Volume VIII No. 2 April - June 1995
The foreign press on Cyprus for the second quarter of 1995 includes articles which feature a variety of subjects.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel on 4.4.95 carries an article by Marti Davis entitled Cyprus envoy: Help needed to demilitarise. In this article Marti Davis quotes Cyprus' Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Iacovides, calling on the US government to help negotiate the demilitarisation of Cyprus ending more than 20 years of Turkish occupation there.
Another article in The Washington Times 29.4.95 by Andrew Borowiec quotes the Cyprus Government Spokesman as saying that if there is a solution (to the island's division), money spent on defence could be spent on the advancement of the Turkish community. However, the Turkish Cypriots have not budged, mired in slogans of their own secure behind a cordon of some 30,000 well dug-in Turkish troops. The author goes on backed by the Turkish Government in Ankara the Turkish Cypriots have rejected various unification proposals approved by the United Nations. Their leaders feel they have little to gain from giving up their Ankara-protected - independence. It is clear that the Turkish Cypriots are reluctant to come to any sort of an agreement which is why so many efforts by the United Nations have been of no avail.
The Community's Europe publication 19.4.95 has an article on 20 April 1995 which expresses the Cyprus government's satisfaction for the decision of the European Union to begin accession negotiations with Cyprus. Another article in Europe on the 29th April carries an interview of the publication with President Clerides on Cyprus' European commitment and how Cyprus' accession can help in the solution of the Cyprus problem.
The Indian Press carries two articles, one on the continuing Turkish occupation and the other on Cyprus' tourist attractions. The German newspaper Die Welt, in an article by Evangelos Antonaros ("Wieder Hoffnungen fur Zypern, 9.5.95) points out that after the meeting of the political party leaders of the island with Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in Athens, it seems that a possibility could emerge for resuming the interrupted dialogue between both communities in Cyprus.
Evangelos Antonaros underlines in his article that the new round of discussions seems to be more promising, due the impression the Administration in Washington has cultivated, that it is willing to achieve, at any price, a solution to the problem.
Hans G. Schurmann, writing in the General Anzeiger ("Bonner Falstaff erforschte auch Volkslieder, 3.3.95), refers to the career of Pieris Zarmas, a Cypriot opera singer, who has been a recognised baritone at the Opera in Bonn for 30 years.
Newspaper: Washington Times, 29.4.95
Title: Russian weapons head for Cyprus
By: Andrew Borowiec
NICOSIA, Cyprus - Military equipment from Russia will soon bolster the arsenal of this divided island, where Turkish guns in the Kyrenia mountains point at the bustling prosperity of the Greek Cypriot side.
If there is a solution (to the island's division), money spent on defense could be spent on the advancement of the Turkish community, Greek Cypriot government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said last week.
The search for a solution has become a slogan, repeated not so much with conviction but as a patriotic and political exercise.
The Turkish Cypriots have not budged, mired in slogans of their own, secure behind a cordon of come 30,000 well dug-in Turkish troops. At the same time, the Greek Cypriots have prospered creating in their part of the island a hive of business activity unparalleled in the eastern Mediterranean.
Virtually daily, gleaming office buildings are completed. More than 1,000 foreign firms have offices in the area under Greek Cypriot control and more than 2 million tourists - four times the number of Greek Cypriots - visit the southern portion of the island annually.
Russian entrepreneurs dump attache cases filled with dollars in the laps of Cypriot bankers while their wives ask Cypriot dentists for the Hollywood smile - a treatment resulting in impeccibly white teeth at the cost of $400 a piece.
But fear hides behind this incredible and seemingly smug facade. Last month, Cyprus bought a number of highly accurate French Exocet missiles for its small but ultramodern army, led by officers from the Greek mainland.
And last week, it announced the $75 million purchase of 43 armored personnel carriers from Russia and said it is considering buying Russian T-80 tanks. A new defense budget will be approved shortly.
The announcement of purchases of Russian hardware coincided with a brief private visit to the island by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the Russian ultra-nationalist who thrives on noisy and threatening pronouncements and harbors presidential ambitions.
He lived up to his reputation in Cyprus, promising Russian troops and warships to throw the Turks into the sea.
Apparently pressed for moderation by his Cypriot hosts, Mr Zhirinovsky toned down his threats to a plea for a peaceful solution - without, however, excluding a military one.
From the Greek Cypriot point of view, the Turkish military operations in Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish guerrillas are not a good sign.
Once again, Turkey has shrugged off international protests, insisting that it is merely trying to eliminate a Marxist guerrilla movement threatening its stability.
Compared with the more dramatic events in Kurdistan, the problem of Cyprus has once more been pushed to the bottom of the international agenda.
Turkish Prime Minister, Tansu Ciller had her hopes for U.S. support buoyed during her Washington visit this week, when U.S. officials reiterated the view that Turkey is a pivotal state and guardian of Western security where Europe and Asia meet.
And, somewhat surprisignly, Mrs. Ciller claimed the Cyprus problem will be settled once Turkey is admitted to the European Union, a 15-nation club trying to build unity on the Old Continent.
For years, European officials have insisted that Turkey must first end its 21-year military pressence in Northern Cyprus and improve its much-criticized human-rights record.
The Cyprus deadlock stems from a variety of factors, involving the traditional animosity between Turkey and Greece, whose fallout is being played out just 40 miles from the Turkish coastline in Cyprus.
The Turkish Cypriots, whose minority of 18 percent has been bolstered by thousands of setters from Turkey, want equal partnership in any form of federation, including equal voice in government , budgetary matters and control of half of the abandoned and forlorn Nicosia airport.
They feel that any other solution would be to their detriment, in spite of the economic advantages promised by the Greek Cypriots.
Backed by the Turkish government in Ankara, the Turkish Cypriots have rejected various unification proposals approved by the United Nations. Their leaders feel they have little to gain from giving up their Ankara protected quasi-independence.
So Cyprus remains divided, with a striking contrast between the Western prosperity of the Greek Cypriots and the drifing economy of the North.
The Turkish Cypriots have re-elected veteran politician Rauf Denktash to his third term as president.
Many Greek Cypriots felt that a new man would have enhanced the prospect of a solution, obviously ignoring the purely strategic requirements of the Turkish army, which regards Cyprus as an essential link in its defenses.
And in Turkey, the military usually has the last word.
Newspaper: The Knoxville News - Sentinel
Title: Cyprus envoy: Help needed to demilitarize
By: Marti Davis
In a visit to Knoxville Monday, the ambassador of Cyprus to the United States called on the U.S. government to help negotiate the demilitarization of Cyprus, ending more than 20 years of Turkish occupation there.
The tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus was occupied by its much larger neighbor in 1974. Since that time, Turkish military has forced a third of native Cypriots from their homes and imported thousands of Turks in an attempt at ethnic cleansing, Andrew Jacovides said.
He was the guest of the University of Tennessee Department of Political Science and spoke at a dinner given in his honor Monday at the Foundry at the World's Fair Park.
For two decades, Turkey's illegal actions and atrocities in Cyprus have received disapproval from the United Nations and by virtually all other international forums, Jacovides said.
Turkey has chosen to ignore the decision of the international community, even in the face of arms embargos enacted by the U.S. Congress.
This is a very sad commentary on the state of international legal order, said Jacovides. If the U.N. resolutions in support of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus had been respected and enforced, we might not have had Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Jacovides explained the U.S. government has been reluctant to risk its alliance with the powerful Turks by taking military action on behalf of much-smaller, Cyprus.
The United States can aid a negotiated peace by supporting the complete demilitarization of the island. Two years ago, the president of Cyprus proposed disbanding his national guard and handing over military equipment to a U.N. peacekeeping force if Turkey would withdraw from Cyprus.
A bipartisan coalition of U.S. congressmen has sponsored a resolution supporting the demilitarization proposal and are now seeking more sponsors.
Newspaper: The Ottawa Citizen
Title: Intervention in Cyprus shouldn't reward aggression
By: Andre Gerolymatos
Costas Melakopides's recent commentary that Canada could convince Greece, Turkey to make deal, proposes an interesting but fundamentally flawed thesis that misrepresents the respective positions of both countries regarding the occupation of Cyprus and the Aegean Sea dispute.
Although Malakopides rightly points out that Turkey has violated every international rule of conduct by occupying 30 per cent of the Cyprus Republic, he proposes that Canada brokes a trade-off between Greece and Turkey in order to solve the Cyprus problem by implicitly recognising Turkish aggression.
In his proposed scenario, Canada should intercede and convince both parties to take their dispute over the Aegean Sea to the International Court of Justice. In return, Turkey would remove its troops from Cyprus and sign a non-aggression pact with Greece. In exchange, the Hellenic Republic would accept Turkey's admission into the European Union.
The difficulties with these proposals are twofold.
First, they do not take into account the interests of the Cypriot Republic, which is a sovereign state and a member of the Commonwealth.
Second, there is no mention of the approximate 100,000 colonists transplanted by the Turkish government to occupied Cyprus in order to increase the size of the Turkish Cypriot population.
Furthermore, with regards to the Aegean Sea dispute, Melakopides ignores the fact that the Greek government has endeavored to bring the Aegean issue to the International Court of Justice but Turkey has thus far refused.
At the same time, he fails to mention that Turkey has declared a 12 mile extension of her own territorial waters in the Black Sea.
The reason for Turkey's refusal to bring the issue of the Aegean to the international court is that under United Nations Law of Sea, Greece has every right to establish a 12-mile limit in the Aegean Sea.
This extension of Greek territorial sovereignty has particular significance for the Greek islands, but in areas where the distance from the Turkish coast is less than 12 miles the length is divided by half.
Furthermore, Greece's veto against Turkey's admission to the European Union is not only a reaction to the Turkish occupation of Cyprus but is in concert with the other members of th E.U. whose objections revolve around violations of human rights in Turkey and the harsh treatment of the Kurdish minority.
Instead of addressing the cultural and linguistic rights of the Kurds, the Turkish government has maintained a permanent state of terror in the region and recently has escalated its counter insurgency operations beyond the Turkish border into Iraq.
There is little doubt that the Kurdish issue has caused Turkey a serious public relations problem, but even more dangerous is the fact that the Turkish government is falling hostage to the demands of the military in maintaining the war against the Kurds.
In the latest counter - insurgency operation, 200,000 Turkish forces are deployed in a massive sweep of southeastern Turkey, home of the Kurdish minority. But equally disturbing is that Turkey, a NATO ally, is quickly becoming a partial military dictatorship.
It is interesting that the press releases and announcements concerning the latest attact against the Kurds, originated from the Turkish military, with little significant commentary from the government.
At the same time, Turkey is not only using American and NATO equipment in its war with the Kurds, but has permanently deployed one army, the Aegean Corps, along the west coast of Turkey opposite the Greek islands.
There may have been some relevance for this action during the Cold War, but today the presence of this force only serves as a provocation.
We are all proud of the efforts of the Canadian peacekeepers in Cyprus and elsewhere. Just as we are proud of Canada's role in peacekeeping and attempts at arbitration between warring states.
However, considering the difficulties that we have with overfishing off the Grand Banks, it would be an awkward precedent and a contradictory message to the international community for Prime Minister Jean Chretien to advocate limits to territorial waters.
Canada, indeed, can play an important role in resolving the occupation of Cyprus but the problem is not in Athens or Nicosia but in Ankara. Compromise to aggression and violations of human rights only serve to reward the aggressor.
The 20-year occupation of northern Cyprus by the Turkish army does not provide Turkey with any inherent rights to any part of Cypriot territory. Nor should the length of the occupation be recognized as a legitimate trade-off with any other state.
It is only through concerted international efforts at mediation that Canada can initiate a process to convince the Turkish government to remove its army from northern Cyprus.
Greece has demonstrated considerable goodwill in accepting Turkey's application to participate in the European customs union: we have yet to see what positive action Ankara will take.
Publication: Europe, 29.4.95
Title: President Clerides explains to Europe the reasons for Cyprus European commitment and the prospects that accession would bring, notably for solving the Cyprus problem.
In answer to the question as to whether EU accession was, for Cyprus, a fundamental aim in itself or, above all, an instrument to reach a solution to the Cypriot problem, Mr Clerides said:
There are two or three reasons why we have requested accession. Firstly, we are geared to Europe: Secondly, because we consider that being inside the Union will create a feeling of security for each community. In trying to resolve the problem of Cyprus, one realises that there are two psychological or complex fears. It is of little importance whether these fears are reasonable or not: the fact is they exist! The Greek Cypriots fear that Turkey will use the Turkish Cypriot community as a bridgehead to invade and one day occupy the whole island. This psychological fear may be calmed once we know we are in the European Union, as Turkey would not dare carry out an act of aggression against EU territory. The Turk Cypriots have a complex arising from the fact that we make up the majority of the island and unite with Greece or create a second Greek State, reducing them to the status of third class citizens. Once more, if we were in the EU, this would not happen. Therefore, this helps both communities to understand that there will be no need to worry about the future once we are accepted into the EU. The third reason is that we are an island, and an island tends to look inward and amplify its own problems. Now, if this island were part of a larger family then it would have to face many other problems and its own would lose their importance and become easier to deal with. Yet another reason is that at the present time, any tension between the two communities is automatically exported towards Greece and Turkey. Instead of putting a limit on the conflict, it extends it. If you find yourself in a larger group, then there will be no confrontation between these two countries as the problem will be seen in a wider context. The prospect of accession therefore holds several advantages for the future of Cyprus... without ignoring the fact that our economy already is and must be turned towards Europe. In the past, our industry worked in order to export towards the Soviet block and Arab countries. In sectors such as footwear and clothing, it was quantity, not quality, that mattered. Now, we must adjust our production so that it is competitive with European production. Why? Because developing countries are now producing these very same goods at much lower cost. We must therefore now produce quality goods in order to have access to the European market. Our request for accession is therefore based on political, economic and practical reasons.....
Regarding the significance of the decision by the Fifteen to open accession negotiations with Cyprus (and Malta) six months after the end of the IGC, Mr Clerides said:
Before the Fifteen took this decision, they examined whether the Cypriot economy was able to adjust to the internal market and whether we were ready to enter the EU from the cultural point of view, etc.. But they had also taken the decision that in January 1995 they would examine whether progress had been made towards solving the Cypriot problem before deciding upon a date for the negotiations. They then gave a right of veto to the Turkish side. Now, for the first time, they recognise that, even if no progress has been made, the prospect of Cyprus joining the Union would give both communities a feeling of security and would be profitable to everyone. We have gone from the situation when we had to make progress before our request could be considered to that where the EU is asking us to make progress while stating that by setting a date for accession negotiations this will help us to do so.
On the subject of the initiatives that he plans to take to relaunch dialogue with the Turkish Cypriots, the President declared:
If we launch direct dialogue, the results will not be that different from those of earlier dialogues. We believe we must adopt a global approach aimed at identifying four or five subjects on which no progress has ever been made: sovereignty, interpretation of the equal political status of both communities, demilitarization, future guarantees, territory made of two component parts. It is of no use discussing this directly. What I said was that more should be done in the direction of Ankara. If Turkey were to show any flexibility on these issues, then we could enter direct negotiations. But such negotiations before Ankara has taken the decision to resolve the problem of Cyprus serve no purpose. The position of Turkey as we see it is that there has not really been the will to negotiate seriously so far, it has gained time for the so-called State of Cyprus North to be recognised. It is beginning for the first time to realise that it will not be recognised. It has therefore come to a fallback position which is confederation. If it realises that this is not possible, then it will consider federation as a possible solution for negotiation.
To the question as to whether he was willing to guarantee that the northern part would be the main beneficiary of the financial means available once Cyprus is a member of the EU, Mr Clerides said:
More than ready. Why? Because we are a very small country and if we become a federation one cannot afford to have a very poor segment which does not contribute to the prosperity of the State, which has no purchasing power and which would be a burden for the national economy. We want to build up the economy of the North as for a small country, having 18 of its population without protection, with a low standard of living no purchasing power, no tax returns, this would mean we would be carrying it on our shoulders. And we do not want this: we want to share the weight. If they only agreed to come to a convention with us... We have lost the North, and with it, all our tourist capacity. We have created a tourist infrastructure in the South, in the worst conditions, as we have thousands of refugees. We can, therefore, recreate the North, together with the Turk Cypriots, and this would increase their standard of living. Very fast I have spoken to the Turk Cypriots and given them several examples: on this side, we have 24,000 immigrant workers, from the Philippines, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, from everywhere. And there is unemployment just next door. I also told them: I beg you, do not think that we only want labour. We want to create something together with both communities as the base of a solid economy. If one of them has a higher standard of living than the other, this would be a source of discontent.
Finally, on how he feels about being the president of a small country entering a Union where the large countries may tomorrow be the masters of the game, Mr Clerides said:
We want to be in a Union which will probably one day develop first of all into a confederation and then into a federation. We want to be one of the elements of this federation. We have no illusions: we are a small country but there are already small countries and there will be others. And it is much better for us to be in such a group than isolated from it as, if one looks at the map of the region, one can see we are surrounded by Islamic countries. If the fundamentalists take over in Egypt, for example, then it will be impossible to predict the future in Turkey, Syria,.....
Publication: Europe, 19.4.95
Title: For the Greek Cypriot leaders, the decision by the fifteen to begin accession negotiations can constitute a turning point in the search for a solution to the island's problem
The decision of 6 March is the best thing that has happened in twenty years... Expressed by Yiannakis Cassoulides, spokesman for the government presided by Mr Clerides, this sentiment is omnipresent among the leaders in Nicosia: the decision by the Foreign Ministers of the EU 15 to begin accession negotiations to the EU with Cyprus six months following the end of the 1996 IGC should constitute a turning point in the Cyprus crisis. The setting of a date for beginning negotiations can become a catalyst, Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides explained to EUROPE, stipulating: In twenty years, this is the first event which has placed Turkey in such a bad position.
In their analysis of the possible consequences, at internal level, of the EU decision, the Cypriot authorities want to make a distinction, between the attitudes of Turkey and the Turkish community of Cyprus. This timetable places Turkey under pressure of having to make certain choices, Mr Michaelides explains, seeing the proof of this in the virulence of the Turkish reactions. He considers that now, the options are clear; either Turkey continues its non-solution policy and, in this case it will lead to depriving Turkish Cypriots of all the advantages of Union accession; or it will allow the Turkish Cypriots to become members of the Union, but it will then have to relax its positions and authorize a solution. And Mr Cassoulides recalled that whereas the current Turkish Government wants to deepen relations with Europe, the political message addressed to it by the EU with its decision over Customs Union, is that, there are many possibilities of going along this path if Ankara shows a better attitude towards Cyprus as well as regards human rights.
The threat made by the Turkish Foreign Minister at the last EU/Turkey Association Council of proceeding with a similar integration of the northern part of Cyprus in Turkey should the southern part become a member of the EU, tempered, of course, this relatively optimistic vision of things. Turkey is systematically doing exactly the opposite of what it was expected to do, Mr Michaelides said in reaction, citing three examples: i) when the Council was dealing with the issue of Customs Union under the German presidency and when we knew that there were considerable reactions within the European Parliament, Turkey decided to imprison Kurdish MPs, ii) when the Council decided on Customs Union and was looking at ways of ensuring that Parliament would ratify this decision, it put out its threat against Cyprus while knowing full well that ratification of the agreement depended on the EP; iii) whereas Turkey is anxiously awaiting this ratification without which nothing will be done, it decides to undertake a second invasion, in Northern Iraq. For the Cypriot Foreign Minister, this conduct, difficult to understand stems in part from the fact that the idea of constructive dialogue with a view to resolving a problem is not part of the Turkish vocabulary. In his opinion, the Turkish threats against Cyprus have relative scope: The northern part of the island is already under Turkish military occupation, which has 35,000 troops there.. What further integration could there be? Moreover, the Turkish Cypriots could find themselves alone in not benefitting from the rapprochement with the EU: If the Turkish Cypriot community continues in its negative policy of immobility, it now knows that it will be alone in not being able to grasp the European opportunity, as Turkey will have a Customs Union with Europe and we already have one, and that we will possibly be members by the end of the decade.
No doubt, Mr Michaelides notes, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who is fighting for recognition of his pseudo-State (only recognized by Turkey: Ed.), who wants a separate State and who thus refuses anything that is of a nature to increase pressure in favour of a solution has aligned himself on Ankara's position. But the Foreign Minister prefers to note that the message stemming from the decision of the EU 15 has led, for the first time, to a new movement on the part of the Turkish Cypriots because they can see certain prospects emerging that tell them there has to be a solution. Proof, according to him, is a recent poll undertaken in the northern part of the island for the daily Kibris which shows that 44.3% of people questioned support Cyprus' accession to the European Union, after a solution, of course, without waiting for Turkey's accession ("And when one knows that half of this population has connections with Turkey, one can surmise that the Turkish Cypriots in favour of accession amount to 80%, Mr Michaelides adds), 41.1% of those polled defended the opposite point of view. These figures support Mr Cassoulides conviction that the Cypriot Turks themselves support the European perspective, a feeling reinforced by the fact that most of the candidates for the presidential elections which just took place in the northern part of the island spoke out in favour of accession.
We now come to what is, in the minds of Cypriot officials, the main virtue of the EU's decision: making a distinction between the interests of Turkey and those of the Turkish Cypriots. In the view of the government spokesman, Mr Cassoulides, the merit of the deadline set by the Fifteen is that it could lead the two communities to see the basic aspects of their differences in another light; these aspects include security considerations: for the Greek Cypriots, the presence of an occupying army of 35,000 soldiers, Turkey's proximity, and a recent history that is not very reassuring in terms of Turkish expansionism;" and for the Turkish Cypriots, the fact that the other community is in the majority (80% as compared to 20%) and that it has superior economic power, which makes them fear that reunification would lead to marginalisation. From now on, these fears can be dealt with in light of the fact that the future federal republic will be a full member of the European family,' says Mr Cassoulides, because it is unthinkable to marginalise anyone within the Union, in view of the principles of the acquis communautaire. He said that, on the contrary, the Turkish Cypriots would be the first and major beneficiaries of a reunification taking place within a European context. Economic parity (between the two parts of the island) should be reached very quickly following reunification. The Regional Fund could be used directly by the Turkish Cypriot community, while the possibilities for joint ventures between Greek and Turkish Cypriots would contribute to this as well.
Therefore, according to Mr Michaelides, the time has come for the two communities to redouble their efforts to find a solution by the time the accession negotiations begin. Since there is no restriction on or condition for the opening of negotiations, we feel that the period which separates us from this deadline provides a unique opportunity. For its part, the Clerides government is determined to seize this, which is why, Mr Cassoulides explains, that Nicosia deems the EU's decision to ask the European Commission to step up contacts with the northern part of the island as completely positive. We want the Turkish Cypriots to know what they have to gain if they agree to Cyprus becoming a member of the Union. Even if an arrangement is not reached in the next two years, the accession negotiations will begin, because the Fifteen have acknowledged that we were not responsible for this failure and that we do not have to pay for it. The Foreign Minister went on to say that the negotiations will probably last two years, which means that there are still four years before the conclusion of the process, four years in which to find a solution. And if this does not happen? While wishing to exclude this possibility, Alecos Michaelides wanted to be clear: In this case, we will move ahead with accession, accepting the German scenario, while keeping in mind that if a solution is found later on, the rest of the island will join us automatically. Because we will never abandon our search for a solution.
In this process of moving closer together, the EU and its Member States have, according to Cypriot officials, another role to play: one involving Turkey. They can render us a precious service by using their good offices to convince Ankara that agreeing to a political solution to the Cypriot problem that is acceptable to both parties by 1997" would be in its own interest, said Mr Cassoulides. And Mr Michaelides clarified the matter even further, saying: I feel that it is time for the Europeans to send Turkey signals inviting it to take steps to find a solution. If the European Parliament asks it to move in terms of human rights before it will ratify the customs union, why not also tell Turkey it must withdraw from Iraq and Cyprus?
Magazine: Travel Trends, 5.5.95
Title: Sunny Cyprus
ByInder Ras Ahluwalia
Tucked away in the north-eastern end of the Mediterranean basin, with a rich, dramatic history that can be traced back over nine thousand years, Cyprus is the third largest island in the area, and a country twice blessed by nature.
So close is it to Europe, Asia and Africa, that it claims to be a stepping stone to all three continents and quite rightly so. Cyprus has had a long, checquered history which includes some of the world's greatest civilisations. Packed within the 9,251 kilometres of its length and breadth is a very rich cultural legacy that includes archaeology stemming from the Neolithic Age and the ancient Greek and Roman periods, churches and monasteries from Byzantine times, castles and palaces from the days of the Crusaders, and splendid city walls from Venetian times. With such a historic and legendary background, it is easy to understand why Cyprus has developed such a unique character. And complementing this cultural backdrop is the fact that the region is amply blessed by nature. The natural beauty here ranges from golden beaches to rugged coastlines, in rolling hills and forestclad mountains, dotted with picturesque villages.
Six major towns dot the island. Besides the capital, Nicosia, which is situated inland in the middle of the Mesaoria plain, are the five coastal towns of Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Kyrenia and Famagusta, (the latter two have been under Turkish occupation since 1974 and are inaccessible to visitors).
Tourism: Big Industry
Ever since its independence in 1960, tourism development has been high on priority with the government of Cyprus. Thanks to the wealth of attractions for foreigners, the growth of tourism has been continuous and rapid, and today, the tourism industry constitutes a major sector of Cyprus' economy. In 1993, there were 1.8 million arrivals, and by the end of that year there were around 73,657 beds available in licensed establishments, including about 42,000 in one-to-five-star hotels.
Managing this vital industry in the country is the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), a statutory body that took over responsibility for the overall development, promotion, marketing and general management of tourism. The organisation is involved with the implementation of the country's new tourism policy, the main objectives of which are:
l Improvement and enrichment of the tourism product through the creation of extensive general infrastructural projects like golf courses, marinas, parks, camping and picnic sites, and health centres.
l Upgrading existing hotel accommodation and creating ancillary facilities within the accommodation sector.
His Excellency, Stavros A. Epaminondas, High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in India, talked at length to Corporate Travel Plus about relations between India and Cyprus, and the potential in terms of business, tourism and international issues.
Epaminondas feels there is a special bond between the two countries by vitrue of the fact that they have both confronted similar issues and problems in the past, and both have a rich, historical background that, to a large extent, governs peoples' thinking and attitudes.
According to him, India is well known in Cyprus, its history, philosophy and way of life being of great interest to Cypriots.
As High Commissioner, Epaminondas is further promoting business and tourism between Cyprus and India. His office is trying to promote joint ventures, and a couple of projects have already been approved by the Indian government. However, he is of the opinion that they should play the role of a catalyst in business growth, because of which they try to only promote joint ventures and not interfere in the day-to-day working of business houses. Stating that, at present business relations between the two countries were at a low level, with Cyprus' main interest currently being in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, he feels that the scope for the future is considerable.
According to him Cyprus could offer Indian business houses a splendid opportunity for offshore activities. Cyprus' strategic location makes it a perfect base from which to operate and conduct business in the entire Mediterranean region. Some Indian companies have already decided to move to Cyprus to use the free trade-zone facilities available there. They are using Cyprus for conducting business activities with the Middle Eastern countries and Russia. Citing an example, he said that the Tata Group of Companies already have a representative in the country. The BHEL has been active there too with large projects. Cyprus' interest in India as a business partner is also evident in the fact that they have been participating regularly in the India International Trade Fairs.
Coming to specifics, Epaminondas said that the main imports into India from Cyprus were items like dried grapes (Cyprus is famous for its special grapes and wines), pharmaceutical products, and parts of footwear, while the main exports from India into Cyprus were items like organic chemicals, staple fibres and oil-seeds. In 1993, exports from Cyprus to India were worth 326,000 Cyprus Pounds, while imports from India were over six million Cyprus Pounds.
Business apart, there is considerable interest in Cyprus among Indians. Cyprus has a well defined and efficient social system, and its successfully mixed economy can be of benefit to India, especially now that it has embarked on a liberalisation programme. The ÔCyprus Miracle' as their economic success is known, can be a sort of role model for India. In some of its economic sectors. Epaminondas expressed that the fact that India and Cyprus have always shared a common platform on many issues and co-operation at Non-Aligned and Commonwealth Meets, can now be further developed in greater business co-operation between the two countries.
In order to a forge better understanding between the two countries and bring them closer, an Indo-Cyprus Friendship Association has been formed and has been duly registered. Besides expanding cultural ties between both countries, the Association is also trying to focus attention on Cyprus' problems. The fact that both India and Cyprus have seen their countries partitioned makes for a common bond between them. The Association intends to hold symposiums and seminars on matters of mutual interest to the two countries.
Regarding tourism, Epaminondas feels there is plenty of interest among potential travellers in Cyprus regarding India, and he is trying to promote tourist traffic into India from his country. While many Cypriots travel as tourists to places like Thailand, few groups have come here. The plague scare also did a great deal of damage and groups were cancelled. But the potential is very good and agents want to bring groups into India, and once the plague factor has been completely neutralised, traffic should start.
He likes visiting tourist centres like Jaipur and Agra, though he finds the long distances involved in visiting some interesting places a problem. In his free time, he pursues his interest in reading and writing and is busy researching to write a book. Away from office, he likes spending as much time as possible with his wife and two daughters.
He is confident that the burgeoning business and the tourism between Cyprus and India will increase substantially in the years to come.
l Developing agro-tourism through various incentive schemes like low-interest loans, etc.
l Increasing overall earnings from tourism by enhancing the general product. Ideal Conference Destination
Cyprus' strategic geographical Iocation makes it an ideal destination for conferences, conventions, incentives and business meetings and symposiums. The rich cultural and historical background with a variety of scenic spots all over the island, and the temperate climate for most of the year, have all contributed to make it a popular and accessible business rendezvous.
In 1993, 590 international conferences and incentives were held in the country, involving a total participation of around 35,500 delegates. Local industry officials are optimistic about hosting more meets in the coming years.
The main hub of conferencing activity is the purpose-built, state-of-the-art, Cyprus International Conference Centre in Nicosia, which has seating and exhibition space and related facilities to host global meets. Besides the centre, some 60 hotels offer conference and banquet facilities all over the country.
Apart from the centre and the other segments of the business and conference infrastructure, another major attraction and draw of Nicosia is the annual Interantional State Fair held in May, that attracts exhibitors from the world over.
The capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, is one of the oldest capitals in the world, and amongst, its oldest cities, dating back 5,000 years to the Bronze Age. Located roughly in the centre of the island and by the beautiful northern ranges of the Kyrenia Mountains with its distinctive Pentadaktylos - the five finger mountain.
The seat of government, diplomatic headquarters, and cultural centre of Cyprus, the capital presents two distinct faces - the old, original part of the city, surrounded by sturdy, 400-year-old Venetian walls; and a bustling, busy metropolis.
Tourist Attractions Galore
Visitors to the city get a rich do of sights and sounds, and can visit places of great historic interest like the walled city wonders, Laiki Yitonia (meaning local neighbourhood), a pedestrian section that has been renovated to evoke the atmosphere that existed in the city in the old days with traditional houses and craftsmen working as they did during that time. Another fascinating restoration is the Famagousta Gate, one of the original entrances in the city walls, which is now the Municipal Cultural Centre. Other interesting spots in the older part of the city are the Folk Art Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Museum of National Struggle, and the Liberty Monument.
Outside the walls of the older section is the elegant modern city of Nicosia, with hotels, offices, restaurants and gardens blending happily with the fine old houses and colonial buildings of this cosmopolitan city. The Presidential Palace, the Cyprus Museum, which houses a priceless collection of Cypriot antiquities and art treasures, and the Cyprus Handicrafts Centre, are other places of interest in this historic city.
The gastronomical pleasures of Cyprus include a multitude of flavours and combinations. From the humble tavernas to the most sophisticated restaurants, there is a wide choice of eateries for the visitor. The gourmet experience could include unforgettable nights of local Ôbuzuki' and Ômeze' (mixtures). As many as thirty dishes form a meze, starting with dips, salads and vegetables, advancing to hot dishes including favourites like moussaka and kebabs as well as tasty local casseroles, fresh fish, a chicken, and finishing with sweets like baclava and loucoumades. Inexpensive and plentiful wines make a good accompaniment to this exotic and lingering repast, and Cyprus coffee in a tiny cup with a local brandy is a fitting finale. If one is interested in something apart from a typical Cypriot meal, the variety extends to many restaurants serving Chinese, Arabic, European and Indian food. For a whiff of local flavours, there are many charming fish tavernas by the sea.
World Famous Wines
In Cyprus, the history of winemaking goes back to 2,000 BC. Even in the days of yore, Cyprus' wines were considered so delectable that the Pharoahs of Egypt drank it with relish, King Solomon praised it in his poems, and the Ancient Greeks and Romans appreciated their fine quality. Great wines like Madeira, Masala and Hungarian Tokey are said to have originated from transplanted Cyprus wines.
Over a 100 varieties of grapes plumped to perfection, yield the table wines for which Cyprus is to famous. Today, grapes play a major role in the country's agriculture, and the wines come in a large variety that ranges from light sparkling whites to full-bodied red wines. The majority of grape processing is done in four large, ultra modern wineries in Limassol - Keo, Etko, Loel and Sodap. The most ancient Cyprus wine is the celebrated Commandaria, a sweet dessert wine, the fame of which spread across the seas over generations. (Richard the Lion Heart enjoyed it so much that he called it The Wine of Kings and the King of Wines).
Any meal, anywhere in the country, is accompanied by appropriate wines, if desired, and the restaurant staff takes great pride in recommending the right wine for the benefit of foreigners.
Zeitung: Die Welt, 9.5.95
Titel: Wieder Hoffnungen fur Zypern
Von: Evangelos Antonaros
Einer Wiederaufnahme des im Herbst vergangenen Jahres zusammengebrochenen Dialogs zwischen Griechen und Turken auf Zypern steht offenbar nichts mehr im Wege. Dieser Eindruck herrscht trotz eines nichtssagenden Kommuniques nach der Konferenz der Spitzenvertreter aller griechischen Inselparteien mit Regierungschef Andreas Papandreou in Athen. Demnchst, sitzen wir wieder mit den Turken am Verhandlungstisch", sagte ziemlich hoffnungsvoll einer der Konferenzteilnehmer. Die Gesprche waren im Herbst zusammengebrochen, weil sich Griechen und Turken uber einen Friedensplan, den die Vereinten Nationen eingebracht hatten, nicht einigen konnten. Die Insel ist seit 1974 geteilt, als nach einem griechischen Putschversuch Ankara seine Armee zum Schutz der turkischen Minderheit auf die Insel schickte. Unzhlige Vermittlungsversuche uber die Jahre scheiterten klglich. Die beiden Inselteile haben sich nicht nur politisch auseinandergelebt:Im international anerkannten, griechischen Inselsuden floriert die Wirtschaft. Der nur vom turkischen Mutterland annerkannte Norden der Insel ist wegen eines Handelsembargos, aber auch wegen der zu engen Abhngigkeit von der Turkei notleidend.
Da§ die neue Gesprchrunde eine aussichtsreichere Perspektive als bisherige Versuche zu versprechen scheint, hat jedoch andere Grunde: Washington vermittelt den Eindruck, eine Zypern-Lsung um jeden Preis herbeifuhren zu wollen. Dadurch soll ein weiteres potentielles Pulverfa§ im Nahen Osten entschrft werden. Gleichzeitig knnte eine Annherung der beiden Volksgruppen auf Zypern - so der amerikanische Hintergedanke - zur uberwindung der augenblicklich zwar ruhenden , aber latend immer existierenden Differenzen zwischen Athen und Ankara beitragen.
Lsungsvorschlge hat es in der Vergangenheit auf Zypern haufenweise gegeben: Dabei ging es fast immer um die Ruckgabe eines Teils des von den Turken besetzten Inselgebiets an die Griechen und um die Struktur des kunftiges Staatsgebildes.
Die Amerikaner wollen offenbar ein Tauschgeschft zustande bringen: Fur mehr Land sollen die Griechen der Bildung einer von den Turken vorgezogenen losen Konfderation zustimmen. Die Rahmenbedingungen fur eine Lsung sind auch aus anderen Grunden gunstiger als bei den fruheren Versuchen: Nach seiner vor zwei Wochen erfolgten Wiederwahl zum Staatschef des Inselnordens hat Rauf Denktasch kein innenpolitischen Ausfluchte mehr und mu§ genauso wie der Grieche Glafkos Klerides Farbe bekennen. Hinzu kommt, da§ die Inselturken durch die Zusage des EU - Ministerrates an die Griechen, nach 1996 die Beitrittsverhandlungen mit ihnen aufzunehmen, unter Zeitdruck stehen.
Journal: Le Monde, 26.4.95
Titre: La perspective europeenne bouleverse les donnees de la question Chypriote
Par: Marcel Scotto
L' adhesion a l' UE pourrait permettre une federalisation de l' ile, coupee en deux depuis 1974
Le perspective d' adhesion de Chypre a l' Union europeenne a totalement bouleverse les donnees de l' imbroglio diplomatique qui dure depuis l' invasion d' une partie de l' ile par l' armee turque en 1974. Deja l' economie du Sud, habite par les Chypriotes grecs, repond a la plupart des criteres exiges pour passer a la monnaie unique. Mais l' intransigeance du Nord, pro-turc bloque le processus de reunification.
NICOSIE de notre envoye special.
Il n' y a pas de progres depuis octobre 1974", constate le president de Chypre, Glafcos Clerides, pour qualifier les discussions avec les autorites du nord de l' ile. C' est a cette date, en effet, que les contacts avec Rauf Denktash, qul vient d' tre reelu president de la Republique turque chypriote, ont virtuellement ete rompus. Pourtant, les discussions etaient intenses, a l' epoque, entre les deux presidents. A eux seuls, les representants des Nations unies avaient alnsi pu organiser, a l' automne 1994, quatre rencontres a Nicosie entre ceux qu' on appelle ici les deux vieux renards de Chypre.
Aujourd' hui, les pourparlers sur les mesures de confiance, entames apres l' election, en fevrier 1993, de M. Clerides a la tte de l' Etat, sont au point mort. Pour entamer le processus de reunification, il s' agissalt pour chaque camp de donner un gage de confiance: le retrait des troupes turques de Famagouste-Varosha, la grande station balneaire du pays avant 1974; la reouverture de l' aeroport de Nicosie qul aurait permis de donner un peu l' oxygene a l' Economie du nord de l' ile. La mefiance de M. Denktash a l' egard des Chypriotes grecs conjuguee aux pressions exercees par les partis de droite comme de gauche sur M. Clerides pour qu' il ne se montre pas trop conciliant avec son interlocuteur, ont fait echouer la negociation.
Le Sud, qui a pour lui, contrairement au Nord, de s' tre remarquablement adapte a la situation creee par la coupure de l' ile en deux, a les moyens de se montrer patient Les 160,000 refugies chypriotes grecs se sont integres plutt facilement. L' aeroport de Nicosie, toujours sous contrle de l' ONU, a ete avantageusement remplace par celui de Larnaca. Cette ville et, avec elle, Paphos et Limassol ont si bien developpe leurs infrastructures touristiques que Chypre a accueilli l' an dernier deux millions de touristes pour une population qui depasse a peine six cent mille habitants. Aujourd' hui, les Chypriotes grecs ont un revenu par tte d' habitant superieur a celui de la Grece et du Portugal et comparable a celui de l' Espagne.
Le Nord est reste une region pauvre, a l' inflation galopante, qui a vu l' emigration se poursuivre, voire s' accelerer selon les estimations generalement admises, soixante mille Chypriotes turcs ont quitte l' ile en vingt et un ans tandis que dans le mme temps un nombre equivalent de colons venus de Turquie s' y installait. L'e tourisme est tombe au plus bas (tout juste soixante dix mille visiteurs) en raison notamment de la necessite de transiter par Istanbul ou Ankara pour acceder a Kyrenia ou au Cap-Saint-Andre. Et surtout, la republique de M. Denktash est encore une zone forcement militarisee: la Turquie maintient trente-cinq mille hommes de troupe et plus de trois cents blindes.
Les Chypriotes grecs font d' autant plus preuve de patience qu' ils sont persuades de tenir definitivement le bon bout avec le decision du 6 mars 1995 des Quinze, qui prevoit l'ouverture des negociations d' adhesion de l'ile a l' Union six mois apres la conclusion des travaux de la conference intergouvernementale de 1996. Pour tous a Nicosie, y compris Gustave Feissel, representant-adjoint de l' ONU a Chypre, l' engagement communautaire a completement modifie la donne. Selon Alecos Michaelides, c'est la premiere fois que se degage une veritable perspective de reglement de la question chypriote. Desormais, ajoute le ministre des affaires etrangeres, les Chypriotes turcs ont deux ans pour se decider s' ils veulent ou non cooperer a la recherche d' une solution.
Car, il est tout a fait clair pour la plupart des responsables du Sud que la partition de l'ile ne pourra empcher l' appartenance a l' Union. Le president Clerides explique ainsi que le gouvernement negociera pour l' ensemble du territoire chypriote; mais si les pourparlers d' adhesion devaient aboutir avant ceux sur la reunification, le traite conclu avec les negociateurs de Bruxelles s' appliquera, dans un premier temps, a la partie libre. Alexis Galanos, president de la Chambre des deputes n' envisage pas ce scenario de maniere aussi sereine: Entrer dans l' Union avant de regler la question chypriote serait une tragedie. Le parlemenaire chypriote grec estime en effet que la consequence en serait d' isoler a la fois le nord de l' ile et la Turquie et les pousser alnsi dans le bras des "fondamentalistes musulmans.
En attendant, les experts du ministere des finances et de la banque centrale affichent ostensiblement les bons indicateurs de l' economie du Sud. Les chiffres officiels font apparaitre que tous les criteres de Maastricht pour passer a la monnaie unique sont deja respectes, a l' exception du taux d' inflation qui sera trop eleve au terme de cette annee (4,5%) mals qu' il est prevu de ramener a 3% en 1997. Ils admettent tout de mme que beaucoup d' ajustements seront necessaires. Chypre applique toujours le contrle des changes et est encore loin de la liberation des mouvements de capitaux. Ils conviennent aussi que le statut du millier de societes offshore (dont vint-cinq banques ) existant dans le Sud devra tre amenage pour respecter la legislation communautaire. Les diplomates europeens en poste a Chypre confirment d'ailleurs qu' il sera imperieux d' etudier minutieusement ce dossier.
Quoi qu' il en soit, toutes les energies sont tendues aujourd' hui vers un seul objectif: reussir la negociation d' adhesion et entrer au plus vite dans l' Union. Forts d' une prosperite visible a Ïil nu et de l' incontestable succes diplomatique obtenu le mois dernier, les Chypriotes grecs sont persuades d' avoir franchi une etape capitale qui ne peut conduire le gouvement d' Ankara qu' a se montrer plus concillant. D' autant, explique M. Michaelides, que l' Europe ne pourra plus tolerer longtemps que le Turquie puisse faire comme elle l' entend a l' egard de Chypre mais aussi des droits de l' homme et des Kurdes." A supposer que l' analyse soit pertinente, il reste a savoir jusqu' o M. Denktash et ses allies turcs accepteront de negocier. Mme si revenir a la situation d' avant 1974 - retour des deux communautes dans leurs lieux d' origine avec restitution des biens - parait exclue dans un eventuel processus de reunification, il faudra surmonter l' obstacle de la creation d' un Etat federal qui se presente de maniere singulierement complexe. surtout que le gouvernement de M. Clerides demande une rectification des frontieres des futurs Etats federes au profit de celui du Sud. Il s' agit d' etablir un meilleur equilibre entre les deux territoires. Les Chypriotes turcs occupent 37% de l' ile et 55% du littoral alors que leur nombre represente seulement 18% (cent cinquante mille personnes) de la population de l' ile.
Un accord sur cette question serait deja un signe tangible de la volonte des deux parties de trouver un compromis. Le danger existe pourtant que chacun des camps veuille l' emporter sur l' autre: les grecs", grce a la caution europeenne; les turcs, grce a la force que represente l' armee d' Ankara. Une autre erreur tout aussi grave serait de croire, comme le dit M. Feissel, que Rauf Denktash est un president fantoche, manipule par la Turquie, alors que politiquement il existe reellement.