Government Spokesman comments
on Turkey's attempt to create tension in Cyprus

June 23, 1998

Asked to comment on the Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Mesut Yilmaz's intention to hold consultations with Britain, a guarantor of Cyprus' independence, over the question of reducing tension in Cyprus, the Government Spokesman, Mr. Christos Stylianides, said on June 19, 1998:

"It is odd that the very country which has violated the Treaty of Guarantee and has overturned constitutional order, which in fact it should have protected, should pose as a guarantor power and, what is more, request the cooperation of another guarantor power for the reduction of tension. It is absurd that the country responsible for creating tension in Cyprus should be seeking a reduction of tension. What is this guarantor power, which has practically divested itself of this role, seeking to defend? In our view, and I believe it is obvious, tension is being created solely by the Turkish occupation forces which have repeatedly violated international law and are trying to create tension in the region.

As the Cyprus Government, we have proved by deed as well as by specific proposals that we are in favour of the reduction of tension. Unfortunately there was no response from the Turkish side, particularly as regards our position on the demilitarization of Cyprus which is the obvious answer to any reduction of tension."

The Spokesman said the relevance of the Cyprus Government's proposal on demilitarization is the best reply to all those who are trying to create tension and to all those who are trying to blame both sides equally.

He said tension has been created by Turkey's intention to create artificial tension and the presence of the occupation forces in Cyprus. As for the landing of Greek aircraft at Paphos, he said it was a scheduled routine exercise within the framework of the Joint Defence Doctrine between Cyprus and Greece. Under no circumstances should it be considered as a provocation, as the question of defence is within the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, he said.

Mr. Stylianides said Turkey is held responsible for the current deadlock in the Cyprus problem and is trying to present the deadlock as a problem of armaments and artificial tension for obvious reasons.

He said the Cyprus government has no intention of participating in Turkey's game of creating impression. With such attempts turkey is trying to distract public opinion from domestic problems following its isolation and failure to make substantive gains at the recent European Council in Cardiff, he said.

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