprus, I have come to the conclusion that I had to ask the CMF leadership to modify the last part of their successful ride."

    I am satisfied, the President added, because the CMF leadership "responded in a positive manner and did so after I had briefed them extensively."

    He referred to concerns by the UN Secretary-General about the intention of the CMF to violate the UN-controlled buffer zone and measures taken by the Turkish side to give the impression that the confrontation was apparently between the bikers and Turkish Cypriots.

    "The Turkish side has organized groups which were instructed to confront the bikers to justify the intervention of the Turkish occupation troops," he revealed.

    On his part, Mr. Hadjicostas told bikers that after a detailed briefing by the president, "I weighed the pros and cons of the situation and we decided".

    "Following a detailed briefing by the president on (yesterday) morning's intervention by the UN Secretary-General and others, we considered the advantages and disadvantages and decided with a heavy heart to halt our ride here," he told the press.

    "It would have been far easier for us," he added, "to go ahead and get the applause but bearing in mind the harm we might have done to Cyprus, we accepted the President's advice and canceled the ride."

    "I am sorry that I have disappointed many people who backed our ride and I apologize to them. I am aware that many bikers feel bitter about this development but I assure them that the leadership of our Federation was even more disappointed," Mr. Hadjicostas said.

    He said the purpose of the much-publicized ride was to tell Europe and the world that human rights and in particular the right to free movement are being violated.

    In the past few days, he said, the Federation had received many threats from Turkey and the self-styled Turkish Cypriot regime but all were ignored.

    Following the announcement of the cancellation of the last part of the ride, hundreds of angry motorcyclists expressed their indignation.

    Many motorcyclists refused to obey the call of their leadership and took to the streets. Others gathered at various spots near the UN-controlled buffer zone, in an attempt to express their feelings of frustration.

    [6] Turks protest outside Greek consulate in Istanbul

    Istanbul, 12/08/1996 (ANA)

    Scuffles occurred outside the Greek consulate in Istanbul yesterday afternoon when roughly 500 Turkish protesters held a rally on the occasion of the events which took place in the buffer zone in Cyprus.

    Protesters gathered outside the consulate shouting the slogan "Cyprus is and always will be Turkish", and damaged a car belonging to a consulate employee before being dispersed by the police.

    According to reports, the protesters were members of the right-wing militant "Gray Wolves" group. Diplomatic sources said the Greek government will lodge a demarche with the Turkish foreign ministry over the incident.

    [7] FYROM will not compromise on name issue, Frckovski says

    Athens,12/08/1996 (ANA)

    The government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) does not intend to accept a compromise solution regarding that country's name, FYROM Foreign Minister Lubomir Frckovski said in an interview published in yesterday's "To Vima".

    Mr. Frckovski also raised the issue of a "Macedonian" minority in Greece, saying that "Greece considers it is a fully homogenous country, while we say there are minorities."

    With regard to the question of his country's name, Mr. Frckovski observed that since Greece had difficulty in accepting the name "Republic of Macedonia", a name which he said his government had no intention of changing, a series of practical measures would have to be found to govern relations between the two countries, with regard to official documents, for example.

    Thus, he added, Greece would have the option of calling his country any name it wished, allowing FYROM, as well as the international community, to use what the Foreign Minister called its constitutional name.

    Mr. Frckovski drew attention to what he called differences of opinion between Greece and FYROM over the existence of a "Macedonian" minority within Greece's borders. He suggested the formation of joint committees to deal with problems such as place names , teaching material, historical events and dates.

    Skopje proposes three committees be formed, one dealing with environmental issues, another to confront terrorism, crime and other security issues, with a third dealing with cultural, educational and historical matters.

    [8] Opposition reaction

    Athens,12/08/1996 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party characterized Mr. Frckovski's statements as a clear indication of his government's "provocative intransigence" regarding the name.

    ND party spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos criticized the Greek government for signing an interim accord with FYROM, adding that it appeared to have abandoned the issue of the name, allowing Skopje to drag out the UN-sponsored talks and to arrogate to itself the right to use the name "Macedonia" in its external relations.

    [9] Pangalos set to visit Albania, reports say

    Gjirokastr, 12/08/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is to pay a two-day unofficial visit to Albania at the end of August, diplomatic sources in Tirana said on Saturday.

    The sources said that although the visit would be private in nature, Mr. Pangalos was expected to have meetings with senior government officials in Tirana.

    The Albanian service of the Voice of America referred to the visit on Saturday, saying that it was within the framework of the continuing improvement of bilateral relations since Costas Simitis became prime minister. The visit was also confirmed by Greek Consular sources in Gjirokastr.

    [10] Another tremor worries Konitsa residents

    Athens,12/08/1996 (ANA)

    A mild earthquake shook the town of Konitsa a few minutes before 11.00 am yesterday morning, causing unease among its residents who are still recovering from two major quakes in the past week. Yesterday's tremor, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, caused no damage.

    [11] Tribute held for Andreas Papandreou

    Athens,12/08/1996 (ANA)

    A statue of the late Andreas Papandreou, founder of the ruling PASOK party and three times prime minister, is to be erected in the Kalentzi community of Achaia, the Papandreou family's ancestral home, the community's president announced yesterday.

    The statue and surrounding site, which is to serve as a memorial to Papandreou, will be erected by the Kalentzi Community, aided by the Achaia regional authority.

    The plan for erecting the statue was announced yesterday at a political tribute held in memory of the former prime minister by Kalentzi Community President Giorgos Petropoulos, during a speech in which he referred to Papandreou's personality and his contribution to Greece.

    During his speech, Achaia Prefect Mr. Athanasopoulos-Seretis spoke of the work and multi-faceted personality of the late PASOK president, stressing that throughout his political career he remained firm on a course of peace, democracy, justice and national independence.

    Prior to the political tribute for Andreas Papandreou, a memorial service was held before the statue of George Papandreou, Andreas Papandreou's father and also a former prime minister.

    Those attending the event included Culture Ministry Secretary-General Giorgos Thomas, parliamentary deputies Dimitris Katsikopoulos and Maria Thomas, Achaia prefecture, municipal and parliamentary advisors, representatives of various bodies and organizations and hundreds of citizens, chiefly from the Achaia mountain region.

    [12] Murder of family members was 'God's will', Sehidis says

    Athens,12/08/1996 (ANA)

    The 24-year-old Greek student arrested on Thursday for the murder of five members of his family on the island of Thassos in May, appeared before investigating magistrate Leonidas Tsigris yesterday in the northern town of Kavala.

    Theofilos Sehidis, who was formally charged yesterday with the murder of his mother, father, sister, grandmother and uncle, gave no explanation for committing the murders, other than saying he wanted to "deliver them from their illnesses", adding comments that were either incomprehensible or unrelated to the case.

    The third-year law student also declined the services of a lawyer, saying he would defend himself.

    Sehidis was judged fit to testify after being examined by a psychiatrist appointed by Kavala prosecutor Dimitris Papageorgiou, who also charged Sehidis with illegal possession and use of firearms and with desecrating his victims' bodies.

    Sehidis reportedly used a chain-saw to dismember the bodies before transporting four of them to Kavala and disposing of them in a rubbish dump, where a search is currently under way. The decapitated body of his 57-year-old uncle, who the student buried on Thassos, was recovered on Friday.

    A crowd of 40-50 people who had gathered outside the courthouse yesterday attempted to lynch Sehidis, but were restrained by police. Asked by journalists why he had killed his relatives, he replied with a smile that it had been "God's will".

    [13] Illegal immigrant smugglers arrested

    Athens,12/08/1996 (ANA)

    Ninety-nine illegal immigrants were discovered hiding in a truck on Saturday, after the driver was stopped near Didymoticho in northern Greece. The truck's driver, 30-year-old Constantine Palagas from Arona, Pieria, was arrested.

    According to reports, Palagas had passed through the Promachonas border post into Bulgaria on Thursday, telling customs officials that he was traveling to Burgas to receive a delivery of machinery.

    On Friday, he returned to Greece through the Ormenio border post in the Evros prefecture and, according to police, he later picked up the 99 illegal immigrants in a wooded area in the Amorio region.

    Authorities said Palagas hid the illegal immigrants in the back of his truck, placed false Bulgarian goods transportation seals on the doors of the vehicle and set off for Lamia.

    The vehicle was searched after it aroused the suspicions of one of the joint army-police patrols which have been formed to combat illegal immigration.

    The illegal immigrants told police they had crossed into Greece on Friday night from neighboring Turkey with the help of two Turkish accomplices of Palagas, whom they paid a total of 200,000 dollars.

    The truck has been confiscated and Palagas and the 99 illegal immigrants (50 Pakistanis, 45 Bangladeshis, 3 Indians and 1 Liberian) are due to appear before a public prosecutor in Orestiada.

    Meanwhile, coast-guard officials on the island of Samos arrested two Turkish nationals on suspicion of smuggling illegal immigrants into Greece after a speed-boat chase north of the island's Karlovasi area on Saturday.

    The two were named as Halil Top, 40, from Kusadasi and Mehmet Keles, 23, from Eregli.

    After questioning the two, Samos harbor police said they were responsible for smuggling nine Iraqi illegal immigrants arrested just off the coast of the island on August 5. Meanwhile, police were combing the island to find illegal immigrants which the two Turkish nationals may have transported there shortly before being arrested.

    End of English language section.

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