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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-05-15

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

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Division line will not survive EU membership
  • [02] Turkish invasion army officer confesses

  • 1300CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Division line will not survive EU membership

    by Rebekah Gregoriades

    Nicosia, May 15 (CNA) -- The pressures for free trade between the two communities in Cyprus would grow so strong with Cyprus' accession to the European Union, that the demarcation line would not survive full membership.

    This was said by Secretary-General of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Bill Jordan, who visited Cyprus recently and met with President Glafcos Clerides, and representatives of the affiliated trade unions, SEK and TURK-SEN.

    SEK (Cyprus Workers' Confederation) represents workers in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus, while TURK-SEN represents workers in the Turkish-occupied areas. Both unions enjoy excellent relations and, as Jordan confirmed, desire free exchange among workers, to improve the standards of living.

    In an interview with CNA, the chief of the ICFTU, which has 125 million members in 141 countries, said that he may return to Cyprus at a later date, to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, if he deems such a meeting would be useful.

    Asked if ordinary people wish to live together in a united Cyprus, Jordan replied positively.

    He said that "there is a great desire amongst ordinary working people to see a free exchange amongst workers, amongst trade unions, not for the purpose of scoring political points, but just about getting on with their daily lives and trying to improve their standards of living through trade".

    Responding to a question, Jordan said that the aim is to achieve this before a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Asked if the trade unions want to promote trade relations in order to form the basis for a durable solution to the political problem, Jordan said "exactly".

    He added that "there is a desire to show the politicians that they should take their arguments to political corridors and let the ordinary people get on with their daily lives", pointing out that this "is an unnatural divide. It has divided families, it has divided friends, it has divided workplace relationships".

    He also stressed that this "is the possible path back to some sort of solution".

    He added that he will be writing to Denktash, "telling him that it was unfortunate" he had not met him during his visit to Cyprus, because "TURK- SEN said that he would have liked to have met the ICFTU representative".

    Jordan said that in his letter, he will be telling Denktash that he would like "to raise these matters with him and our principle aim is to allow freedom of association in every sense of the word between trade unions and members across the dividing line in Cyprus".

    Asked to clarify an earlier statement that politicians are determined not to break the deadlock, Jordan said that "the history of Cyprus has been overshadowed by the division between Turkey and Greece" and that "the unfortunate series of events that began this very sad affair started many miles from this beautiful island".

    He said that "there is a duty on the people of Cyprus, both sides of the line, to speak out and say that they want to enjoy the relationships they had before and hope that the politicians beyond Cyprus' shore will recognise that these are ordinary people, who don't want their lives interfered with".

    Replying to a question whether the Turkish Cypriots are free to speak their mind, Jordan said they can, but that the atmosphere that has been created, that this is a matter of nationality, exerts "a sinister pressure".

    He stressed that all the "decent people" should "let politicians know that the present situation is not good, not just for either side of the border in Cyprus, but in fact antagonises the bigger relationship between Greece and Turkey".

    Asked to clarify another statement he made, that in the world of politics every occasion is used to promote division and not make harmony, Jordan said that "the dividing line in Cyprus has very little to do with Cyprus. It was imposed from abroad by a nation that feared another nation and wanted to demonstrate that it could not be influenced by that other nation".

    He said that "two nations traditionally hostile to each other have imposed a very real and physical division onto the people of Cyprus, while they themselves will engage in diplomatic discussions on other issues".

    Jordan added that "we as trade unionists should be prepared to speak out about the hypocrisy that exists by Turkish politicians and Greek politicians, who want to maintain their differences on this island".

    He also pointed out that "there is no hostility amongst the people" and that although "there were quarrels, what country does not quarrel?".

    Greece and Turkey, he said should "go and sort out their arguments with each other across conference tables and leave Cyprus alone to get along with the job of making its own people happy and prosperous".

    Asked if he made any suggestions to either side as to how contacts and relations could be promoted, Jordan said that there will be further discussions.

    He did point out, however, that "there are opportunities for meetings in Brussels, under the auspices of the ICFTU" and that he will making representations over the next couple of months to the International Labour Organisation. He is also planning to meet with United Nations Secretary- General, Kofi Annan.

    He said that "politics lives off division" and that, although there is some good in debating, an "argument should stand on its own feet". He stressed, however, that "there is no argument that can stand on its own feet for the division of Cyprus".

    Jordan also said that unity has to be rekindled and especially in young people, whose future is being held back by this division.

    He stressed that "a united Cyprus could grow at an even more impressive pace", and that "Cyprus has a lot to offer the world. A divided Cyprus has very little".

    Asked to comment on Cyprus' application to join the European Union, Jordan said that "it is sensible" and that "Europe will benefit from it".

    He also said that the international labour movement has "backed the application of all the countries, including Turkey" and that if Greece and Turkey "were to remove this dividing line here in Cyprus, they couldn't send out a more purposeful message for why the European community should be enlarged to embrace both Cyprus and Turkey".

    Answering a question on how TURK-SEN feels about Turkish Cypriot participation in the accession negotiations, Jordan said that "they should be included in the team".

    He added that he discussed the application and the difficulties with TURK-SEN, stressing that if the application is successful, it "would make a nonsense of the present dividing line".

    Furthermore, he said that "although the EU could operate with a divided line, believe the pressures for free trade across the divide would grow so strong, that the line would not survive full membership". He added: "Good riddance to the line. It wasn't put there by the people of Cyprus. Let everyone remember that".

    Jordan stressed that "working people know far better than politicians that working together is twice as productive as living off a division".

    Asked if he will be returning to Cyprus soon, Jordan said that it "depends on quite a lot of circumstances".

    "If", he said, "I thought that a visit back here to meet Mr Denktash to make a contribution in terms of the arguments for allowing contacts between the trade unions, to allow them to deal with their common problems", then yes, he would.

    Concluding, Jordan said that "we don't want political soapboxes. We want to do what we have always done best -negotiate for improvements for everybody".

    CNA RG/GP/1998

    [02] Turkish invasion army officer confesses

    Nicosia, May 15 (CNA) -- "It was a debt to you I paid" said Yalcin Kucuk, 64, an officer of the Turkish army which invaded Cyprus in 1974, addressing a Greek Cypriot audience at the University of Cyprus last night.

    Kucuk, now living self-exiled in Paris, "confessed" in front of a Greek Cypriot audience for the first time, even though he knew he would be imprisoned when he returns to Turkey.

    "Everybody in Greece and Turkey think I am the most brave man. Believe me I am very coward", he said but he dared to speak about the persons missing since the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of the island's territory, the policy of Turkey, the Kurds, the Great Alexander and the 1821 Greek Revolution.

    Referring to the missing persons, he said "I can't say anything. But I say that in Turkey either they release the prisoners or they don't release them. But they do not keep them".

    He pointed out that when the Turkish army entered Assia village in August 1974, the villagers were so comfortable, taking there breakfast, they did not expect the Turkish troops to invade their land.

    "They were trusting Washington. I don't advise you to do that again. I advise you to lie on your forces, only on your forces", he said.

    Referring to the occupied areas of Cyprus, he said "all the dirty money goes there, all the fascist go there."

    He pointed out that US Presidential Emissary Richard Holbrooke said the Greek Cypriots should accept Rauf Denktash as the elected leader of the Turkish Cypriots. "Even if you accept, we do not", Kucuk said.

    The Turkish professor supported the struggle of the Kurdish. "I love these people. They do not want to harm Turkey. If we could find a solution with these people, that land, Anatolia, would be more powerful". Kucuk was jailed in Turkey for his support to the Kurdish people.

    He made clear he did not want "to join this war", meaning the Turkish invasion in 1974. "If I decided not to go to this war, I had no choice but to leave my country and I didn't want to leave", he said.

    He said that the war was an examination for him, whether he would stay as a human being or not. "But I stayed as a human being because in this war I could not kill anybody, I saved many", he mentioned.

    The local ANTENNA TV, which first interviewed Kucuk, showed two Greek Cypriot men confirming that Kucuk had saved them during the invasion. In the same interview, Kucuk referred to certain atrocities committed by Turkish soldiers during the invasion against Greek Cypriot women and children.

    Kucuk told last night's gathering that Turkey is a "second class imperialist country, stressing that "something is changing in Turkey".

    He said Kemal's era is passing down and some other era is coming. The famous slogan of kemalism "Peace inside the country, peace outside the country" is turning into "War inside the country, war all over the world".

    The Turkish professor referred to the 1821 Greek Revolution pointing out that it was a very important revolution, not only for the history of Greece but also for the history of the humanity.

    He also said that the Great Alexander is his idol. "I think that if we had the vision of Great Alexander, there would be peace in our land, there would be brotherhood in our land", he added.

    Yalcin Kucuk ended his speech by sending the message of peace. "Long live brotherhood of Greece and Turkey. Long live united, independent, peaceful Cyprus.

    CNA AA/GP/1998
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