Turkey's Claim that Cyprus
Threats it's Security Not Convincing
August 29, 1997

On August 5, the Government Spokesman Mr. Manolis Christophides commenting on statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz on the S-300 missile system, called upon Turkey to accept President Cleride's proposal for the demilitarization of the island.

In an interview with "Newsweek" Magazine, Mr. Yilmaz said the Cyprus problem is a matter of "nation's security" for Turkey because of the Cyprus Government decision to purchase the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.

Mr. Christophides stressed that it is Cyprus' inalienable right to acquire the S-300 missiles to defend against the threat posed by Turkey and the thousands of troops it has stationed on the island.

"Turkey has crammed the occupied area with its troops and weapons, making it one of the most militarized areas in the word, and yet Mr. Yilmaz says he is concerned because Cyprus has built up its own defense. It was our duty to strengthen our defense and we have reached the point of enhancing it in the best possible manner through the acquisition of the S-300's" the Spokesman said.

Mr. Christophides underlined that the missiles are effective against attacks by F16 aircraft which Turkey possesses. If Turkey, he said, has no intention of using the F16s against Cyprus, it has nothing to fear from the S-300s.

"If Turkey is concerned about the level of armaments in Cyprus today - both in the occupied area and the government-controlled area - there is an alternative solution which is President Cleride's proposal for the demilitarization of the island. Moreover, Turkey, which has a population of 50-60 million, does not sound convincing when it claims that it is threatened by a small country like Cyprus."

In an interview with the Greek Cypriot daily "Agon" on 24 August, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides made it clear that "the S-300 will be deployed unless the reasons for which we were obliged to order them no longer exist."

These reasons, he explained, will cease to exist when people in Cyprus feel their security is not endangered to a degree that the missiles are needed.

Minister Kasoulides also pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has turned down a proposal from President Clerides, during the latest round of UN-sponsored talks earlier this month, to discuss "reduction of military forces and equipment and the demilitarization of Cyprus."


The United Nations has undertaken the restructuring of the square of the mixed village of Pyla, some 12 kilometers north-west of Larnaca. According to Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the work will include pedestrianization of a parking space in the village's square and restoration of old buildings surrounding it.

Both Greek and Turkish Cypriot residents of the village will carry out the work for the bicommunal project which is estimated to cost around half a million Cyprus pound (some one million US dollars). The UN believes that the project will contribute to bringing the two communities closer, the CNA report said.

Among the buildings which will be restored are the village's Greek Orthodox Church, the Turkish Cypriot coffee shop, the co-operative shop and the village's mosque. Repair work on the Medieval Castle of Pyla will be carried out with the help of the Antiquities Department.

Although the Church is being restored by Greek Cypriots and the mosque by Turkish Cypriots, the Medieval Castle and the work to transform the square will be carried out jointly by workers from both communities.

UN Peacekeeping Force (UNFICYP) Spokesman Waldemar Rokoszevski told the Cyprus News Agency that the UNHCR fund plan would "ease the unemployment problem of Turkish Cypriots living in Pyla."

"The program was established with UNHCR funding, which means American involvement as well," he said, adding that "a certain number of buildings in Pyla will be restored with UNHCR financing."


The 28th World Congress of the Postal Telegraph Telephone International (PTTI) has unanimously adopted a resolution describing the continued division of Cyprus as an anachronism and calling upon all parties on the island to help reach a peaceful and lasting solution for the benefit of all Cypriots.

Delegation from over 100 countries at the PTTI 28th World Congress, held in Montreal, Canada, from August 18 to 22, have unanimously expressed the "concern that the Cyprus problem remains unresolved and the inland divided" despite UN resolutions.

The resolution notes that "the strong military presence on the island, which keeps the country divided, is an obstacle to the successful completion of talks for a peaceful lasting solution." It described further continuation of the island's division an "anachronism in the current trends for worldwide cooperation and abolition of borders and violations of human rights."

The Congress took into consideration the aspirations of the 16 Greek and Turkish Cypriot trade union organizations, as expressed at the All Cyprus Trade Unions Forum on March 17-19 1997, the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979, the relevant UN resolutions and the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and Security Council on Cyprus.


The First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakstan, Esimov Akhetzhan escorted by Deputy Finance Minister Ikram Adyrbekov, visited Cyprus in early August and held a series of meetings with senior Cypriot officials aiming at promoting closer bilateral relations between Cyprus and Kazakstan.

Mr. Akhetzhan expressed satisfaction with the meetings in Cyprus and said a number of bilateral agreements are being prepared which, when signed, will provide a good basis for future cooperation between the two countries.

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