/Turkey ‘raising Aegean tension ’/ MOST papers focused on the "hard line"
stance adopted by Turkey in its diplomatic dealings with Greece and Cyprus.
Apart from the gloomy forecasts about any Cyprus initiative, Turkey was
raising the tension in the Aegean by challenging Greek sovereignty rights.
reported that Ankara and Rauf Denktash had hardened their stance on the
Cyprus talks, in preparation for any new initiatives. Turkish Foreign
Minister Ismail Cem rejected the option of the involvement of G8 (the seven
richest countries plus Russia) in the peace process, saying it would cause
many difficulties. The only option was acceptance of Denktash’s proposal
for confederation, he said. Denktash, on his departure to Istanbul, said
that acceptance by the Greek Cypriots of the existence of his ‘state’ would
help efforts for a settlement. Turkey, exploiting its ties with the US
which had been strengthened by the Kosovo crisis, was "trying to secure
advantages and benefits" in view of the new initiatives.
does not take such a gloomy view. It leads with excerpts from an interview
given by President Clerides to an Athens newspaper, in which he said that
an initiative was expected in November. The international community had
been studying alternative scenarios and options with regard to the
substance of a settlement, Clerides said. Despite the war in Yugoslavia,
the international community, either through the UN Security Council or
through G8, continued to show an interest in securing a resumption of the
peace talks, he said.
reported that Turkey, "through continuous provocations, is attempting to
raise the tension in the Aegean in order to gauge Greece’s reflexes and
readiness." Sticking to its positions about "grey areas" in the Aegean and
the "unclear sovereignty" of certain rocks and islands, Ankara was
attempting to raise tension and keep a question mark over Greek sovereignty
rights. The attempt by some 20 Turkish journalists to go to the island of
Imia - over which Greece and Turkey almost went to war three years ago -
was part of this campaign, the paper claimed. Two of the reporters ended up
in the sea and both Ankara and Athens laughed off the incident.
also saw the Turkish ‘expedition’ as a threat to Greek sovereignty. It
claimed that some 10 Turks had tried to climb on to the rock islet of Imia
in order to create a heated incident. A boat from the Greek coastguard,
which had increased its patrols in the Aegean, monitored the movements of
the two Turkish boats carrying the journalists.
predicted that Greece would be in a very difficult position if Nato decided
to use ground troops against Yugoslavia. In such an event, Nato would
demand to use Greek airports, ports and roads for moving its troops and
weapons. Such a development would mean a direct involvement in the war for
Greece. This was why Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Defence Minister
were at pains to explain Greece’s opposition to Nato operations on the
ground. Athens was also concerned that a land war could spread to the rest
of the Balkan region, particularly to Albania, Skopje and Bulgaria where
the Nato troops would be based.
Haravghi said that the
government was about to impose new taxes and stressed that the communist
party Akel was opposed to such a move.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999