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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 98-02-05

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Thursday, February 5, 1998


  • [01] Last poll sess Clerides edging ahead
  • [02] Lyssarides rides high in new poll
  • [03] Chain wielding youths attack Edon group
  • [04] Akamas villagers abandon boycott after promises from all sides
  • [05] 'May the strongest win'
  • [06] Nothing fishy about Turkey deal
  • [07] Limassol elephant put down
  • [08] Turks release Greek man seized before Christmas
  • [09] Missiles will arrive on schedule
  • [10] Turkish Cypriot opposition slam 'self-imposed embargo'
  • [11] Mitsotakis under fire over Yilmaz trade-off plan
  • [12] US to maintain full economic aid to Cyprus
  • [13] Police seek forensic clues on missing tourist
  • [14] Clerides appeals for pressure on Ankara

  • [01] Last poll sess Clerides edging ahead

    INCUMBENT President Glafcos Clerides appeared to be edging ahead of his main rival George Iacovou in the last pre-election poll conducted by Cyprus College and sponsored by TV channel Sigma.

    The poll was broadly in line with the majority of surveys conducted so far showing Clerides and Iacovou neck and neck.

    According to yesterday's Sigma poll, Clerides will secure 35.5 per cent of first round votes and Iacovou 34.7 per cent.

    For the second round, 42 per cent of those asked said they would vote for Clerides, with 40.5 per cent voting for Iacovou.

    Of the lesser candidates, Edek's Vassos Lyssarides topped the first round, securing 8.7 per cent of votes, with United Democrat leader George Vassiliou getting 6 per cent, Diko rebel Alexis Galanos 4.3 per cent, New Horizons chief Nicos Koutsou 1.5 per cent and Liberal party candidate Nicos Rolandis 0.8 per cent.

    Those casting blank votes in the first round amounted to 2.2 per cent, whilst those still undecided came to 6.4 per cent.

    In the second round, blank votes amounted to 3.4 per cent, undecided 13.6 per cent and a further 0.4 per cent declining to say how they would vote on the second Sunday.

    The majority of young voters - at 47 per cent - would vote for Clerides in the first round, according to the poll, with only 19 per cent voting for Iacovou.

    Those voting Diko in 1996 were shown to give 41 per cent of their first round vote to Iacovou, 24 per cent to Galanos, 13 per cent to Clerides and 6 per cent to other candidates.

    A crucial 16 per cent were still undecided.

    The poll was carried out between January 30 and February 3, with a sample 1, 204 people polled.

    Statistical error was set at 2.7 per cent.

    [02] Lyssarides rides high in new poll

    By Bouli Hadjioannou

    A NEW poll shows there is still little to choose between election frontrunners Glafcos Clerides and George Iacovou with victory depending on the hitherto undecided voters.

    But the poll, carried out by Cymar and VPRC and made public yesterday, comes as a boost to Edek president Vassos Lyssarides who takes over 10 per cent - gaining votes from Diko sympathisers and new voters.

    Clerides retains his strength compared to an earlier poll by the same two companies while Iacovou is up with a better showing among Diko and Free Democrat voters.

    But despite his gains, Iacovou has not managed to establish a clear lead over Clerides. The poll shows him edging the incumbent president by 40 per cent to 38.5 per cent in the first round (if undecided, blank and don't knows are not counted) and staying neck and neck in the second round (40.6 per cent for Clerides and 40.1 per cent for Iacovou).

    In the second round, a solid 10 per cent remain undecided, 4.1 per cent said they would cast a blank and 5.2 per cent would not reply.

    The large number of undecided voters makes it impossible to risk a prediction, with the run-off to be decided by political alliances to be made after Sunday's vote, Cymar general manager Eleni Marangou told reporters yesterday.

    The Cymar-VPRC poll was carried out between January 28 and covered a sample of 1,000 people.

    The results for the first round are as follows (figures in brackets exclude those who were undecided, blank or did not answer):

    Glafcos Clerides: 33.6 per cent (38.5 per cent)

    George Iacovou: 34.9 per cent (40 per cent)

    Vassos Lyssarides: 11 per cent (12.6 per cent)

    George Vassiliou: 3.4 per cent (3.9 per cent)

    Nicos Rolandis: 0.1 per cent (0.2 per cent)

    Nicos Koutsou: 0.7 per cent (0.8 per cent)

    Alexis Galanos: 3.6 per cent (4.1 per cent)

    Blank: 1.5 per cent,

    Undecided: 5.9 per cent

    Did not reply: 5.2 per cent

    Both Disy and Akel show strong cohesion. More than 90 per cent of both parties come out in support of their man. But Diko still has a problem. Less than half of its voters (42.4 per cent) backed Iacovou - up over the 34.7 per cent figure in the January 8 to 18 poll. There was a move towards Lyssarides (from 2.3 per cent to 8 per cent), Galanos remained steady with 17.6 per cent, while the number of undecided Diko voters fell from 19.9 per cent to 10.1 per cent.

    Clerides still polled best among new voters but, his percentage fell from 45.1 per cent to 38 per cent. Significant developments among new voters were the jump in support for Lyssarides - from 2.2 per cent to 11 per cent - and the fall in the number of those still undecided, from 24.2 per cent to 12.3 per cent.

    The poll shows a drop in the number of Edek voters opting for Clerides in the second round (from 30.2 per cent to 18.4 per cent), but not in favour of Iacovou, who retains basically the same share of some 33 per cent. Instead, nearly one in two Edek voters said they were either undecided or would cast a blank.

    Among Galanos voters there was a clear second round preference for Clerides: 77.4 per cent with 22 per cent undecided or blank and none for Iacovou. Clerides gained ground among Vassiliou supporters - from 7.3 per cent to 37.8 per cent, while Iacovou slipped from 53 per cent to 33 per cent. Another 29 per cent were undecided.

    [03] Chain wielding youths attack Edon group

    A GANG of youths yesterday attacked nine members of the Akel youth organisation, Edon, inflicting severe head wounds on one of them.

    The incident occurred at around 1am yesterday, as Edon activists pasted up pro-Iacovou posters near the Nicosia disco strip.

    Police said they were attacked by youths armed with chains and clubs, who then disappeared into the night, leaving Edon central organiser Costas Costa with serious head injuries.

    Later in the day, police remanded 30-year-old Chrysostomos Psaras, from Arediou in Nicosia, for six days in connection with the attack.

    In a separate incident, 10 young people threw stones yesterday at the Disy HQ in Limassol after a George Iacovou rally.

    Police rounded up seven youths in connection with the incident, five of whom were minors and could not be detained.

    They were released after confessing to their role in the incident and being issued with written police warnings.

    The other two, Andreas Saouris, 23, and Dimitris Orthodoxou, 24, were remanded in custody for four days.

    Justice minister Nicos Koshis said the incidents were isolated.

    Both independent candidate George Iacovou and Disy chief Nicos Anastassiades condemned the incidents.

    [04] Akamas villagers abandon boycott after promises from all sides

    By Martin Hellicar

    INIA residents have abandoned their election boycott after receiving pre- election promises that their land would not be included in a national park.

    Last week, all but five of the 300 voters in the remote Akamas area village handed in their electoral registration booklets to Paphos District officer Nicos Roussos in protest at plans to protect the area from tourism development. Roussos refused to accept the booklets.

    Village mukhtar Sofoklis Pittokopitis said yesterday the village would now be voting after receiving assurances from both front-runners for the presidential elections - President Clerides and George Iacovou.

    "Both the main candidates came up to the village and promised to meet our three demands concerning the Akamas," Pittokopitis said.

    "Our demands were that the Akamas issue be decided in 1998, that the national park be restricted to within state forest land and that any national park plan would have to have Inia's consent," he said.

    Environmentalists have long campaigned for the remote peninsula - whose beaches are nesting sites for endangered loggerhead and green turtles - to be protected from mass tourist development.

    Greens have backed a government-commissioned World Bank report proposing the area be declared a national park with development limited to within existing village boundaries. Akamas residents have openly opposed the plan.

    The protestors risked fines or imprisonment had they failed to cast ballots on Sunday, as voting is compulsory in Cyprus.

    Pittokopitis warned that if the government had "done nothing" by April or May the village's 600 residents would pile into buses and descend on the Presidential Palace to protest.

    "We will protest there for two or three days and some of the old village men who are really attached to the land will go on hunger strike and may die," the mukhtar said.

    [05] 'May the strongest win'

    By Charlie Charalambous

    CHURCH-run Logos TV is entwined in an unholy battle with new subscription channel Alpha over frequency 34 in Nicosia.

    Viewers trying to tune into the recently launched Alpha are finding it difficult to receive a picture as Logos uses the same 34 frequency in some areas.

    This has resulted in both channels suffering poor reception and having to face the wrath of irate viewers.

    The Communications Ministry granted frequency 34, transmitting from Vavatsinia, to Alpha once it was issued a licence.

    But the new station's beam collided with Logos transmissions, which were using the previously free channel space in some parts of Nicosia.

    Once a complaint was lodged, the ministry sent a letter to Logos to stop transmitting on the same frequency as Alpha, so viewers of the new subscription channel could pick up the signal.

    Alpha says Logos has no right to use the same frequency it has been allocated.

    "Logos is not entitled to use the frequency and the station can already cover the whole of Nicosia with its other frequencies coming from Troodos," said an Alpha source.

    This view is disputed by Logos, which argues the frequency belonged to them before it was "arbitrarily taken away" and given to Alpha by the government.

    "We are determined to transmit from the same frequency and may the strongest survive," a Logos source said.

    The feud apparently stems from a disagreement between private stations and the government to withdraw transmitter beams from within urban boundaries.

    Alpha also uses the 34 frequency to transmit to parts of Larnaca, Paralimni and Limassol, which are not affected by the clash.

    The subscription channel plans to cover the whole island by mid-February.

    Other sources from both camps believe the battle for frequency 34 could soon be resolved amicably as the two stations are involved in peace talks.

    "If their is good will on both sides, we may solve the problem," said an industry insider.

    [06] Nothing fishy about Turkey deal

    By Charlie Charalambous

    RELATIONS between Nicosia and Ankara may not seem the most conducive to lucrative trade links, but a British-born Greek Cypriot is taking the plunge, hoping the Turkish market will help him spin out a multi-million turnover within three years.

    Andrew Constantinou, 28, whose parents are from Nicosia and now live in Larnaca, is launching a fish and chip franchise in Turkey.

    Constantinou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that there was "nothing political about the deal".

    "Basically they came to us, saw our product and decided that English fish and chip would be popular in Turkey."

    According to Constantinou (who visits Cyprus three times a year) his parents, relatives and friends have been "okay" with the idea, despite its political overtones.

    "I don't want to offend anybody, and my family are not overly concerned about it," Constantinou said from his UK fish shop.

    The aim is for the first five shops to be established in Istanbul, with plans to open 20 to 30 shops across the country.

    He estimates a turnover of £1.5 million Sterling within three years and is to export 15,000 haddock every week, with cans of his batter.

    Constantinou owns George's Traditional which he runs with his wife Wendy in Belper, Derbyshire.

    Although many Greek Cypriots may frown on any business deals with Turkey, Constantinou stood by his decision: "We think fish and chips will soon be regarded like McDonald's."

    Wendy Constantinou is also confident their special recipe will be a hit in Turkey.

    "There is nothing like fish and chips in Turkey. I'm sure they will love it. Fish and chips can become international like hamburgers or pizza."

    But Andrew assured the Mail he would like nothing better than to open a chain of shops in Cyprus, if only our view of the great British tradition underwent a face lift.

    "I'd like to do the same in Cyprus, but Cypriots over there have preconceived ideas about fish and chips, as something rather tacky and crappy."

    [07] Limassol elephant put down

    JULIE, Limassol Zoo's ailing 48-year-old elephant, was put to sleep yesterday.

    The animal was put down at around lunchtime after the its condition deteriorated on Tuesday.

    Julie had been diagnosed as suffering from osteoporosis in her front legs since early January, and over the last few days her condition had grown steadily worse.

    Finally, yesterday morning Limassol Mayor Demetris Kontides called in the Government Veterinary Services; after consulting with overseas specialists, Director Pavlos Economides took the decision to put the elephant out of her misery. She was buried immediately.

    One of the first animals to be brought to the zoo, Julie arrived in 1956. She was donated by a British Major General.

    Osteoporosis is one of the most common elephant diseases, and is difficult to cure, even in young animals.

    [08] Turks release Greek man seized before Christmas

    A GREEK national detained by the occupation regime since he crossed to the north on December 21 was yesterday released to return to the government- controlled areas.

    Spyros Lilles was handed over to Unficyp forces at the Ledra Palace check- point at about 10.50am yesterday, UN spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said.

    "He is fine, there were no problems and he was pleased to be back," Rokoszewski said. Lilles was met at the check-point by his mother.

    The 24-year-old had served three weeks of a one-month sentence imposed last month by a military 'court' in the north, which had found him guilty of "illegal entry into a military area."

    The UN spokesman said Lilles had been brought up before a 'court' in the north yesterday morning but the Turkish side had not given any reason for his early release. Turkish Cypriot news agency TAK reported the Greek had been granted a release by an 'appeals court'.

    Lilles, originally from Larissa in northern Greece but resident on the island, was arrested by Turkish forces after he wandered into the occupied areas in the early hours of December 21. It is understood Lilles, a salesman, was drunk when he entered the buffer-zone in the Ayios Pavlos suburb of Nicosia.

    [09] Missiles will arrive on schedule

    THE RUSSIAN government has given fresh assurances that the S-300 missiles will be delivered on schedule, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said yesterday.

    Cassoulides revealed what he said was the contents of the message Russian ambassador to Cyprus Giorgi Muratov had passed on to President Clerides on Monday.

    "Muratov asked to see the President to repeat the reassurances of the Russian side that the contract for the S-300 missiles would be kept to fully, despite international objections," Cassoulides said.

    Both the US and Britain have stated they would rather the Russian-made ground-to-air missiles were never delivered, fearing they would increase tensions on the island. Turkey has threatened a pre-emptive strike on the missiles should they arrive.

    The S-300s are due for delivery in the Summer.

    Media reports on Monday suggested Muratov's message to Clerides had been a personal one from Russian President Boris Yeltsin. But Cassoulides - who said he had secured Muratov's agreement to reveal the content of the Russian message to Clerides - made no mention of Yeltsin yesterday.

    [10] Turkish Cypriot opposition slam 'self-imposed embargo'

    TURKISH Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash's plans to impose visas on British nationals entering the occupied areas has caused widespread controversy in the north.

    The decision is in retaliation for last month's decision by the British government to demand entry visas from holders of Turkish Cypriot 'passports'. Denktash is also refusing to meet British representative on Cyprus Sir David Hannay until the visa restrictions are lifted.

    But the leaders of the opposition Republican Turkish Party and Communal Liberation Party, Mehmet Ali Talat and Mustafa Akinci, have branded the Denktash decision a "self-imposed embargo" that played into the hands of those already trying to isolate the Turkish Cypriots.

    Alpay Durduran of the New Cyprus Party said the action would further isolate the Turkish Cypriots, and that those who would do this should instead "wake up to the real world and help solve the Cyprus problem".

    The hoteliers' union in the north also expressed great concern, saying its members "did not even want to think of the losses such a decision would inflict on tourism and the economy".

    Denktash has also demanded that all Turkish Cypriot holders of Cyprus Republic passports should hand them in to his 'authorities'. Cyprus passports are available to all Turkish Cypriots born before 1974, and Turkish Cypriots are rumoured to have been flocking to Cyprus embassies overseas to obtain them as a way of bypassing the British visa restriction.

    "In my opinion," Denktash is quoted as saying, "those who have obtained these passports should not have the right to elect or be elected and should be treated as foreigners."

    [11] Mitsotakis under fire over Yilmaz trade-off plan

    By Aline Davidian

    REMARKS by former Greek premier Constantine Mitsotakis drew heated responses yesterday from government spokesman Manolis Christofides and presidential candidates, making the most of the countdown to this Sunday's first round of elections.

    Mitsotakis said in a Monday TV interview that Ankara's pro-partition stance had been revealed to him by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz.

    Yilmaz had intimated that Turkey was willing to return territory in exchange for partition, Mitsotakis said.

    Mitsotakis then apparently challenged Yilmaz to publicise his statements so the requisite territorial adjustment could be made, and Greek Cyprus could enter the EU while Turkey and the Turkish part of the island were excluded.

    Describing Mitsotakis' statements as "unpardonable" Christofides said yesterday that nothing the former Greek premier voiced to Yilmaz in any way bound the Cyprus government.

    "We are diametrically opposed both to Yilmaz' proposal and to Mitsotakis' standpoint," he said, adding the Clerides government rejected any likelihood of partition.

    "President Clerides in a speech last night (Tuesday)... ruled out any chance of partition and stated in the most vivid way that our country's borders are its coastline," said Christofides.

    Diko rebel candidate Alexis Galanos for his part also criticised Mitsotakis for his response to Yilmaz' insinuations, describing it as "unfortunate" and "invalid".

    Galanos said only with Mitsotakis could Yilmaz hope to reach an agreement for an "unpardonable" territorial deal.

    "Unfortunately there is a new frankness from Mr. Mitsotakis... to accept such concessions, falling below the security level of our positions" he said.

    The former Greek premier should have told Yilmaz the Greek Cypriot side was not even willing to hear out such proposals, said Galanos, adding that deigning to discuss such proposals was almost tantamount to accepting them.

    "Mr. Mitsotakis... refers to statements in the past... which do nothing to help our side," he said.

    Liberal party presidential candidate Nicos Rolandis said he did not know what to make of Yilmaz' statements to Mitsotakis.

    Turkey had originally opposed partition, he pointed out, since the southern part of Cyprus would join with Greece, thereby extending Turkey's border with its traditional enemy.

    He also said that during the last meeting between US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke, Denktash and Clerides, Denktash had stressed that Ankara rejected a partition-based solution for this reason.

    "Consequently, this position is surprising particularly coming from Yilmaz, " said Rolandis, adding that Ankara had always desired a federal solution on her own terms.

    Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Georgi Muratov said yesterday he was amazed that a brief Monday meeting with Clerides had been interpreted in the press as Russian interference in the elections.

    Muratov said he would not be drawn into pre-election intrigues, adding that the arrival of Russian S-300 missiles should not be used as a campaigning ploy.

    He also said the Russian Embassy and CIS Foreign Ministry never interfered with Cypriot domestic affairs, adopting a totally neutral stance regarding the elections.

    [12] US to maintain full economic aid to Cyprus

    UNITED States President Bill Clinton has asked Congress to maintain Cyprus' full $15 million economic aid over the coming fiscal year.

    Describing this as a "symbol of support for a Cyprus settlement," a press release issued by the Washington-based National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes said Clinton's request came in spite of overall cuts in US foreign aid.

    The president has also requested that no military or economic aid be sent to Turkey over the same period, and no military aid be given to Greece. Last year, Turkey received $150 million in military loans, and Greece $105 million.

    Both are to "graduate" from the annual US military aid programme this year after a six-year programme of gradual cuts in the amounts granted to the two countries.

    Annual economic aid to Turkey has also been cut each year since 1994, in order to convey American disapproval of the Turkish presence in Cyprus and its actions with regard to Greece, Armenia and the Kurds, the statement said.

    The Cyprus problem and Turkey's relations with the European Union will meanwhile be among issues discussed by Clinton when he meets with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Washington over the next three days.

    Blair arrived in Washington yesterday; his meetings with Clinton are expected to focus mainly on the situation in the Gulf.

    [13] Police seek forensic clues on missing tourist

    By Martin Hellicar

    POLICE were yesterday examining forensic evidence, which could lead to the search for a missing French tourist becoming a murder hunt.

    CID chief Nathanail Papageorgiou said "evidence" had been taken from an impounded car and was being analysed by forensic experts investigating the case of 49-year-old Jacqueline Françoise Chomic, missing since New Year's day.

    "Developments concerning the case are expected in the next few days," Papageorgiou said.

    He declined to comment on local media reports that the impounded car was a taxi cab and that traces of a woman's blood had been found in the boot. "We have found certain things, but we don't want to comment at this stage," he said.

    "Police investigations are moving in all directions. We are not in a position yet to say if Chomic was killed on not. We are waiting for the results of scientific tests," the CID chief added.

    Chomic, from St.Vallier, has not been seen or heard from since she failed to catch her return flight on January 1. She had arrived in Cyprus for a holiday on Christmas day last year.

    Papageorgiou said Cyprus police were working closely with their French counterparts on the case.

    Police have appealed for anyone knowing anything that might help with investigations to come forward. Chomic is described as 1.70m tall, slim, with red hair and blue-green eyes.

    [14] Clerides appeals for pressure on Ankara

    PRESIDENT Clerides has sent letters to the United States, Britain and the United Nations asking them to pressure Ankara to change its negative attitude before new efforts for a Cyprus settlement begin.

    Clerides told a news conference yesterday that he had written to UN general secretary Kofi Annan, US president Bill Clinton and British prime minister Tony Blair, urging them to "encourage Turkey to change its position on the Cyprus problem, in order for negotiations to bear fruit".

    This was a "pre-emptive move", he said, in light of Turkey's refusal to participate in a new round of Cyprus peace talks.

    Negotiations are set to resume after the February presidential elections.

    Clerides would not go into detail about the letters' contents, but said he had stressed the Turkish side's refusal to negotiate while stepping up its efforts for recognition of the 'TRNC'.

    Clerides said that even if the Turkish side remained intransigent, the Cypriot government would "always be positive and... ready to begin a dialogue".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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