More Killings in the Buffer Zone

1600 BST 14/8/96


Nicosia, August 14, 1996 (M.P.A.)

A young greek-cypriot was shot dead today by turkish troops in Derinia in the buffer zone near Famagusta, in Cyrpus when after the demonstration which followed the funeral of another greek- cypriot who was beaten to death on Sunday, a group of demonstrators managed to enter the buffer zone despite the cypriot police blocks.

The Cyprus Radio Institute showed Solomos Spirou Solomou from occupied Famagusta living in Paralimni, being shot while attempting to get on a turkish flag pole.

According to information from Cyrpus, two more greek-cypriot demonstrators, a man and a woman, whose names remain unknown, and a UN peacekeeper were also injured seriously today when turkish army opened fire against the demonstrators who unarmed had reached the buffer zone at Derinia, after breaking the cypriot police blocks.

The same information says that none of the injured is in serious condition but they have been tranferred to hospital.

Earlier Issak's funeral had taken place in his homeplace in Paralimni,at the presense of cypriot political leadership and thousands of people who had come to Paralimni from all over Cyrpus.

The demonstartors left the buffer zone some time later.

Watch the Barbarians Murder Solomos Solomou in-front of the World Media


[01] UN envoy expresses shock over buffer zone killing

[02] Cyprus urges Security Council members to act - tension localised

[03] British diplomat comments on buffer zone killings

[04] US Congressmen condemn killings - call for measures

[05] US Congressmen call for tough sanctions against Turkey

[06] US critical of Ciller's statement

[07] Five bullets hit Greek Cypriot protester

[01] UN envoy expresses shock over buffer zone killing

Nicosia, Aug 14 (CNA) -- The UN Secretary-General's Resident Representative to Cyprus, Gustave Feissel, described as ''totally disproportionate'' the latest incidents on the island.

In a statement to CNA tonight, Feissel described the killing of another Greek Cypriot today by Turkish soldiers as a ''terrible tragedy. We feel that the shooting was totally unwarranted and inexcusable'', he said.

Eleven civilians, including two British UN peacekeepers, were wounded during a peaceful anti-occupation demonstration in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Dherynia, on the eastern coast of the island.

The incidents followed the burial earlier today of another Greek Cypriot savagely beaten to death on Sunday in another demonstration which called for the freedom of movement in this divided island.

Feissel told CNA although the Greek Cypriots had broken into the buffer zone, the UN was in control of the situation and was in the process of getting people out of the buffer zone when ''out of the blue the Turkish soldiers started firing''.

He said UNFICYP was trying to take back Solomos Spyrou Solomos when ''for no reason whatsoever'' the shooting began.

The UN envoy supported that demonstrations should take place but these should be done within bounds.

''Everybody has the right to demonstrate. Demonstrations should take place within bounds'', he said, adding that ''one side must react in proportion to what is going on the other side. What happened today and on Sunday is totally disproportionate to what was going on,'' he added, referring to the shooting by the Turkish side.

He expressed the view that ''there is a feeling of shock'' and that what has happened is not Cyprus. For the first time in so many years, he said, there was one person killed and now another in demonstrations. ''I do not believe that the people we saw on TV are the people that we have known on this island.''

Feissel said he understands that the people are angry but noted that ''we must all come back to our senses and stop such actions''.

Asked what the UN intends to do at this stage, Feissel said the international organisation has been trying all along for a settlement but ''will not stop now. Efforts should be redoubled,'' he added.

The UN envoy said he was in continued touch today with President Glafcos Clerides and Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides and would be meeting them.

He added he was also in continuous touch with the other (Turkish Cypriot) side, ''underlying that we all have to be very careful and these kind of actions should stop'' because they are not in the interests of the T/C community.


[02] Cyprus urges Security Council members to act - tension localised

Nicosia, Aug 14 (CNA) -- Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides has called on the UN Security Council to ''make the necessary demarches'' to deal with Turkish shoot-to-kill policy they have been applying during unrest in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

He also urged Council members to evaluate the facts in order to ensure that a true depiction of the incidents is portrayed and warned them against ignoring the fact that Turkish terrorist groups came to Cyprus with intent to cause trouble.

The Minister dismissed as unfounded rumours that the country is in a war-like situation and explained today's tension, which has almost faded, was localised.

Speaking after meeting the ambassadors of the ''big five'' in Cyprus, the Minister said ''I stressed to the big five that the Council and each member separately must take the necessary steps to deal with the position the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish occupation troops have adopted in the past few days.''

''Council members must also take account of the fact that Turkish terrorists arrived in Cyprus with the express purpose of causing trouble,'' he said.

The government, he underlined, shall not let this go unnoticed because it would send the wrong message to the Turkish Cypriot side.

Michaelides pointed out at this evening's meeting that ''any attempt based on a policy of keeping an equal distance spells out trouble because it implies that entering the UN-controlled buffer zone and shooting to kill in the buffer zone is the same thing.''

The Minister said today's shooting by Turkish troops in the buffer zone started when a signal was given by firing a flare.

This, he pointed out, proves that the Turks resumed their attacks which aim to kill, as they did on Sunday when they beat to death a Greek Cypriot demonstrator in the buffer zone.

He said the recent incidents underline the need to ''increase efforts by all those who want to see a solution of the Cyprus problem, including the UN, US and the European Union, to do it as quickly as possible.''

Cyprus' ambassador to the UN will brief later today the UN Security Council while President Glafcos Clerides intends to send a letter to the UN Secretary-General early next week, the content or purpose of which he did not disclose.

On Saturday the President has called a meeting of the National Council, the top advisory body on the handling of the Cyprus question, to discuss the situation.

Greek Premier Costas Simitis will arrive in Cyprus on Saturday morning to be fully briefed about developments and will attend Saturday's Council meeting.

The Foreign Minister said throughout the day he was in close contact with UN top envoy in Cyprus Gustave Feissel and local police cooperated fully with the UN peace-keeping force.


[03] British diplomat comments on buffer zone killings

Nicosia, Aug 14 (CNA) -- Britain sees the indiscriminate shooting by Turkish troops into crowds of demonstrators and entry into the UN-controlled buffer zone by demonstrators in a different light.

British High Commissioner to Cyprus David Madden told the press this evening after a meeting with Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides that his government ''is not putting all incidents on an equal footing'' and stressed the need ''to establish the facts and take up the correct action on the basis of those facts.''

The High Commissioner was referring to the killing of two Greek Cypriot demonstrators by Turkish occupation troops and the unauthorised entry into the buffer zone by Greek Cypriots protesting the continuing occupation of their country.

''Nobody is trying to equate actions which are not similar in nature,'' Madden said and added that Britain ''will take up this vigorously in the right places and at the right time.''

A protest will be made, he said, and will be followed up.

''I expect it will be discussed later today in New York at the UN Security Council,'' he added.

Calling for restraint, he said all attempts must be made to ensure the situation does not worsen.

He condemned today's killing of a Greek Cypriot demonstrator by Turkish troops and, referring to the wounding of two British UN peace-keepers by the Turks, he said it was an ''intolerable'' act.


[04] US Congressmen condemn killings - call for measures

New York, Aug 15 (CNA) -- Leading American Congressmen have expressed disgust and abhorrence at yesterday's killing of a Greek Cypriot demonstrator by Turkish troops in the UN-patrolled buffer zone.

They have also called for ''concerted and renewed'' efforts to end the Turkish occupation of Cyprus' northern areas and some have even advocated sanctions on Turkey.

The calls came after yesterday's incident in the buffer zone where Greek Cypriot demonstrators were protesting Sunday's savage killing of another Greek Cypriot in the buffer zone during an anti-occupation rally.

Congressman Ben Gilman, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, described the killings as ''abhorrent'' and called for a ''reduction of tensions and a prompt resumption of comprehensive talks to peacefully resolve the division of Cyprus.''

Congressman Lee Hamilton, ranking minority member of the same committee, called for ''concerted and top-level attention and the involvement of the US President''.

Congressman Robert Menendez, also a member of this Committee, said he would ''formally protest the barbaric acts of Turkish troops'' and urged his President to ''consider imposing sanctions on Turkey.'' He added the US must review its ties with Turkey.

Congressman John Porter expressed revulsion and condemnation at the killings and said they were ''yet another Turkish obstacle to peace and reunification of this divided island.''

Congressman Eliot Engel called for the ''demilitarisation'' of Cyprus, as proposed by President Glafcos Clerides.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney described the killings as ''brutal, senseless and vicious attacks.'' She added ''those responsible must be brought to justice.''

Other US Congressmen have stressed the need to end the illegal occupation of Cyprus.

These calls were echoed by Greek American leaders who condemned and deplored ''this unprecedented and indefensible action by the Turkish forces.''

Spiro Macris, President of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), called on the US administration to ''take action now and use every possible means to end Turkey's illegal and brutal occupation of Cyprus.''

Another AHEPA official, George Savidis, head of AHEPA's government affairs office in Washington, pointed out ''US congressional, administration and media support for Turkey is significantly eroding over the oil deal (signed with Iran) which places Ankara in direct opposition to the US policy of economically isolating Iran.''

Andrew Athens, President of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, in a letter to the UN Secretary-General urged him to do all he can ''to protect innocent civilians in Cyprus against these growing incidents of hostilities and human rights violations.''


[05] US Congressmen call for tough sanctions against Turkey

United Nations, Aug 16 (CNA) -- Five members of the US Congress, taking part in a press conference at the United Nations today, expressed outrage and revulsion at the killings of two Greek Cypriot youths by Turkish troops, on the UN buffer zone in Cyprus.

They called for a strong response from the Clinton Administration, including punitive sanctions against Turkey.

Exclaiming that Turkey was the ''first to spit in the eye of the United States by signing a 23 billion-dollar oil deal with Iran'', Congressman Eliot Engel said President Bill Clinton should impose sanctions against Turkey.

Although the oil deal has nothing to do with Cyprus, sanctions, Engel reasoned, would signal harsh disapproval of Turkish foreign policy, including the Cyprus issue.

This was echoed by the others, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who believed the Turkey-Iran agreement was a violation of the recently enacted Iran Oil Sanctions Act, which penalizes foreign entities and companies investing more than 40 million dollars in Iran's oil industry.

The Clinton Administration earlier this week criticized Turkey for signing the massive deal with Iran.

The deal, they said, was an especially egregious example of Turkish behaviour on the international scene that should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the 22-year-old tragedy of the Cyprus problem.

Videotapes of the killings in the buffer zone were screened at the press conference. Said Congresswoman Nita Lowey: ''This brutal act demonstrates again why we must cut aid to Turkey... and why the illegal occupation of Cyprus cannot continue''.

Congressman Robert Menendez said ''I intend to formally protest the barbaric acts of the Turkish troops''. He said he was especially incensed over Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller's current visit to occupied Cyprus and her statement that ''she wouldn't hesitate to use force again to protect the territorial integrity of the country, implying that northern Cyprus is Turkish''.

With ill-concealed anger, Menendez, who is a member of the House International Affairs Committee, said ''she never said to us when she appeared before Congress which has appropriated millions of dollars for Turkey''.

Congressman Thomas J. Manton, who like several of the others is a member of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, also condemned the Turkish government for the buffer zone atrocities and called for sanctions by Clinton.

All agreed that the incidents highlighted the urgent need to implement Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides' demilitarisation proposals.

Present with the Congressmen at the press conference were Cyprus' Ambassador to the UN, Nicos Agathocleous, Philip Christopher, President of the Justice for Cyprus Committee (PSEKA), and Peter Papanicolaou, President of the Cyprus Federation of America. The press conference was sponsored by the Cyprus Mission to the United Nations and organized by PSEKA.


[06] US critical of Ciller's statement

Washington, Aug 16 (CNA) -- The US has told Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller in no uncertain terms that sanctity of human life goes beyond protection of national flags, after Turkish occupation troops shot dead a Greek Cypriot demonstrator attempting to pull down the Turkish flag, in the UN buffer zone in Cyprus.

At the same time, the US has called for meetings between the military commanders to diffuse tension, a move being encouraged by US ambassador to Cyprus Kenneth Brill.

US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns was commenting on Ciller's statement after Wednesday's killing of Solomos Solomou that Turkey would break the hands of anybody trying to tear the Turkish flag.

''Frankly, protection of a flag cannot excuse the horrible events of August 14. Human life and the sanctity of human life are ultimately more important than protecting a piece of cloth,'', he told a press briefing in Washington today.

The spokesman also said that the US ''bows to no one in our respect and deference for national flags and this is a sentiment shared by countries all over the world.''

Expressing ''deep concern, shock and sadness'' over the recent violence, Burns said the killing of two Greek Cypriot civilians (the first one was beaten to death by Turkish extremists during Sunday's demonstrations) was ''unwarranted and unjustified.''

He advocated ''full accountability, first and foremost'' for those who are responsible for these acts and called on the Turkish Cypriots to ''adhere to internationally accepted norms.''

''We also strongly urge both sides to exercise restraint, to immediately take steps to reduce tensions and to restrain unauthorised entry into the UN buffer zone,'' he said.

Burns said the US has been in contact with ''all the parties concerned'' and Greece and Turkey.


[07] Five bullets hit Greek Cypriot protester

Nicosia, Aug 16 (CNA) -- A Greek Cypriot demonstrator, shot dead by Turkish occupation troops on Wednesday, was hit by five bullets in the head, heart, lungs and legs, coroners have said.

The post mortem on the body of Solomos Spyrou Solomou, 26, was carried out by two coroners, Panikos Stavrianos and Sophoclis Sophocleous, this afternoon in the presence of a UN doctor and lasted about four hours.

Doctos told the press afterwards, Solomou died instantly.

The funeral of the murdered Greek Cypriot got underway a few minutes ago and is officiated by the primate of the church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos.

The Cyprus government is represented by Health Minister Manolis Christophides and the Greek government by the deputy Education Minister Georgios Paschalides.

Police have taken strict security measures to prevent any recurrence of violent clashes and restrain people from entering the UN-controlled buffer zone.

All flags in the eastern town of Paralimni, where Solomou is being buried, fly at half mast and the town is clad in black, the colour of mourning in Cyprus.

Political leaders from Cyprus and Greece are also at the funeral.


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