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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-03-10

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Security challenges in eastern Mediterranean
  • [02] Feissel starts new proximity talks
  • [03] Hannay's visit supportive of UN efforts on Cyprus, says FO

  • 1115:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Security challenges in eastern Mediterranean

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- "The security of the eastern Mediterranean is tenuous at best and can easily and quickly become a theatre of war that can spread to the Middle East."

    This was said by Professor, Dr Andre Gerolymatos, at the Department of History, Hellenic Studies Chair, of the Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada.

    The Canadian Professor was addressing an audience last week at the Begin-Saddat Centre for Strategic Studies of the Bar Il Lan University in Jerusalem, Israel.

    He warned that "with the speed of modern communications and fast reaction time of advance weapon systems any crisis in the Aegean (Sea) or Cyprus has a strong probability of degenerating into a full-scale conflict."

    The Canadian Professor said "it is not inconceivable that a Greek- Turkish war could invite a Syrian attack and expand the conflict beyond the Aegean or Cyprus.

    "A defeat of Turkey even on a limited scale will also bring about internal unrest and bring that country even closer to a Muslim fundamentalist social-political regime."

    Dr Gerolymatos said succeeding Turkish governments have undertaken to undermine the stability of the Middle East by diverting the course of the Euphrates in order to achieve a monopoly of the water supply.

    He said "the latter consideration and the territorial claims of Syria, as well as that country's support of the Kurds have created another unstable frontier in southeastern Anatolia that has implications for Israeli-Syrian relations."

    The Canadian Professor referred to the Turkish invasion and the occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory by Turkish troops in 1974.

    He also referred to recent claims by Turkey that the eastern Aegean Imia islets and hundreds of other rocks belong to Turkey.

    Greece rejected the Turkish claims citing the Italian-Turkish treaty of January 1932, followed by the Italian-Turkish Protocol of December 1932, and the 1947 Treaty of Paris by which Italy ceded the Dodecanese islands and islets to Greece.

    "Indeed both Greece and Turkey are presently engaged in an arms race exacerbated by the failure to end the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, and Turkish challenges to Greek sovereignty over the eastern Aegean... Fundamentally the primary security challenge to the Greek state is a possible Turkish aggression in western Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus."

    The Professor referred to the role of the Turkish army as a vanguard of the secular state based on the reforms followed by the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the three military dictatorships in the country (1960-1963, 1971, and 1980-1983).

    A report prepared by the Turkish General Staff in May 1995 says the end of the cold war has raised new problems for Turkey's security concerns.

    The report emphasises that Turkey is situated in a volatile region, which apart from the internal Kurdish danger, the country faces threats from neighbouring countries, especially Greece.

    In addition, the report stresses that regional and ethnic conflict in the former Soviet Muslim republics, religious fundamentalism and internal terrorism, necessitates a strong mobile army with increased firepower and equipped with modern and advanced weapons systems.

    Gerolymatos said the 650-million-dollar deal with Israel Aircraft industries to upgrade 54 of Turkey's F-4 and the closer ties with fundamentalist Iran reflect the tensions between the government and the military in Turkey.

    He said Turkey's objective is to create a professional army by the year 2000 and reducing its dependency on civilian conscripts.

    A professional force will result in a numerically smaller army but one that can be better controlled by the high command and less exposed to social and religious affiliations.

    In addition, greater mobility and firepower will enable the Turkish military to maintain its commitment on several fronts and give it a greater offensive capability in the Caucasus and the Trans-Caucasus, the Kurdish insurrection, the Turkish-Syrian border, the occupation of northern Cyprus and the Aegean.

    Professor Gerolymatos said potential flash points between Greece and Turkey are in Thrace and the Aegean. "Ultimately, the easiest military intervention would be an extension of Turkey's occupation zone in Cyprus."

    He said there is a substantial Turkish force in Cyprus supported and supplied from bases on Turkey's southern coast.

    "Significantly during the Imia crisis the Ankara government increased its forces in northern Cyprus and indicated that a military confrontation in the Aegean could result in a second invasion of Cyprus," he said.

    Turkish threats of war or at the very least of limited air strikes against Cyprus are clearly indicated by Ankara's reaction to the decision of the Cyprus government to purchase Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

    The Canadian Professor said Ankara's policy towards Cyprus and Greece "depends on the ability of the Turkish army to overrun the rest of the island as quickly as possible. This strategic advantage to hold the Cypriots hostage gives Turkey powerful leverage in forwarding new territorial claims in the Aegean as well as to clock Cyprus' admission to the European Union."

    The Ankara regime does not need to fear international intervention with regards to its occupation of northern Cyprus since for the last two decades the UN, EU, NATO and the US have contented themselves in issuing periodic resolutions advocating a political and diplomatic solution to the Cyprus problem.

    CNA GP/1997

    [02] Feissel starts new proximity talks

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- A new round of proximity talks between the UN and the Cyprus government and the Turkish Cypriots begin here today, as planned, in bid to create common ground to allow direct negotiations between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to take place.

    UN resident representative, Gustave Feissel, will meet the Turkish Cypriot leader Monday, as planned, despite reports Denktash was taken ill with flu last week.

    UN Senior Advisor, Peter Schmitz, confirmed to CNA the talks will go on according to schedule, but noted the UN will try to divert the media spotlight away from the talks.

    "We don't want too much media attention on the talks. We will be tight- lipped about them," Schmitz said.

    The UN Senior Advisor said he was not aware of the condition of Denktash's health, but implied it has improved since talks will begin today.

    The talks aim to reach common ground on the Cyprus problem which could pave the way for direct talks between Denktash and President of the Republic of Cyprus, Glafcos Clerides.

    Feissel will meet with President Clerides tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, the UN is continuing efforts to free Greek Cypriot Savvas Siderenou, 23, who is illegally detained by the puppet regime since February 21, when he strayed into the occupied areas.

    "We visited him last week and he is in good health. We are continuing to try to get him out earlier, otherwise he will be released on March 17," Schmitz said.

    An occupation regime "military court" issued a fifteen-day "sentence" against Siderenou on March 3.

    CNA MH/AP/1997

    [03] Hannay's visit supportive of UN efforts on Cyprus, says FO

    Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- Britain's envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay's visit to Cyprus, starting tomorrow, aims at supporting UN efforts for a comprehensive Cyprus settlement, a Foreign Office (FO) spokesman said.

    Asked about Sir David's visit, a spokesman for the FO told CNA Monday "it is a regular visit in his series of visits that he has been making to Cyprus and other countries, in his efforts to support the UN effort to achieve a comprehensive solution to Cyprus".

    The Spokesman noted Sir David has regular consultations in Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and with the partners in the European Union (EU), the UN, the Americans and with all sorts of different parties.

    Asked if Sir David will be bringing any new proposals, the spokesman declined comment, noting "that he (Sir David) is going there for consultation with leaders on the island".

    There would be an opportunity to speak to the press while on the island, he added.

    Sir David arrives here tomorrow (Tuesday) to have a series of separate meetings with President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on Wednesday and Thursday.

    While on the island, Sir David will attend a lunch hosted by UN Secretary-General's resident Representative, Gustave Feissel, in his residence on Wednesday, to be attended by political leaders as well.

    In the evening of the same day, the former British ambassador to the UN will give a lecture at the University of Cyprus on UN reform.

    Before leaving, on Friday for Brussels, Sir David will give a bicommunal press conference.

    Cyprus has been divided since July 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its northern territory.

    CNA EC/AP/1997
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