New Protests in Memory of Isaac and Solomou

Bikers plan huge protest

By Mike Kelly

Cyprus Mail 21 May 1997

THE largest ever motorbike protest against the Turkish occupation is planned for this August, one year after Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou were murdered in Dherynia during a similar rally.

News of the demonstration was outlined yesterday by George Hadjicostas, President of the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation.

"We plan to have a chain of motorcycles stretching from Polis Chrysochou to Famagusta," he said.

While the details have yet to be finalised, Hadjicostas claimed they would have no trouble attracting the 12,000 bikers they estimate would be necessary to cover the 100-mile-plus stretch of the island.

"We expect to have the plan finalised by July," Hadjicostas said. "Obviously the exact details could change between now and when it is held."

While the precise date has not yet been fixed, the chain of bikers is expected to be the culmination of a three-day event to take place in the third week of August.

"We are inviting bikers from all over Europe to come. One thousand members of the FEM (Federation of European Motorcyclists) from Greece have said they will come."

Hadjicostas said Polis has been chosen as a starting point for the protest as it is a safe distance away from the buffer zone and there is a large camp site there where the participating bikers could stay.

He said the government has been made aware of the plan, although no official comment on the matter has been made yet. "They never react when you tell them, only later," he said.

Last August Tassos Isaac was beaten to death by members of the Turkish extremist Grey Wolves group after protests in the buffer zone following the cancellation of the final leg of a freedom ride from Berlin to Kyrenia, an event also organised by the federation.

Three days later Solomos Solomou was shot dead as he climbed a flagpole to pull down a Turkish flag in the buffer zone during protests after the funeral of his cousin Isaac.

Hadjicostas said the bikers had not contacted the families of the victims to let them know of their plans.

He said the Motorcycle Federation is hoping to raise £20,000 through the sale of tee-shirts to build a memorial to Solomou and Isaac and erect a building where visitors will be shown the horrific footage of their violent deaths.

Speaking yesterday about this summer's protest, Hadjicostas commented: "I hope the event will pass off peacefully but we need the help of the government to do that and from the police. Without their help we can't control so many bikers."

Catalogue of summer protests

By Jean Christou.

Cyprus Mail 6 Aug 1997

BIKERS will be among those gearing up for a round of memorials, commemorations and demonstrations to mark both the 23rd anniversary of the second wave of the Turkish invasion and those of murdered protestors Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou last August.

The demonstrations began on Monday with an anti-occupation protest by Famagusta refugees at the Ledra Palace.

Tonight, some 200-300 women from the Disy women's branch will hold a torchlight procession from Paralimni church to the town hall in memory of Tassos Isaac.

Isaac, 24, from Paralimni was beaten to death by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot counter protestors in the buffer zone at Dherynia on August 11 last year.

His death followed a series of protests after a huge demonstration organised by the bikers' federation was called off at the last minutes, resulting in clashes at the buffer zone village near occupied Famagusta.

On Sunday, hundreds of people are expected to attend a memorial service for Isaac at Paralimni church and at the local cemetery.

Bikers federation chairman George Hadjicostas told the Cyprus Mail yesterday around 50 to 60 of their members would attend the service and visit the cemetery on Sunday.

"We will meet up near the British bases and ride to Paralimni," he said.

Hadjicostas said the bikers had no intention of heading towards Dherynia afterwards. "We have talked with the police," he said. "We are responsible."

The family of Solomos Solomou, 26, shot by Turks at Dherynia after Isaac's funeral on August 14, have asked permission from the UN to place a wreath near where he died on August 14. They will be allowed to lay the wreath at the National Guard post, UN sources said yesterday.

On August 23, a huge demonstration will take place at the Dherynia checkpoint organised by Famagusta refugees. Security forces expect over 1,000 people to attend.

Another massive anti-occupation demonstration is planned for September when some 1,000 vehicles will make a bid to drive to the occupied areas.

Speedboat race to commemorate killed Cypriot peace activists

Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

"Cyprus is Near" is the slogan of a speedboat race from Athens to Cyprus, which began yesterday, to commemorate the deaths of Greek Cypriots Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, who were killed by a Turkish mob and Turkish occupation authorities in the neutral zone dividing the island last August.

The event, entitled "Kimon '97", was inaugurated by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who symbolically handed crews the "Athenian flame" from the Acropolis and soil from the nearby Pnyx Hill.

The first stop of participants will be the port of Paphos, where they are expected to arrive tomorrow, with further stops at Limassol and Larnaca on Sunday, before they end their journey at Paralimni, where the two activists are buried. There they will light the candles on their graves with the flame.

Well-known Greek singer Giorgos Dalaras will perform a concert as part of commemorative events, which Mr. Avramopoulos will attend.

President vows to continue struggle for freedom

Nicosia, Aug 23 (CNA) -- President of the Republic, Glafcos Clerides, has reminded the international community that the key to a settlement in Cyprus lies in Ankara and called on the community to seek ways to halt Ankara's tactics on Cyprus.

The President has also vowed not to relinquish his people's rights to a free, peaceful and united Cyprus and said he was certain that at the end of the day Cyprus will be vindicated, despite the many difficulties that may lie ahead.

"We shall not forget our occupied homeland, and we shall continue our struggle to rid our country from the Turkish occupation troops and settlers and reunite our island to ensure conditions of security, peace and prosperity for all Cypriots, Greek and Turkish Cypriots", the President said in his address at an anti-occupation rally, a few miles south of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, on the eastern coast.

Reiterating his pledge that he would not hand a divided Cyprus to future generations, the President noted "keen interest in efforts to solve the Cyprus question on the part of states which can influence Turkey's foreign policy."

"The key to the solution in Cyprus lies in Ankara and I hope the international community will, in the months ahead, take more decisive steps to prepare the next round of talks, expected to culminate after the presidential elections (in February next year)", the President said.

The world community and in particular the permanent members of the UN Security Council, he added, should seek and find ways "to end Turkey's blackmailing and delaying tactics in Cyprus, which are contrary to the interests of Cyprus and its people."

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side have been castigated by the President of the Security Council earlier this week for their tactics in the last round of talks in August, which ended inconclusively, because the Turkish Cypriot side refused to negotiate unless the European Union reversed its decision to start accession talks with Cyprus in 1998.

The rally, attended by the island's political leadership and foreign dignitaries, was organised by Famagusta Municipality to press on with its demand for the return of its lawful inhabitants to their homes, called for in UN Security Council resolution 550.

Famagusta Mayor, Andreas Pouyiouros, reiterated this demand at last night's rally and said the people of Famagusta will continue to struggle for justice and freedom.

The Mayor declared British MP, Eddy O'Hara, an honorary citizen of Famagusta. O'Hara, speaking in Greek, expressed the hope he would soon be able to "walk freely in his town, Famagusta."

House of Representatives President, Spyros Kyprianou, told the rally that unless Turkey is forced to abandon its expansionist designs against Cyprus, there will not be a reasonable settlement on the Cyprus problem.

He also called on the island's political leadership to draft out a future strategy to counteract Turkish intransigence.

Checkpoint protest economic blow to occupation regime

Nicosia, Sep 20 1997 (CNA) -- A sit-in, staged every weekend at the Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia, for a year now, has dissuaded about 100 thousand tourists from visiting the Turkish occupied areas of the Cyprus Republic.

The President of the anti-occupation movement (PAK) told CNA today that the protest has had grave economic consequences on the occupation regime, unilaterally established in 1983 in the areas Turkey occupies since its 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

This weekend marks one year since relatives of missing persons and other Greek Cypriots began the sit-in at the Ledra Palace checkpoint, the only place through which one can cross to the occupied areas, in a bid to inform tourists about Turkish atrocities in Cyprus.

It began in response to the killing of three Greek Cypriots last year by Turkish troops and extremists.

A concert, as well as memorial services for persons murdered and a prayer for the Greek Cypriots missing since the invasion, will be held this weekend.

Last year, on August 11, Tasos Isaak, 24, was beaten to death during a peaceful demonstration against the occupation. Also, Solomos Solomou, 26, was shot in cold blood three days later, during a demonstration held after Isaak's funeral in the eastern coast of the island.

A third Greek Cypriot, Petros Kakoulis, was shot a few weeks later while gathering snails.

Cyprus refugees plan protest rally next month

05:40 a.m. Oct 28, 1997 Eastern

NICOSIA, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Greek Cypriot refugees will attempt to return to their homes in Turkish-held northern Cyprus in a mass ``drive home'' march on November 15, organisers said on Tuesday.

The demonstration, along United Nations-controlled lines splitting through the island, will be held as Turkish Cypriots celebrate the 14th anniversary of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

``This demonstration will be peaceful. We have got nothing against the Turkish Cypriots, but we condemn the pseudo-state and the presence of the Turkish occupying forces,'' said Greek Cypriot organiser Aris Hadjipanayiotou.

The Turkish Cypriot administration is recognised only by Ankara, which invaded Cyprus in 1974 and keeps some 30,000 troops stationed in the north.

``Refugees will load their cars with their belongings to go to their homes. We will ask the United Nations to safeguard the right of refugees to return,'' Hadjipanayiotou, chairman of the Greek Cypriot anti-occupation movement PAK, told Reuters.

The eastern Mediterranean island's Greek and Turkish communities have been divided by a ceasefire line since the 1974 Turkish invasion that followed a Greek-inspired coup.

Around 180,000 Greek Cypriots were forced to move south as Turkish forces advanced in 1974.

The 180-km (116-mile) long buffer zone separating the two communities is manned by a United Nations peacekeeping force, first deployed on the island in 1964 shortly after the outbreak of violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

In a paralell move to the refugee march Greek Cypriot motorcyclists will hold a protest rally in the capital Nicosia on November 15, but away from the ceasefire line.

Two Greek Cypriots were killed in the buffer zone last year during clashes with Turks and Turkish Cypriots after a rally organised by motorcyclists, and a counter-demonstration on the other side.

``We have no intention of approaching the ceasefire line. Our demonstration will be symbolic and perfectly peaceful,'' said George Hadjicostas, president of the Cyprus federation of motorcyclists.

PAK, an all-party group, has staged weekly demonstrations at a U.N.-controlled Nicosia checkpoint between the two sides since late 1996 in an attempt to dissuade tourists from visiting the north.

Mass anti-occupation rallies to take place

Nicosia, Nov 10 (CNA) -- Two mass anti-occupation rallies will take place here on Saturday, November 15, which marks 14 years since the unilateral declaration of independence in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus.

The first is organised by the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation, marking one year after the murder of two Greek Cypriot youths, Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, by the Turkish terrorist group "Grey Wolves" and Turkish troops, during anti-occupation demonstrations in Dherynia.

Greek Cypriot and Greek Motorcyclists began their journey from Kastanies village, in Evros, on the Greco-Turkish border and will end at Eleftheria (Freedom) Square in central Nicosia, on Saturday.

Cyprus Motorcycle Federation President George Hadjicostas said today that the event's objective is to raise money to erect a monument in memory of Isaac and Solomou.

The second rally, which is called "The Return March", is organised by refugee associations.

The representative of the Coordinating Committee of the "Return March" Aris Hadjipanayiotou told a press conference today that the aim of the march is to declare once again the inalienable right of the refugee people to return to their homes and properties in the Turkish-occupied territory.

Some 200.000 Greek Cypriots (one third of the island's population) have been forcibly uprooted from their homes by the Turkish invasion troops, which have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Panikos Hadjiloizou said that all police units would be mobilised on Saturday to avert any incidents.

On November 15, 1983 the regime in the Turkish-occupied areas unilaterally declared independence recognised only by Turkey. UN Security Council resolution 541 (November 18, 1983) deplores the declaration and considers it "legally invalid".

"Return March" organisers ask UN chief for assistance

Nicosia, Nov 13 (CNA) -- Organisers of a "Return March" to the Turkish- occupied areas of Cyprus, scheduled for this Saturday, will hold Turkey responsible if they are prevented from returning to their homes.

In a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, the coordinating committee for the march appeals for his assistance and calls on the UN peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) to assist "in the exercise of our to return to our homes."

"UNFICYP troops must escort us on our way to ensure our safety," the letter added.

"After waiting vainly for more than 23 years for the international community to do something about the implementation of the various UN resolutions, calling for the institution of urgent measures for the voluntary return of the refugees to their homes in safety, we decided we cannot wait any longer."

The letter said "if we are prevented from returning, then this action must emanate only from the Turkish occupation troops" and should therefore be attributed to Turkey "as the party solely responsible."

The march will be held on Saturday, November 15, to protest the 14th anniversary since the unilateral declaration of the pseudostate in the areas occupied by Turkey since it invaded the island in 1974. The puppet regime is recognised only by Turkey.

UN Security Council resolution 541, adopted November 1983, considered the declaration of the pseudostate as "legally invalid" and "calls upon all states not to recognise any Cypriot state other than the Republic of Cyprus."

Some 200.000 Greek Cypriots were forced to flee their homes after the Turkish invasion.

The organisers of the march have called on refugees to load their cars with their belongings to return home and have pledged it would be peaceful.

Cypriot youth condemn pseudostate's existence

Nicosia, Nov 14 (CNA) -- Thousands of Greek Cypriot students took today to the streets of the divided capital Nicosia to protest the 14th anniversary of the illegal declaration of the so-called state in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus.

The students gathered this morning at Nicosia's central Eleftheria (Freedom) Square.

Later they marched towards the nearby Ledra Palace hotel check-point, near the UN-controlled buffer zone that leaves Nicosia the last divided capital in the world.

Speakers from students' unions denounced the unilateral declaration of independence in the occupied areas of November 15, 1983, recognised only by Turkey.

They demanded the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops and settlers from the island and a just and viable solution to the protracted Cyprus problem, securing the return of refugees to their homes.

Police have taken strict security measures to avert any incidents. The youth are staging a sit-in protest next to the cease-fire line's barbed wires. An anti-occupation concert is being held.

Check-points on both sides of the divide have been closed. The UN has deplored the unilateral declaration of independence and called on all states not to recognise the self-styled entity.

At the same time, the UN has urged all states "not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity."

Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

Cyprus protests at 14th anniversary of declaration of illegal "Turkish Cypriot state".

14 November 1997

The 14th anniverary of the illegal proclamation of the secessionist "pseudo Turkish Cypriot state" on November 15, 1983, is being protested in Cyprus by students and refugee organisations.

Police in co-operation with the National Guard, have taken precautionary measures, including cordoning off sensitive areas to ensure that no incidents occur during the protests.

The demonstrations are being coupled with the sumbission of protest notes by the various groups to the UN Secretary-General and to the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, denouncing the continuing toleration of the existence of the illegal state.

Pupils and students staged an all-night peacefull vigil at the Ledra Palace con controlled checkpoint on Thursday night (13.11.97), launching a three- day programme of protests.

This is the first time that all the student groups have cooperated in a joint effort, said Loizos Constantinou, the president of the POFNE student federation.

Secondary school pupils and college students staged a joing protest march today Friday, 14.11.97, from Eleftheria Square to the Ledra Palace checkpoint. Constantinou said student representatives will be cooperating with the police to ensure the demonstration remains peaceful, in response to an appeal by President Clerides.

Cypriot students abroad will also stage protests in various cities. Those in Lodnon will join a protest march to the Turkish embassy organised by the Cypriot Association of Great Britain.

On the home front pupils of the Higher Technical Institute staged a "Drive to Freedom" motorcade all over the free areas of the island yesterday. Other college students were bussed out to the various monuments of those killed during the invasion and occupation, where they laid wreaths.

President Clerides will address the Coordinating Committee of Associations and Organisations for the Kyrenia Area at a protest gathering at the Falcon School in Nicosia on Friday (14.11.97) evening.

In Greece, motorbikers began a symbolic drive a week ago from Greece's northern borders with Turkey, down to Athens, ending on Friday in Eleftheria Square in Nicosia.

The government has urged all groups to conduct themselves peacefully and President Clerides said Greek Cypriots have the right to express their feelings at the injustice done to them but their acts should not give rise to violent incidents which may harm the cause of Cyprus.

The unilateral declaration of the illegal "Turkish Cypriot State" in 1983 was condemned by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 541 which stated it "considers the declaration legally invalid and calls for its withdrawal".

FOCUS-Greek Cypriots protest division of Cyprus

By Michele Kambas

NICOSIA, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Greek Cypriot refugees rallied peacefully in Nicosia on Saturday, demanding to return to their homes in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

Forming a convoy of cars and motorcycles, about 1,000 demonstrators jingling keys of their homes and carrying pictures of missing persons gathered at the checkpoint of Mia Milia in eastern Nicosia.

Many of them, in trucks laden with mattresses, battered suitcases and baby cribs left about an hour later after confronting rows of barbed wire blocking access.

Protests continued late into the afternoon with a rally of some 250 motorcyclists in the capital.

At the Mia Milia checkpoint Cyprus police deployed some 400 officers, many of them in riot gear, to prevent demonstrators from trying to reach the U.N.-controlled buffer zone which separates the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

``My only desire is to return to my home,'' said Eleni Foka, 50, a Greek Cypriot from the Turkish-held village of Ayia Triada in the northeast of the island.

``I left for medical treatment on May 26 (this year) and the Turks have not allowed me to return to my home.'' Foka worked as a school teacher for a small group of Greek Cypriots still living in the north.

Small groups of protesters, including a couple with a young child, managed to break through police lines and dashed towards the buffer zone, but were caught and escorted back to the main group of demonstrators. Police said six people were detained.

Protesters chanted and waved the flags of Cyprus and Greece and played Greek music.

``We are appealing to the U.N. secretary-general to assist us to return to our homes,'' said organiser Aris Hajipanayiotou.

The demonstration came as Turkish Cypriots celebrated the 14th anniversary of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognised only by Turkey.

A military parade was held in the Turkish-populated areas of the divided capital and signs flew saying ``TRNC-Turkey forever'' and ``the Turkish army is assurance of peace.''

Some 30,000 Turkish troops are stationed in the north.

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who ordered the Turkish landing in Cyprus in 1974, attended the celebrations.

``You won your freedom not 14 years ago but 33 years ago,'' he said in a statement. ``There are those who cannot digest your freedom but they will be used to this because TRNC in an irreversible reality.''

Some 1,200 peacekeepers are deployed in Cyprus, divided since Turkey invaded in 1974 in response to a brief coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece. The invasion displaced 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes in the north.

A small army of mediators have failed to break ground in efforts to solve the Cyprus dispute. Attempts to break the logjam have gained added urgency with accession talks the island is due to start with the European Union early next year.

The two sides have agreed in principle the solution should be based on a federation, but a consensus has not been received on specifics.

``A just solution to the Cyprus problem will safeguard the unity and security of a demilitarised Federal Cyprus Republic, where all human rights will be safeguarded,'' Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said in a public address.