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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-04

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, February 4, 1998


  • [01] Iacovou 'did nothing to prevent UDI'
  • [02] Undecideds hold key to victory
  • [03] Koshis fury at criminal constables claim
  • [04] Disy woman sues Iacovou over use of photograph
  • [05] Citizenship will be optional for children of foreign fathers
  • [06] EU talks offer an 'affront', Denktash says
  • [07] Azur hotel sues unions and police over strike
  • [08] Insufficient evidence to press charges over icons
  • [09] Elephant ills prompt concern over Limassol zoo
  • [10] Restoration work wins Euro award
  • [11] Police deny wrongdoing in smuggling sting
  • [12] Two charged for Ayia Napa bombs
  • [13] Government insists reunification is the goal

  • [01] Iacovou 'did nothing to prevent UDI'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DIKO'S Spyros Kyprianou and presidential candidate George Iacovou were yesterday accused of being responsible for allowing the Turkish Cypriots to establish a breakaway state in 1983.

    The damning indictment came from Liberal presidential hopeful Nicos Rolandis during a press conference in Nicosia yesterday.

    He said Kyprianou, who was then president, and his foreign minister Iacovou did little to heed the warning signs from Ankara in the months leading up to UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence).

    Rolandis claimed Iacovou ignored warnings from foreign diplomats that Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash were planning such a move.

    He also said that he himself had spelled out the danger to Kyprianou, only to be branded a scaremongerer through the then Diko mouthpiece Eleftherotypia.

    "Kyprianou said there was no reason for alarm and Eleftherotypia called me a Nostradamus and accused me of espousing coffeeshop rumours," Rolandis said yesterday.

    The Liberal leader served as foreign minister under Kyprianou from 1978 until he resigned over political differences in 1983.

    He was succeeded by Iacovou - just "fifty days before UDI," as Rolandis puts it.

    The 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' was proclaimed on November 15, 1983, but Rolandis claims Iacovou had been told of such an eventuality at a European summit in Madrid between September 7 and 9 that same year.

    Despite this, neither Kyprianou nor Iacovou took any immediate action to prevent such a move, Rolandis charged.

    "In my opinion, Mr Iacovou in his position, should have taken steps to prevent it," Rolandis added. "If he moved in Washington, Moscow, London and Paris he could have succeeded, through applying pressure, in preventing the declaration."

    The Greek government of the time was also accused of standing idly by as Turkey supported Denktash in making his political coup.

    [02] Undecideds hold key to victory

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    A NEW opinion poll released yesterday shows Glafcos Clerides a fraction ahead of George Iacovou in the second round of the presidential elections, but with a substantial 17 per cent undecided or casting a blank vote.

    The poll, carried out by Avgoustis &amp; Associates, appears to confirm that smaller parties, and particularly socialist Edek, will play a determining role in deciding who the next president will be.

    According to the poll, Clerides squeezes past Iacovou in the second round, with 42.11 per cent of those asked opting for the incumbent, compared to 40.15 per cent for the Akel and Diko backed challenger; 2.29 per cent of those polled said they would cast a blank vote, while 15.45 per cent remained undecided.

    The poll was carried out by telephone between January 29 and February 2, using a sample of 1,050 people, of whom 131 (12.5 per cent) refused to participate.

    Organisers acknowledged that telephone polls had disadvantages compared to the door to door method, and that this could account for the relatively high percentage of undecided voters, even though the elections are only a few days away.

    "It is easier to slide out of answering by saying 'I haven't decided yet'," Andreas Avgoustis told reporters. But he said the poll reflected the trend among the electorate during the period in which it was conducted.

    In the first round, Iacovou comes out ahead with 35.91 per cent to Clerides' 34.93 per cent. Edek's Vassos Lyssarides takes 8.38 per cent, the United Democrats' George Vassiliou 3.92 per cent and Alexis Galanos - the former Diko vice president 3.81 per cent.

    There is better news for Liberal party president Nicos Rolandis, who polls 2.07 per cent. Other opinion polls have put him under 1 per cent. Nicos Koutsou of the New Horizons polls 1.2 per cent. Among the respondents, 1.63 per cent said they would cast a blank, while 8.15 per cent said they were undecided.

    If the blank and undecided votes are distributed according to the strength of the candidates, the poll gives the following results: Iacovou 39.8 per cent, Clerides 38.72 per cent, Lyssarides 9.29 per cent, Vassiliou 4.34 per cent, Galanos 4.23 per cent, Rolandis 2.29 per cent, Koutsou 1.33 per cent.

    The poll confirms trends identified in other opinion polls, which show Diko supporters deeply divided on how to vote.

    According to the Avgoustis poll, 48 per cent of Diko voters said they would vote for Iacovou, 20 per cent backed Galanos, 21 per cent were undecided, 2 per cent were blank, 2 per cent chose Clerides and 7 per cent someone else.

    Iacovou's candidacy secures the support of 87 per cent of Akel voters. Six per cent of Akel voters said they would vote for Vassiliou and another 6 per cent were undecided.

    Among Disy voters, 92 per cent said they would vote for Clerides and 8 per cent said someone else. Among Edek voters, 78 per cent chose Lyssarides, 16 per cent chose Iacovou, 1 per cent were undecided, 3 per cent chose Clerides and 2 per cent said someone else.

    Overall, Iacovou takes 64 per cent of his votes from Akel, 20 per cent from Diko, 9 per cent from new voters and 7 per cent from others. Clerides secures 92 per cent of his support from Disy, 6 per cent from new voters and 2 per cent from others. Lyssarides takes 74 per cent from Edek, 9 per cent from Diko and 17 per cent from others. And Vassiliou takes 46 per cent from the United Democrats, 40 per cent from Akel and 14 per cent from others.

    [03] Koshis fury at criminal constables claim

    By Charlie Charalambous

    JUSTICE Minister Nicos Koshis yesterday reacted angrily to allegations that a number of recently hired special constables had been recruited from the criminal underworld.

    The minister was stunned when Akel deputy Kikis Yiangou claimed that some of the new special constables, recruited for greater security during the elections, had criminal records.

    Both were present at a special House Interior sub-committee meeting with a mandate to ensure the smooth running of the presidential elections.

    The committee was discussing whether the recent recruitment of 86 special constables had been politically motivated, as charged by Yiangou, his fellow deputy Andreas Christou and Diko deputy Nicos Cleanthous.

    Yiangou went further, saying there was a "secret register" of constables now employed by the state who had criminal records and connections with organised crime.

    Koshis challenged the committee to produce evidence to back up the claims, as well as others suggesting some of the new constables had been involved in smuggling from the occupied areas.

    Police chief Panicos Hadjiloizou told the committee that all such allegations had been investigated and that not a shred of evidence had been found against any special constable.

    And as requested the police chief submitted a register of all the special constables recruited over the last ten years.

    Due to the sensitive nature of the allegations, the committee said it would discuss the information on "secret constables" during a closed session.

    The committee also requested that, if a clandestine register did exist, then it should also be submitted for discussion.

    Koshis has argued that the emergency request for extra constables was made because of fears for the safety of the presidential candidates.

    [04] Disy woman sues Iacovou over use of photograph

    By Jean Christou

    A DIE-HARD supporter of President Glafcos Clerides is suing his main election rival George Iacovou for using her photo in a campaign leaflet without her permission.

    Disy supporter Georgia Neocleous, 24, from Limassol, claims Iacovou used her photograph without her permission.

    Neocleous says she has suffered continual ridicule from friends and acquaintances since the publication of Iacovou's programme several weeks ago; she is now seeking damages of between £25,000 and £50,000, her lawyer Neoclis Neocleous said.

    According to the writ, served yesterday, Iacovou has the right to appear before the court on Friday - two days before the elections - to defend himself and show why the case should not go ahead.

    His campaign office yesterday issued an apology, and said the photograph had been used by mistake.

    The offending photograph showed Neocleous sitting behind a computer desk.

    She said the photo had been taken when she worked for the Atteshli Shipping company three years ago and was used in an advertising campaign with her permission.

    It appears the advertising agency involved pulled the picture form their files for the Iacovou campaign without checking the situation over rights.

    In the writ, Neocleous describes herself as a "middle class person with a good reputation in her environment".

    Her friends, she said, knew she was an avid Disy supporter; when the photograph appeared, she said she was subjected to a barrage of criticism and ridicule from people who thought she had changed her political beliefs.

    This "shunning" by her friends has "shattered her nerves," Neocleous said.

    [05] Citizenship will be optional for children of foreign fathers

    By Jean Christou

    THE SONS of Cypriot women married to foreign men may have to do military service if the Attorney-general or the House decides that a new bill on citizenship should be amended to include such a provision.

    But as it stands, the bill, which aims to ease the residency and employment restrictions on non-Cypriot fathers and to equalise citizenship rights for women, simply gives foreign husbands and their children by Cypriot mothers the option to apply for citizenship.

    Any child who did opt for Cypriot citizenship would have to do military service, a senior official from the Interior Ministry said.

    The optional provision comes as a relief to the thousands of mixed couples who feared their sons might be drafted if citizenship was automatically bestowed.

    Under the current law, in force since independence, Cypriot nationality can only be transmitted through the father; this means that children of Cypriot mothers and foreign fathers - though born and resident in Cyprus - do not have citizenship rights.

    The bill was submitted to the Attorney-general's office yesterday.

    However, the Interior Ministry official, Costas Hadjipavlou, did not rule out the possibility that by the time the bill reached the House plenum, it may have been amended to impose automatic citizenship - and therefore compulsory military service - on the children of Cypriot mothers.

    "If we want to equalise the treatment of the mother, then their children should have to go in the army," Hadjipavlou said. Children of Cypriot fathers are automatically considered Cypriot, irrespective of their mother's nationality.

    "As the bill stands, if they don't register, they will not be regarded as Cypriots, but of course the bill is not finalised," Hadjipavlou said.

    Attorney-general Alecos Markides has not yet seen the bill, but - asked about the military service aspect - yesterday told the Cyprus Mail: "a right is always accompanied by an obligation."

    The draft amendment to the nationality law was approved last week by the cabinet.

    It also provides that foreign men married to Cypriots would only have to complete three years' residency before being entitled to citizenship. The current requirement is five years. These men will not be called up for military service.

    [06] EU talks offer an 'affront', Denktash says

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has scoffed at suggestions that members of his community might join Cyprus-European Union accession talks set to start at the end of March.

    In a "viewpoint" published in yesterday's Turkish Daily News, Denktash reiterated his objections to Cyprus' EU application, which he says frustrates UN efforts to find a settlement.

    Denktash has doggedly opposed the application, even though opinion polls show most Turkish Cypriots want to join the EU.

    In his article, originally published in the January 22-28 edition of European Voice, Denktash says publication of the European Commission's Agenda 2000 report envisaging the start of accession talks with the government of Cyprus in spring had "dashed hopes of any progress towards a comprehensive settlement."

    And he added: "This ill-timed development, totally against the will of the Turkish Cypriot side and in spite of our justified objections to EU membership prior to a settlement, and maintenance of the Greco-Turkish balance in the eastern Mediterranean, dealt a devastating blow to the negotiations."

    Denktash says his side could "not be expected" to remain engaged in this process as long as other developments which they objected to were taking place without their participation.

    Cyprus EU membership can only be discussed after an overall settlement, and following separate referendums of the two sides, he says.

    Yet he also rejects the idea that Turkish Cypriots might join the EU process - in line with an offer from the Cyprus government for Turkish Cypriot participation in the team to hold accession talks.

    "The suggestion that the Turkish Cypriot community become part of the EU membership process initiated by the unilateral Greek Cypriot application is an affront to a people which have struggled for equal rights and status in Cyprus for the last 34 years," Denktash says.

    [07] Azur hotel sues unions and police over strike

    AZUR hotel owner George Tsanos is claiming £1.5 million in damages from the Sek and Peo workers unions and from the police for alleged defamation and loss of profits to the Azur during recent hotel employee strikes.

    The strikes arose over union claims that Tsanos was illegally employing foreign workers; a claim he has persistently denied.

    Tsanos has filed a suit for £500,000 against both unions and the 11 Azur employees for the strike which took place between July 22 and November 6, 1997.

    The Azur hotel owner claims the strike action defamed his hotel in the eyes of foreign guests, resulting in a marked drop in profits.

    In addition, Tsanos is claiming damages from the unions for slandering his name and other business enterprises.

    He is reportedly also suing police for £1 million for unlawful actions and failing to take requisite steps during the strike.

    [08] Insufficient evidence to press charges over icons

    A TURKISH Cypriot arrested on suspicion of stealing icons and illegally trading in archaeological treasures was released yesterday after the prosecution found insufficient evidence to refer his case to the Larnaca district court.

    Police arrested building contractor Ali Can, 22, on January 12 after he and companion Halil Kandemir, 22, ended up in Larnaca after crossing the occupied Pergamos checkpoint into to buffer zone village of Pyla.

    Can was remanded in custody for a total of 21 days after police found 14 pictures of icons, believed to be stolen from churches in occupied Famagusta, beneath the carpet of his car.

    Can claimed he stole the icons two years ago together with Turkish Cypriot soldiers during his military service in the Turkish Cypriot forces. The icons, he said, were now to be found in the Church of Ayios Ioannis of Varosha which had been converted into a museum.

    [09] Elephant ills prompt concern over Limassol zoo

    By Jean Christou

    ANIMAL rights activists were yesterday fearing for the life of Limassol zoo's ailing elephant Julie.

    According to reports from Limassol, the condition of 48-year-old Julie, who is suffering from osteoarthritis in her leg, is going from bad to worse.

    A team of vets examined her yesterday and admitted there has been no improvement in her condition.

    "On the contrary, her condition has worsened," an announcement by the team of vets said. They said, however, they had decided to continue her therapy and seek out a second opinion from a zoologist.

    A Representative from the Limassol-based animal rights group, Animal Responsibility Cyprus (ARC), said, however, they had already contacted the British organisation Care for the Wild over Julie's plight.

    The organisation believes the vets treating Julie should be experts in exotic animals, rather than in domestic and farm animals.

    "We want to get some expert advice in case she needs more help," the ARC member said, adding that the zoo had not approached them for assistance.

    ARC is critical of the zoo administration both for the way in which they say her treatment is being mishandled, and for the recent unexpected birth of two leopards whose mother had been on a course of contraceptives.

    The ARC representative said the birth of the two cubs showed unprofessionalism on the part of the zoo. "They promised there would be no more breeding," the representative said.

    ARC also blames the zoo itself for Julie's illness.

    "She has to live on concrete which is conducive to arthritis and she has no exercise," the ARC representative said.

    Animal rights groups in Cyprus have long been concerned about the conditions at Limassol zoo, and especially the confined area in which Julie and other large animals are housed.

    [10] Restoration work wins Euro award

    TWO Cypriot architectural projects have won diplomas from the Europa Nostra scheme for preservation.

    The winning diplomas were granted for the restoration work carried out on the Monastery of Panayi tou Sinti in the Paphos district and on a traditional house with ancient tombs in the Ayios Omoloyitae area of Nicosia.

    Over 150 projects from 21 European countries were entered in the scheme from the private sector and from national, regional and local authorities.

    The Europa Nostra Award Scheme was launched in 1978, and recognises projects which make a distinguished contribution to the conservation and enhancement of Europe's architectural and natural heritage.

    It is sponsored by the European Commission, Crédit Suisse, the Hellenic Bottling Company S.A. and the Leventis Foundation.

    [11] Police deny wrongdoing in smuggling sting

    By Aline Davidian

    PROSECUTION witness Andreas Polycarpou yesterday denied that a police sting in which he took part breached police regulations.

    Polycarpou was cross-examined by Turkish Cypriot lawyer Youstrel Katri in the Nicosia Assizes court yesterday in the continuation of the trial of two Turkish Cypriots charged with attempting to smuggle guns and animals from the north.

    Shepherd Ozman Kondoz, 41, and butcher Mustafa Veli, 33, both from occupied Louroudjina, were arrested on the night of October 23 following a sting operation involving Greek Cypriot police in the buffer zone near their village.

    Katri has maintained his clients were caught in a trap set by undercover officers and chief prosecution witness Andreas Maltezos.

    He has also said police and Maltezos were lying when they said Kondoz and Veli were carrying guns at the time of their arrest.

    Kondoz and Veli have pleaded not guilty to five charges relating to alleged smuggling and gun possession.

    Polycarpou, one of the undercover police officers involved in the sting, said he had only known about the arrest plan towards the end, but denied this was a breach of police regulations.

    Katri asked Polycarpou whether the alleged deal between police and his clients had only involved sheep smuggling, not gun running.

    The prosecution witness stressed the deal included both sheep and guns, and denied that "police pressure" had been involved.

    Polycarpou said police officer Costas Miamiliotis brought cash to seal the agreement in bundles of £10 notes, handing it over to police officer Yiannakis Ellinas to give to Veli.

    Police officer Yiannakis Ellinas also took the stand to be examined by prosecution attorney, Maria Malachtou.

    He said he had formed the plan after being contacted by Maltezos who met Kondoz and Veli in Pyla in August 1995.

    Ellinas said Maltezos told him Veli had proposed a smuggling operation if Maltezos could find interested parties.

    More specifically, Veli had asked Maltezos to find a buyer for 30 pistols, 2 kalashnikovs, one G3 automatic, three self-loading rifles and one million pound's worth of fake £10 notes from Turkey, Ellinas said.

    Ellinas then said he had set up another meeting with the Turkish Cypriots and Maltezos, accompanied by a disguised Polycarpou, posing as the "master's lackey".

    Polycarpou confirmed the tip-off originally given by Maltezos to Ellinas, but pointed out Ozman and Veli wished to deal directly with "the boss".

    Ellinas said this prompted him to pose as a crooked millionaire, wanted by police for dealings with the Mafia abroad.

    He said he met with the two defendants in mid-September on the Koshis- Athienou road and had insisted on proof of their gun running activities.

    The two had promised a further meeting in the presence of Maltezos, said Ellinas, when they would bring a gun sample as proof.

    This led to a meeting on October 18, added Ellinas. The trial is set to continue on February 11.

    [12] Two charged for Ayia Napa bombs

    TWO men charged with planting explosive devices in Ayia Napa will stand trial before the assizes later this month. They remain in custody until their trial.

    George Mavros, 24, and Demetris Demetriou, 34, were yesterday charged before the Famagusta District Court with planting an explosive device at the Ayia Napa primary school in February last year. They were also charged with planting a similar device at the coastal resort's post office the same month.

    Neither were required to answer the charges and the court referred the case to the assizes, which will hear their case on February 27.

    The court said the two could be released on £10,000 bail. Neither could raise the money and they remain in police custody.

    On his way out from the court, Demetriou was arrested as a suspect in two other bomb attacks - both in Ayia Napa - last year. He was taken into police custody and will appear in court today for a remand.

    [13] Government insists reunification is the goal

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THE GOVERNMENT said yesterday it was committed to reunifying Cyprus on the basis of UN resolutions even if Turkey backed partition.

    "I wish to reject categorically any notion of accepting the fait accompli resulting from the 1974 Turkish invasion," Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said in a written statement.

    He was responding to reports that Ankara sees a divided island as the only viable solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Former Greek premier Constantinos Mitsotakis said in a TV interview this week that Ankara's pro-partition stance had been revealed to him by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz.

    Mitsotakis said Yilmaz had intimated that Turkey was willing to return some territory in exchange for Cyprus being divided into two separate entities.

    But Cassoulides dismissed any attempt to "readjust the so-called borders and any idea of (only) part of Cyprus joining the European Union."

    He emphasised that Cyprus's borders were its coastline and that the application for EU entry covers the entire island.

    His stance was reaffirmed by President Clerides during a Disy election rally in Nicosia last night.Clerides said Cyprus's sovereignty was not for sale.

    Commenting on possible EU entry before a political solution, Clerides said accession would concern the "whole of Cyprus, as was the case in Germany, and is the case today with the (EU-Cyprus) Customs Union agreement."

    The Mitsotakis interview also brought a strong response from the various party leaders.

    Disy's Nicos Anastassiades said the interview signalled that Cyprus was at a critical turning point in its history and underlined the importance of the coming elections.

    Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou said Mitsotakis's revelations showed Turkey was only interested in partition. It was now up to the US, the UN and the EU to make Ankara change its stance, he said.

    Kyprianou said there could be no concessions on the issues of twin sovereignty, a rotating presidency and the presence of settlers from the Turkish mainland.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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