November 4, 1996


          Embassy of Cyprus
          Press & Information Office
          2211 R Street NW
          Washington DC 20008
          (202) 232-8993
          (202) 234-1936 Fax


International Community Condemns Fourth Murder in Buffer Zone

The situation in Cyprus is deteriorating as Turkish occupation troops carry out a campaign of violence along the cease-fire line in Cyprus. Turkey is not only undermining efforts to resume U.N.-sponsored talks aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement, but also threatening to provoke a military conflict in the region.

The latest step in this campaign occurred on October 13, when Turkish soldiers shot and killed an unarmed Greek Cypriot civilian, Petros Kakoullis, after he strayed a few meters into the occupied area from the British military base of Dhekelia.

An eyewitness said Kakoullis, who was in the area collecting snails after a rainstorm, was first confronted by two Turkish soldiers. While his hands were in the air the soldiers shot Kakoullis, and then moved closer and shot him again while he was wounded on the ground, killing the 58-year-old refugee. Turkish soldiers refused to allow a British ambulance to reach the victim, and neither Cyprus government nor British officials were able to inspect the area where the crime occurred.

Calling the Kakoullis murder "utterly unwarranted, premeditated, carried out in cold blood and the fourth murder in a row," Cyprus Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides said on October 14 that this most recent crime "sheds a different light on the previous murders (of two civilian Greek Cypriot demonstrators in August and of an unarmed Greek Cypriot soldier in June) and forces us to look at all four murder cases from a different angle."

Far from isolated incidents, these crimes "could not have been perpetrated without orders from the Turkish Cypriot leadership and the Turkish Government to shoot and kill Greek Cypriots who enter the buffer zone or the area under Turkish control," Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said in a letter to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on October 22.

As further proof Turkey's occupation army now encourages the cold-blooded murder of Greek Cypriots, Clerides noted that after shooting an unarmed Greek Cypriot soldier in June "Turkish soldiers prevented the U.N. Peacekeeping Force from approaching the point where he was lying mortally wounded by firing over their heads until the victim died."

He also pointed out to Denktash that in all four recent murders "no condemnation, regret, or sorrow has been expressed by you or any one on behalf of your side for these barbaric murders."

Immediately following the Kakoullis murder the U.N. Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) stressed that "deadly force must not be used by either side against persons who cross the respective cease-fire lines or enter the U.N. buffer zone,'' adding that the UNFICYP commander "has, in the strongest possible terms, requested the Commander of the Turkish Forces in Cyprus that he instruct the soldiers under his command not to shoot unless their own lives are threatened."

Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides summoned the ambassadors in Cyprus of the permanent members of the Security Council on October 14 to protest the latest Turkish provocation, saying afterwards that Turkey's aim is to "discourage all those interested in a Cyprus settlement." The Cyprus government denounced this latest act of Turkish aggression worldwide, including lodging protests by the Cyprus embassy in Washington with the U.S. State Department, and by the Cyprus mission to the Unied Natons with the U.N. Secretary-General.

U.S.: Murder "Unwarranted and Unnecessary"

The international community strongly condemned the murder, with the U.S. State Department spokesman calling it "unwarranted and unnecessary," and emphasizing that the U.S. "deeply regrets and condemns the use of deadly force in this incident."

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Gregori Tarasov similarly criticized Turkey's actions as "unprecedented, unacceptable and barbarous," and said recent developments "only reaffirm the need for an overall Cyprus settlement."

In a resolution on October 24 the European Parliament not only denounced the murder but called for "a thorough investigation of the incident in order to identify those responsible and bring them to justice."

In addressing the broader aspects of the Cyprus problem, the European Parliament also called upon its member states to "respond with continued firm pressure on Turkey with the aim of freeing the island of the presence of all Turkish troops, guaranteeing freedom of movement for all citizens and working for a just and peaceful solution to the current Cypriot problem, along the lines of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions."

In a separate October 24 resolution, the European Parliament blocked millions of dollars in E.U. aid to Turkey, stressing that the aid should be linked to respect by Turkey for democratic principles and international law and for "significant progress towards the political resolution of the Cyprus problem and the Kurdish issue."

Despite the widespread protests against the four recent murders, on October 29 Turkish occupation troops again fired at individuals on the cease-fire line, this time at two unarmed British soldiers on routine work near the Dhekelia base. None of the shots fired hit the soldiers, though their vehicle was damaged.

The British High Commission in Nicosia protested the attack and the U.S. State Department Spokesman said on October 30 that Turkish troops "ought not to be firing at people when they stray a meter or two over a line . . . We think this kind of thing should not happen again in the future. We join the British in protesting this."

U.N. Dialogue on Reducing Military Tensions on Cease-fire Line

Following months of attempting to reduce tensions along the cease-fire line, the U.N. Secretary-General's Resident Representative for Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, announced on October 21 that U.N. officials have begun a series of consultations on ways to minimize the possibility of violence in the U.N. buffer zone.

In his October 22 letter to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides expressed his willingness to begin talks on the basis of extending the 1989 Unmanning Agreement, while expressing disappointment that the Turkish side had rejected the Cyprus government's proposal for a more far-reaching agreement, one in which "both sides should pull their forces some miles from the buffer zone . . . leaving the buffer zone in the hands of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force."

An agreement for the military commanders of the Cyprus National Guard and Turkey's occupation army to meet and discuss ways to defuse tensions along the buffer zone had been announced by the permanent U.S. representative to the U.N., Ambassador Madeleine Albright, following her visit to Cyprus in July, but subsequent Turkish demands prevented the talks from beginning.


"The prospect for face to face negotiations under the aegis of the U.N. during the first half of 1997 is a real prospect," Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus, David Hannay, said on October 18, following a series of consultations with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

The Cyprus government strongly supports a resumption of direct talks leading to a comprehensive Cyprus settlement, but "a meeting not adequately prepared will not have any prospect for success," as Cyprus Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides stressed on October 29, reflecting the consensus of the international community.

Previous efforts to reach a settlement have failed, President Clerides said on October 18, because Turkey failed to display the political will needed to reach a settlement. "That is why for any new initiative to be successful, common ground on the basic aspects of the Cyprus question should be found before embarking on a new dialogue" he said.

Hannay's visit is part of a coordinated international effort to achieve substantial progress on Cyprus. The heightened international interest in a settlement, Hannay wrote in The Times of London (October 25), stems from the threat to regional peace created by the "inherently unstable" status quo on Cyprus. "There is a greater density of modern weapons and men under arms in Cyprus than almost anywhere in the world," Hannay wrote, echoing the assessment of the U.N. Secretary-General that occupied Cyprus "remains one of the most densely militarized areas in the world." To reduce the threat to regional peace and contribute to a lasting settlement President Clerides has proposed the complete demilitarization of Cyprus, but Turkey has so far rejected the proposal.

In addition to a visit later in the year by Han Sung Joo, the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Representative for Cyprus, British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind intends to visit Cyprus soon since "a political settlement next year would be enormously important to Cyprus and to Europe, and there ought to be better prospects for such a settlement than there has been for some time."

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Richard Beattie and other U.S. officials are also expected to visit the region soon, an indication of the continuing high priority which the U.S. places on resolving the Cyprus problem.

"I can tell you that the President is committed to making progress on this issue," President Clinton's National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake, said on October 9 at Georgetown University. He said that the U.S. interest "is to see that dispute reconciled for the sake of our NATO relations in the area and for the sake of the people of Cyprus."

During the U.S. Presidential campaign both President Clinton and Republican candidate Robert Dole reaffirmed their commitment to achieving peace in Cyprus. Clinton called Cyprus "a high foreign policy priority," while Dole emphasized that he has supported the demilitarization of Cyprus since the 1970s and was for "a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem at the earliest possible time."


The Cyprus government has issued arrest warrants for five individuals implicated in the August 14 murder in the U.N. buffer zone of an unarmed Greek Cypriot civilian, Solomos Solomou.

The suspects include Kenan Akin, an illegal settler from Turkey and so-called "minister of agriculture" in occupied Cyprus; Attila Sab, so-called "chief of police" in occupied Cyprus; a commander of the military occupation forces, Erdal Emanet; commander of Turkey's 29th army division, Mehmet Karli; and a former Turkish military commander, Hasan Kontaxi.

In an interview with the Turkish Cypriot weekly Aktuel (October 31) Akin denied being present but said "I regret not being there. I could have pulled the trigger at least once." He said the importance of Solomou's death had been exaggerated: "Why are you making the killing of a dog sound so important?" In a separate article Aktuel pointed out that in fact the photographic evidence of Akin's involvement in the murder was irrefutable: "The photographs . . . are very clear and leave no room for doubt."

Attorney General Alecos Markides said on October 30 that there are other suspects but that their identity has not yet been determined. He added that Interpol will be asked to help apprehend the suspects. The Attorney General also said the Cyprus government is gathering evidence on those involved in the murder of Anastasios Isaac on August 11 and that sufficient evidence will likely be collected soon to identify the suspects.

IN BRIEF . . .

In an October 25 message to U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on the 51st anniversary of the founding of the U.N., Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said that everyone "must meet the great challenge of our times, which is the realization of the vision of the founding fathers for a world where peace, justice, security, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms will prevail for all." He added that the people of Cyprus "continue to place our hopes on the United Nations for a just, viable and lasting solution to the question of Cyprus through the implementation of all the relevant resolutions." U.N. Resident Representative Gustave Feissel told celebrants of U.N. day in Nicosia that the recent "tragic and unnecessary deaths . . . are a stark reminder that the current situation in Cyprus is untenable and that a settlement is long overdue . . . it is important that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots affirm that these tragic incidents do not represent the true sentiments and desires of the people of the two communities in Cyprus and that such incidents must never happen again.''

While the Cyprus government is fully "committed to speed up our harmonization process with the E.U., it is equally important to maintain our role as a financial and services center," Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said in an address to Cypriot business people on October 27. Emphasizing that Cyprus' geographic location, high quality of services, market economy, well-trained work force, excellent telecommunications and democratic institutions continue to attract offshore companies to locate in Cyprus, Michaelides said that the approximately 25,000 Cyprus-based offshore units generate revenues of $322 million and employ 2% of the work force.

U.S. and Cyprus government officials have intensified their already close cooperation in preventing the shipment of non-conventional weapons trade to Iran and Syria, Defense News reported (November 4-10). "As a major trans-shipment point in a sensitive region, Cyprus has a role to play," a U.S. official was quoted as saying, and "we are quite satisfied with their cooperation." Cyprus Government Spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides confirmed to Defense News that should Cyprus be notified by the U.S. or Israel that equipment is being shipped through Cyprus for non-conventional weapons use "we will take action" to prevent it. He also confirmed that Cyprus customs officials, working with U.S. officials, were able to seize a shipment last year of zirconium, which is essential to the operation of nuclear reactors. The article said the zirconium was destined for Iran.

Affirming that the Cyprus government welcomes the American intention to make a major push on Cyprus in the coming months, Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides said in an address at Wayne State University in Detroit on October 11 that to achieve progress the U.S. and other interested parties should now focus "on getting the necessary common ground, which in essence requires directing their efforts towards Ankara in order to get the Turkish leadership (military and civilian) to moderate its intransigent position on Cyprus." On October 6 Ambassador Jacovides attended a memorial service in Wilmington, Delaware for the two Greek Cypriot civilians killed by Turkish soldiers and extremists in August and he delivered an address to the Hellenic University Club on the Cyprus problem and U.S. foreign policy in the Eastern Mediterranean. In his remarks Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated that he will continue to be a strong voice demanding an end to Turkey's occupation of Cyprus. Stressing that the U.S. must place the issue of reaching a comprehensive Cyprus settlement on the "front burner," he condemned Turkey's aggression on Cyprus and said that to be treated as a close American ally Ankara must act in accordance with the international rule of law.


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