Cyprus conflict comes to a boil
U.N., U.S. fault Turkey for Greek Cypriot deaths
August 15, 1996
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT
CYPRUS (CNN) -- Greece and Turkey exchanged threatening
words Thursday about the divided island of Cyprus, where two
Greek Cypriots have been killed in violence in the
U.N.-patrolled buffer zone this week.
Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller, who addressed a rally
on the Turkish part of Cyprus, said Turks would "break the
hands" of anyone who insulted their flag. She was referring
to Solomos Solomou, an unarmed Greek Cypriot protester
fatally shot by a soldier Wednesday while climbing a
flagpole to pull down the red and white Turkish flag.
Another Greek Cypriot man was killed in a clash with Turkish
Cypriot troops last Sunday.
"The situation is again very tense. (Greek Prime Minister
Costas Simitis) wants to make it clear that any move by the
Turks to the south will immediately mean war with Greece,"
said a senior Greek government official, who asked not to be
identified. Turkey and Greece almost came to war earlier
this year when Turkey laid claim to a small island in the
eastern Aegean Sea.
Simitis is due to fly to Cyprus on Friday to be briefed on
the crisis and attend the funeral for Solomou, 26.
After reviewing a United Nations report on the incidents, the
Greek Cypriot representative at the U.N. said the killings of
the two men were unjustified.
"One of them was beaten to death and the other was shot in
cold blood. A report from the United Nations that came out
(Thursday) makes that very clear," Nicos Agathocleous said in
New York during a live interview on CNN. Solomou was "not
threatening anybody," he said.
Separately, the U.S. State Department Thursday accused
Turkish Cypriot security forces of using excessive force in
trying to quell Wednesday's demonstration.
To deter future anti-Turkey demonstrators, Greek Cypriot
authorities are having ditches dug and barbed wire barricades
'Go with a gun'
Gustave Feissel, head of the U.N. mission in Cyprus, told
CNN's Jerrold Kessel he's hopeful the shock of the double
tragedy can produce something "positive." (400K AIFF or WAV sound)
Turkey on Thursday asked members of the U.N. Security Council
to pressure Cyprus into halting
Greek Cypriot demonstrations along the buffer zone.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops
invaded following a Greek-backed coup on the island. Turkey
now has some 30,000 troops in the northern third of Cyprus.
Many Greeks on the island, including Solomou's family, are
refugees from the Turkish-controlled zone. "The Turks
pulled him out when he was just four," said Solomou's father,
He and other Greek Cypriots speak often of a "major dilemma,"
Kessel reported. Although they call it their right and duty
to protest the Turkish army presence, they fear they may find
it necessary to "go with a gun," said Solomou's brother,
Turkish Cypriots declared independence on their part of the
island in 1983, but their self-declared republic is
recognized only by Turkey. The Greek Cypriot government is
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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