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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-01-20

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Nese Yasin: The Turkish Cypriots are isolated and disillusioned
  • [02] Cypriot President receives Greek Minister
  • [03] CNA Director present at Clinton's inaugural
  • [04] Britain admits selling arms to Turkey but not to pseudostate

  • 0830:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Nese Yasin: The Turkish Cypriots are isolated and disillusioned

    by Maria Chrysanthou

    Nicosia, Jan 20 (CNA) -- Turkish Cypriots are disillusioned and they do not share the optimism expressed for a solution to the Cyprus problem. They feel isolated and emigrate for a better future with settlers from Turkey outnumbering them in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus.

    This is the testimony of one of the most distinguished Turkish Cypriot women, whose name came to be identified with the very pain and bitterness of the tragic division of this Eastern Mediterranean island.

    Nese Yasin, is widely known to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots from a short poem she wrote after the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory, wondering which of the two parts of her divided homeland she should love. This poem was set to music by a Greek Cypriot composer, Marios Tokas.

    A distinguished poetess and a fervent fighter for peace, Yasin determinedly states that ''peace is unification'', noting however that when we speak of unification ''we always tend to think of sameness. We never think about unity in diversity.''

    Born in Peristerona, a mixed village, in the government-controlled areas, Yasin moved after the 1963 intercommunal strife to the Turkish Cypriot sector in Nicosia and after the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island to a Greek Cypriot house at Katokopia village, situated in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

    ''We still have many conflict-breeders in decision making positions'', she says, referring to both communities on the island and notes that ''those who have responsibility for the crimes of 1963 and 1974 are still in power and in decision making positions.''

    In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Yasin speaks of an increasing feeling of isolation among Turkish Cypriots, and says they ''have lost their hope.''

    ''The atmosphere in the north is different from that in the south. Turkish Cypriots feel we are moving away from a solution'', she adds, noting at the same time that this is exactly the wish of the Turkish Cypriot leadership and Turkey, which do not want a solution.

    This feeling of isolation and of living in a world that does not recognise them is exploited by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Yasin says.

    ''Turkish Cypriots are not recognised and they therefore have no name. This gives Denktash the excuse for annexation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkey to make Turkish Cypriots feel they belong somewhere, to give them a name'', she says, pointing out, however, that ''Turkey is not a country Turkish Cypriots can identify with or feel part of.''

    It is a combination of reasons, namely social, economic and cultural that make Turkish Cypriots not to feel part of Turkey and oppose annexation, she argues.

    Yasin talks of two political tendencies, one encouraged and promoted by Rauf Denktash and another by his son, Serdar, leader of the Democratic Party. She describes Rauf Denktash as representing the idea of "pan- Turkism" while Serdar Denktash that of "Turkish Cypriot nationalism".

    Talking about the emigration of Turkish Cypriots, Yasin describes it as ''a big issue'' which ''is very worrying'' but says "it is exaggerated" by Greek Cypriots.

    Emigration, she says, is more common among the young, especially university graduates and boys who know that if they stay abroad for a period of seven years they can then buy off their military service.

    The majority of Turkish Cypriots emigrate to Canada, Australia and London. Some, especially the university graduates emigrate to Turkey because they stand good chances of finding jobs in Istanbul and Ankara.

    Asked whether any of the Turkish Cypriots who emigrate might choose to come to the government-controlled part of Cyprus, Yasin says, ''coming to the south is a political act'', explaining that ''propaganda and fear of the other side'' act as an impediment.

    She says animosity, mistrust and tension between the two communities has increased since the tragic Dherynia events last summer, when two Greek Cypriot young men were brutally murdered by Turkish troops and members of the extremist ''Grey Wolves'' organisation while demonstrating in the UN- controlled buffer zone.

    She also argues that the Greek Cypriot enlightenment campaign at the Ledra Palace check-point in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia, aimed to discourage tourists from visiting the Turkish-occupied part of the island, has also had negative effects on contacts between the two communities.

    ''Buffer zone events reflect badly, increase the isolation feeling of Turkish Cypriots and help create a more defensive attitude among them'', she says, noting that they harm and affect more ''the people in the street rather than Rauf Denktash.''

    ''It is used as an excuse by Denktash to stop bicommunal meetings and increase tension between the two communities. They do not punish Denktash's regime but the people'', she notes.

    Yasin also sees as ''negative'' the recent decision of the Cyprus government to purchase Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

    ''All armies call themselves security forces going into great extend to stress that their purpose is solely that of defence'', she says, adding however, that ''everybody related with the army is against the security of all'' and that ''many keep guns to feel secure but once you do so you are part of the violence.''

    The purchase of the S-300 system has helped ''in increasing tension, helping nationalism in the north and making both sides lose confidence in each other'', Yasin notes and stresses that she does not feel secure ''both because of Greek Cypriot armaments and the presence of the Turkish army.''

    On the issue of Turkish settlers, brought in by the Turkish occupation regime in an attempt to change the demographic character of the island, Yasin says that despite their great number they have not become dominant in the north.

    ''The core of the society is Turkish Cypriot. The Turkish settlers have not taken over. Social, political and economic life is still in the hands of Turkish Cypriots'', she says, pointing out that even though there are rich settlers who have started businesses but in their great majority they are poor and employed as workers.

    She explains that many settlers came after 1974 but there are also many newcomers. Those who came in the early stages got ''passports'', have children who were born here and call themselves ''Cypriots''.

    ''The settlers themselves do not mix with the Turkish Cypriots and when they do they are assimilated into the Turkish Cypriot way of life and speak in a Cypriot accent'', Yasin adds.

    Commenting on mixed marriages, Yasin says there were many right after 1974, with Turkish Cypriot girls marrying Turkish soldiers that had come over. Some 90 per cent of these marriages have ended up in divorce, mainly due to social and cultural differences.

    Asked whether the number of Turkish settlers is today bigger than that of Turkish Cypriots, Yasin answers positively but makes clear that no definite numbers can be given due to the fact that the results of censuses conducted by the occupation regime are never made public.

    ''The system in the north tries to integrate everybody and is successful in doing so'', Yasin says, pointing out that those who chose not to conform are discriminated against.

    Yasin herself has been a victim of such discrimination which in its milder form meant being excluded from radio or television interviews despite the various distinctions and prizes she has been awarded for her work.

    When she decided to publicly support one of the very rare Turkish Cypriot - Greek Cypriot couples, persecuted by the occupation regime, she was followed by the secret police and put to prison. She was released as a result of the intervention of Turkish writers' association PEN, the Amnesty International and international personalities.

    In a recent speech at a gathering jointly organised by the bi-communal ''Citizens Group for Peace'' and the ''Peace Centre'', in Nicosia, Yesin said peace ''is the magic word that even the hard-liners cannot escape from using. How can one say, 'I do not want peace'. The only thing they say is 'we want peace but they do not, so we have to be ready for war.''

    Speaking to a Greek Cypriot audience, she said: ''Being a Cypriot for me is not a national identity but rather an association with the land, a geographical place, where I shared a history with a certain group of people with whom I have a lot of common traits.

    ''This is where I have my roots and I feel a sort of belonging. Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos, are part of my identity, just as Kyrenia, Morphou and Famagusta are part of yours.''

    The three first towns are situated in the southern free areas of the Cyprus Republic. The other three towns are situated in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

    CNA MCH/GP/1997

    [02] Cypriot President receives Greek Minister

    Nicosia, Jan 20 (CNA) -- Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides received here today Greece's Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, who is on a three-day visit to Cyprus.

    Speaking after the meeting, Arsenis, who was accompanied by his Cypriot counterpart Claire Angelidou, said he discussed with President Clerides political developments, stressing that ''there was, as always, identity of views.''

    Later today, Arsenis and Angelidou will sign a memorandum of cooperation on educational matters.

    Arsenis called on Greece and Cyprus to take their destinies into their own hands while he expressed opposition to certain forms of federation that would, as he said, in real terms be a disguise for confederation.

    Addressing a gathering last night in Nicosia, in memory of late Cyprus President and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church on the island, Archbishop Makarios III, Arsenis said, ''Greece and Cyprus have a common future.''

    He stressed that the two countries should take their destinies in their own hands, indicating that the defence pact concluded between Cyprus and Greece in 1993 is the only guarantee against those who undermine hellenism.

    He said the Cyprus problem should be the major priority of Greek foreign policy.

    The Greek Minister expressed opposition to certain forms of federation which would in real terms be a disguise for a confederation.

    Referring to the island's application for accession to the European Union (EU), Arsenis said it will not be easy but stressed that it will be realised.

    CNA MCH/GP/1997

    [03] CNA Director present at Clinton's inaugural

    Washington, Jan 20 (CNA) -- Cyprus News Agency (CNA) Director, Andreas Christofides, will attend here today Bill Clinton's inaugural as the 53rd President of the United States (US).

    This evening, Christofides will also attend the official event to honour Clinton's inauguration at the Kennedy Centre.

    Last night, he attended the Presidential Inauguration Ball, honouring the US President and Mrs Clinton, the US Vice-President and Mrs Gore.

    The CNA Director had a brief discussion Sunday with the US President and his aides at the Ritz-Carlton, during a ''New York Times'' event held for Clinton's inauguration.

    A high-ranking official told Christofides that the US initiative on Cyprus will be launched by the end of March or early April 1997.

    Christofides had a brief meeting with US President spokesman Mike Macerrey and the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee minority leader, Democratic Senator Joseph Biden.

    He thanked Biden for his positive views on Cyprus, during his opening statement at Madeleine Albright's recent hearing before the Committee, where she received Congressional approval for the post of Secretary of State.

    Biden had urged both the US President and the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee to make the reunification of Cyprus one of the United States' ''highest diplomatic priorities.''

    Christofides will remain in the US capital until Wednesday. He will have meetings with US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns and former special coordinator on Cyprus at the US State Department Nelson Ledsky.

    CNA DA/AP/GP/1997

    [04] Britain admits selling arms to Turkey but not to pseudostate

    London, Jan 20 (CNA) -- Britain's Foreign Office has admitted today that Britain continues to sell arms to Turkey as a NATO ally but not to the Greek or Turkish Cypriot sides in Cyprus, an official spokesman said.

    CNA asked the Foreign Office official to comment on a Sunday report in ''The Observer'' that British arms sold to Turkey end up in the Turkish- occupied part of Cyprus.

    Asked whether Britain continues to sell arms to Turkey, the spokesman said ''yes, we do sell arms to Turkey. It is a NATO ally,'' he pointed out.

    However, he clarified ''we do not sell arms to either side of Cyprus'' but ''we are not aware of any of these arms be sold to Turkey finding their way to Cyprus and we do not have reason to believe that they do,'' he added.

    Asked if he rules out the possibility of British arms ending up in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, the Foreign Office spokesman repeated ''my answer to that is the same as I have said before.''

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

    Britain has retained two military bases in Cyprus under the 1960 treaty of establishment of the Cyprus Republic.

    CNA KT/AP/GP/1997

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