Friday, August 5, 2011

Multi-dimensional crisis in Cyprus: Christofias's government bears total responsibility for the tragedy

by Nikolas Stylianou
Research Associate & Security Analyst
Research Institute for European and American Studies,

On the July 11th a tragic incident took place at the Navy Base of Mari (Limassol). 98 containers of gunpowder, explosives, rockets and guns exploded resulting to the death of 13 people from the ranks of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Cyprus and the Cyprus Fire Service.

The current article aims to highlight the background of the catastrophe and underline the personal responsibilities of the President of Cyprus, Mr. Demetris Christofias, the Minister of Defense, Costas Papacostas as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcos Kyprianou.

Background of the Tragedy  
The Cypriot-flagged ship “Monchegorsk”, started its journey from Iran with Syria as its final destination. USS San Antonio boarded the ship which was ordered to port in Cyprus where Cypriot authorities, in collaboration with UN experts found 1,980 boxes of powder for 130mm guns and 1,320 cases of powder and powder pellets for 125mm guns, according to a Cypriot government report. Additionally, anti-tank rockets used at the Russian-made Cornet anti-tank complexes used by Hezbollah, were found on the afore-mentioned cargo. Under the Resolutions 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) of the Security Council of the United Nations, arms exports from Iran are strictly prohibited. The 98 containers were stored at the National Guard’s Navy Base at Mari (Limassol) and remained there for 30 months despite the warnings from the United Nations Sanctions Committees which had been warning the Cypriot government that the exposure of the containers to extreme weather conditions over extended period of time might have been extremely dangerous. Unfortunately the government paid no attention to the warnings.

To continue with, it needs to be mentioned that the 98 containers were stored right next to the Vasilikos Power Station, the largest in Cyprus. Consequently, the explosion resulted to the wrecking of the Power Station and thus causing major blackouts all over the island.

Chronicle of a Death foretold
This section of my analysis will address the main key-points that led us to the July 11th catastrophe:

- The United Nations Sanctions Committee, as well as Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom, would repeatedly ask the government of Cyprus to deliver the containers to a country, member-state of the United Nations, which held the expertise and experience to destroy and/or neutralize the content – The government of Cyprus remained indifferent to the suggestions of the United Nations and the afore-mentioned countries.

- The government of Cyprus would fear severe diplomatic retaliation from Syria and Iran as a response to the retention of the containers and thus did absolutely nothing towards the destruction/neutralization of the containing material.

- The leadership of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Cyprus would express its deep concerns over the Navy Base security due to the possible instability of the containing military material that would be exposed to extreme weather conditions over an extended period of time. President Christofias’ decision was to keep hold of the material due to “political reasons”. Despite the deep concerns on behalf of the Ministry of Defense as well as the leadership of the National Guard, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcos Kyprianou himself as well as the executive branch of the Republic would agree entirely over the storage of the military material at the Navy Base at Mari.

Questions that demand answers
A number of questions arise in regards to the way that the government of Cyprus handled the situation over the past 30 months:

- Why didn’t the government pay attention to the recommendations of the state’s Auditor General / Chief of the National Guard / Commander of the Navy concerning the extrication of the containing material as well as its conveyance to a country which had previous expertise in conventional arms destruction/neutralization?

- Why wouldn’t the government (especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Ministry of Defense) insist on the immediate transportation of the hazardous material to a third country?

- Why didn’t the government accept the U.S demand which provided for the transportation and controlled destruction of the hazardous material to Malta or to another base which comes under the United States European Command (EUCOM)?

- Why didn’t the government ask for the assistance of the EU competent services concerning the handling of the situation especially when the government was in knowledge that it had neither the expertise nor the experience to handle the situation?

- Why doesn’t the President of Cyprus, Mr. Demetris Christofias assume full responsibility for the tragic incident and the death of 13 people since he was in full knowledge (through his Diplomatic Office and specifically the Ambassador Leonidas Pantelides?

- Why would the resigned Minister of Defense, Costas Papacostas claim that the military material would be safe to store “even in a residential area” and plus, next to the largest Power Supply Station of the Republic?

The government must resign and declare early elections. The handling of the situation by the government of Mr. Demetris Christofias was leniently deplorable. The government has exhibited criminal negligence which led to the death of 13 people, dozens of injured, the wrecking of the largest Power Station on the island as well as the extended psychological damage suffered by the Cyprus people.

- The drastic cuts in defense budget especially over the last three years have led to the wrecking of the military security infrastructure, as well as the maintenance of the existing military hardware and material.

- Tens of thousands of Cypriot people went out on the streets protesting against the government asking for its resignation. It is worth noting that despite the fact that one week has passed since the explosion and yet, the government has not apologized to the families of the victims.

Larnaca: Important finds at Late Bronze Age site

Whatever they say, whatever they do, no matter how much they alter history to fit their political prejudices, the land of Cyprus keeps giving out evidence of the centuries-old Greekness of this island.

A LARGE building dating as far back as 1200 BC and a female goddess figurine were only some of the fascinating finds following five-week long excavations at the Late Bronze harbour city of Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca.

Inside the 30 by 20m building were both living and working spaces containing spindle whorls and loom weights, which indicate the production of textiles, as well as a plethora of high-quality pottery imported mainly from the Mycenaean world. Jugs, bowls and jars were among the pottery uncovered.

“It’s evidence of the tight contact with the Greek mainland,” said Professor Peter M. Fischer of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, who headed the excavations, referring to the contents of the building.
The excavations took place from April to May.

The Mycenaean civilisation dates from 1600 to 1100 B.C, during the late Bronze Age in Greece and the Greek archipelago.

“The pottery is Mycenaean therefore imported,” Fischer confirmed stressing that its importance lies in the fact that it is not locally made but was very popular in Cyprus at the time.

According to Fischer some of the findings were imported from Egypt. This was made clear in some of the findings as they were seen to have Egyptian traits.

Questions have been raised as to the origins of some other important findings such as a figurine of a female goddess. “I guess it was produced in Cyprus, we’re not sure though due to its Egyptian traits,” said Fischer adding that it was used as a pendant.

Another significant find was a haematite cylinder seal which Fischer is convinced is Cypriot as another one was found at Kition. “These are used as a kind of stamp and can be put in dye to make a print and it is also a kind of identity card for a person,” said Fischer.

The assemblage also includes locally produced hand-made White Slip bowls and jugs which were exported to Egypt and Greece among other nearby areas, which Fischer explained they were so skilled at hand-making looked wheel made. White Slip is a type of pottery decorated with bright colours and patterns.

The Late Bronze Age harbour city is one of the biggest in Cyprus at 25 hectares, according to Fischer, dating between the 12th and 13th centuries BC.  There were also three occupational layers, meaning that the city was destroyed twice, however the foundations of the city go even further back.

Fischer said that he would like to come back as he would be interested in digging further down to see when the city was founded.

Meanwhile, archaeological excavations at the Bronze Age site of Politiko-Troullia uncovered a 40cm stone plank figure, which is female. Its highly abstract form is typical of Cypriot plank figurines, which are normally ceramic and much smaller. The deposits reach up to 4m below the modern surface, making this one of the most deeply stratified sites on the island.

source: 'Cyprus Mail' 05 August 2011, Natalie Hami

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Turkish soldiers opened fire against Greek-Cypriot fishermen in Famagusta area

Yesterday afternoon two Greek Cypriot fishermen sailed their boat near Kappari area in the free areas of Famagusta (South-East of: Cyprus) when Turkish soldiers from the occupied area fired at them six shots forcing them to leave.

This was not the first time an incident like this happened, where the Turkish troops fire against innocent fishermen trying to make their living. Also few months ago a Turkish vessel unsuccessfully attempted to sink a fishing boat.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and until today the Turkish army illegally occupies the northern part of Cyprus, implementing a policy of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

After Kenya's Mau-Mau, Greek Cypriot EOKA fighters to sue Brits over torture

VETERAN EOKA members are planning lawsuits against British authorities after the UK High Court revealed secret foreign office files detailing the systematic torture of Kenyans in the 1950s.

The court released the files after four elderly Kenyans sued the British government for their brutal suppression of Mau-Mau rebels, and after a Times investigation the EOKA Veteran’s Association is following suit.
The association claims 14 Cypriots died and hundreds more could have been tortured during interrogations by the British during the 1955-1959 armed struggle against colonial rule. Two of those who died during interrogation were 17.

It is understood that the British government has up to 9,000 documents from 37 colonial administrations, including Cyprus, and the veterans association’s lawyer is now in communication with a London law office.
Former EOKA leader and association head Thassos Sophocleus, 78, told the Times: “We will pursue cases for all those who were tortured. It could be hundreds.”

Sophocleus said: “The truth is we have a similar case to the Kenyans. We are not doing this for the money. It is for the satisfaction of presenting to the international community what the British did to us...instead of giving us our freedom, they tortured and killed us.”

The Times said the existence of Foreign Office files detailing Britain’s brutal response to anti-colonial struggles emerged this month, and that British and Cypriot accounts from the same time document numerous cases of torture on the island.

For example, the Times said, a post-mortem examination on one of the 14 who died in custody, Andreas Panayiotou, 26, found that he had been beaten to death. British police, however, claimed that he had died trying to escape custody: a common cover-up, EOKA veterans say.

Sophocleus, who led a contingent of guerrillas in the Pentadactylos mountains at the age of 24, told the Times that he was tortured for 16 days after his arrest in 1956.

He alleges that his back was flayed with a rope embedded with iron shards and that he was kicked in the head, body and testicles.

Sophocleus was sentenced to life imprisonment for possessing firearms but was released when Cyprus won independence in 1960.

Source: Cyprus Mail, 14 April 2011, Patrick Dewhurst

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Hiding behind legal contortions, the government is refusing to apologise or pay compensation for appalling abuses done in the name of and with the knowledge of the British state, with the intent of preserving a system of racist privilege for white settlers in the east African colony.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission says about 160,000 black people were held in dire conditions in camps run by the British colonial authorities and tens of thousands were tortured to get them to renounce their oath to the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule in the 1950s.

The Foreign Office doesn't deny there was torture and killings in the camps. How could it? Many of the abuses are documented in files discovered in its own archives. They including a telegram from the British governor of Kenya, Sir Evelyn Baring, documenting torture allegations against colonial district officers including "the burning alive of detainees".

Instead the Foreign Office is deploying an array of legal barriers to argue that it is not required to pay compensation. Among the arguments is that Britain's responsibility for its colonial crimes ceased to exist when Kenya became independent in 1963 – a legal convenience that apparently does not apply in Libya where Britain has willed it that responsibility for Gaddafi's crimes has been transferred to the people as a whole and their representatives in the struggle for freedom.

The Foreign Office also argues that these crimes are historic. But they are not history to those who live with the consequences, including the four claimants at the high court such as Ndiku Mutua and Paulo Nzili, who say they were castrated in a British camp. Or to Jane Muthoni Mara who I spoke to in Nairobi several years ago and who described to me how as a 15-year-old she was arrested as a Mau Mau spy and, among other things, tortured under the supervision of a British army officer by being raped with a bottle filled with hot water.

Other prisoners told of being beaten, starved, anally raped and flogged. The official documents found at the Foreign Office acknowledge that prisoners were used as forced labour. Some detainees were tortured so badly they died.

More than 1,000 Kenyan men met their death at the end of a hangman's noose, many after confessions they said were tortured from them.

All of this led a Kenyan colonial judge, Arthur Cram, who was appointed to examine the role of British officials in torture and killings, to draw comparisons with infamous Nazi camps.

"They [British colonial officials] not only knew of the shocking floggings that went on in this Kenya Nordhausen, or Mathausen [sic], but must be taken to be the men who were said to have carried them out. From the brutalising of flogging it is only a step to taking life without qualm," he said in his judgment.

Germany is still apologising and paying compensation for the crimes of the Nazi state in Nordhausen and Mauthausen. It has not tried to say that responsibility dissolved with the collapse of the Third Reich.

Full article: Guardian 08/04/2011 "Torture and killing in Kenya – Britain's double standards", Chris McGreal

Friday, March 4, 2011

Greek-Cypriot refugees reach out to their Turkish-Cypriot compatriots: Together, we can end Turkish occupation!

Turkish-Cypriots holding the flags of the Republic of Cyprus, a clear act of defiance of Turkish, military occupation. The message is clear: Turkey has to get out, the Turkish-Cypriots want to live in peace with their Greek-Cypriot compatriots. 


"ADOULOTI KERINIA", 7 Agiou Ioannou, Strovolos, P.O. Box 23940, 1687, Nicosia - Cyprus
Tel 22-668464, fax 22-668882
In view of the Turkish Cypriot demonstration today against Turkey in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot compatriots,

We have been following with interest your reaction against the Turkish hegemony which is strangling the Turkish Cypriot identity and oppressing the Turkish Cypriot community.

We agree with the conclusion arrived at, by the Turkish Cypriot Secretary of the Teachers Union of Elementary Schools, particularly to his reference that the strangling of the Turkish Cypriot identity and the oppression of the Turkish Cypriot community goes back to the 1960s, during which period, Turkey forced the Turkish Cypriots to stop their co-habitation with the Greek Cypriots and began to cultivate the division and the separation on the basis of race and religion.

It was contemptible for our silent majorities of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to allow at the time foreign interests and foreign interventions to lead us to the situation we face today. At this moment the obstacle to the restoration of constitutional order in Cyprus, as you have realised and denounce with your mobilisations, is Turkey, which occupies part of the Republic of Cyprus. We call upon you to respond to a joint, general mobilisation for the termination of the Turkish occupation and its consequences. It is only with a common struggle of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots against the Turkish occupation with the following objectives, that your mobilisations will have some value and prospect:

· To get rid of the Turkish continued occupation with the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation forces.

· To get rid of the Turks and other settlers with their return back to Turkey.

· To liberate our common homeland. The solution of Bizonal Bicommunal Federation does not provide for the liberation of our land. It rewards the occupation, rewards TMT and its activities that had as their common aim our geographical separation.

· For all of us, you and we, to return to our homes and properties and with all of our Human Rights fully restored without limitations and restrictions.

· Once this is achieved,  all of us, together, being wiser of past events, to shape the Constitutional structure of our European country, on the basis of democratic principles and values, respecting each other and taking into consideration both our race and national origin as well as our religion.

It is only under these conditions that we will safeguard our identity.

With the solution of Bizonal Bicommunal Federation both our identities will have an expiry date.


We do not want to believe that you will insist or that you will allow, for the creation of a Turkish state built on our properties and to expect at the same time  that peace and normal life can be build on such an embezzlement.

Refugee Association Adouloti Kyrenia.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Boy George remembers Cyprus, Archbishop Dimitrios forgets

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." –Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, former inmate at Auschwitz, author of “Night”.

Gilt-edged occasion: Boy George and composer John Themis with the token of gratitude given them by the Church of Cyprus after the return of the icon, held by an unnamed official with Bishop Porfyrios [photo by 'Daily Mail' 21/01/2011]

For Immediate Release: January 23, 2011

When talking about the Turkish invasion and ongoing occupation of Cyprus and its denial, I am reminded of what   Elie Wiesel once said "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."  In the upcoming days Archbishop Dimitrios as spiritual leader of some 3 million Greek Americans will be attending the annual Holocaust Remembrance Days at the UN in New York and at the marbled halls of the Consulate General of Greece in New York, to make his annual remarks about the human struggle to remember a religious minority that was tormented in a death camp in Poland called Auschwitz and to mark its liberation close to seventy years ago. Meanwhile, another religious minority, not seventy years ago, but today, the Greek Cypriots of occupied Cyprus this past Christmas had Christmas liturgy denied to them, when the brutal tormentors who have raped, massacred and diminished a population in a slow motion Holocaust in Karpasia shut down their few remaining churches on Christmas day. These people have seen their cemeteries desecrated, their churches turned into houses of prostitution and their religious and cultural artifacts stolen by the tormentors and sold on the black markets to the highest bidders.

This week a glimmer of hope was raised for our people when world reknown celebrity Boy  George returned a stolen icon and made press around the world by  breaking the silence and condemning the Turkish occupation of Cyprus . This week Archbishop Dimitrios has a choice: to continue to remain silent about those who awarded the Turkish Minister and racist Bagis, and thus try to remain a silent neutral, or to be a good man and to help the tormented. We must continue this week to send protest letters to Archbishop Dimitrios to remind him to find it in his heart to remember Cyprus, for the sake of our people Archbishop Dimitrios "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

This week is filled with irony whilst Boy George is returning the stolen icon and the Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus is honored by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russians Kyrillos for his efforts with the Prize of the International Foundation for the unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, the Patriarchate and his Archons headed by Archbishop Demetrios honored racist Bagis who does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and whose country is responsible for the desecration of our occupied churches and violations of religious freedom of our enclaved Greek Cypriots.

Below follows  A Big Thank You to Boy George from distinguished Greek-Cypriot journalist and researcher Fanoulla Argyrou and related news links of interest. Please forward to all you media contacts.

--Nikolaos Taneris, Press officer, Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)

A big thank you to Boy George

The news that popular singer Boy George has returned a looted icon he had in his possession after buying it in good faith from a shop in King’s Road in London almost 26 years ago, after being informed by the Church of Cyprus of its real origin and fate, is highly appreciated by the Greek nation. George’s decision to return the looted precious icon to the Church of Cyprus has once again brought to the front line news the barbaric Turkish crimes committed since and after the two bloody Turkish invasions of Cyprus in 1974.

A bulk of barbaric crimes, murders, rapes,  bombardment and executions in cold blood also included  the destruction and looting of hundreds of Christian churches and religious places in occupied Cyprus where in the process thousands of priceless icons and other religious artefacts have been systematically looted. And smuggled out of the island ruthlessly sold in the black market. They even tried to sell some of these in reputable Auction Houses.

Readers are referred to “The Guardian” report “The rape of northern Cyprus ”, of 6th May 1976 which published horrific details of the desecration, looting and vandalism of our occupied churches in the occupied by Turkey part of Cyprus . The article referred to an ITV (Independent Television) documentary of those days. It said “As UNESCO suppressed an expert report on Turkish treatment of the churches of northern Cyprus , a TV team slipped away from surveillance and brought back grim evidence of looting and desecration for ITV’s This Week Tonight, Thames TV correspondent John Fielding reports…”

Readers are also referred to Michalle A Vu’s report published in “The Christian Post”, 28 April 2008 titled “The last church standing in occupied Cyprus ”. The following are extracts:  “… According to the Republic of Cyprus , in the span of three decades under Turkish control, more than 530 churches and monasteries have been pillaged, vandalized, or destroyed in the occupied areas. “ I cannot say that the destruction of churches is encouraged openly by the Turkish government. All I can say is that it is taking place in the area that is under direct control of the Turkish military, and I leave you to make your own conclusions from that “. (Statement by Andreas Kakouris ex Cyprus Ambassador to the United States to CHRISTIAN POST. See “Bloody Truth” pages 360-365 and downloading of the whole book  is absolutely free).

According to statistics of the Republic of Cyprus : “… About 133 churches, chapels and monasteries have been converted to military storage facilities, stables and night-clubs, a further number of 78 churches have been converted to mosques, Agia Anastasia church, in occupied Lapithos, was converted into a casino hotel, while Sourp Magar Armenian monastery, founded in the medieval period, was converted into a Cafeteria…” (Christian Post).

“This is not a Muslim-Christian issue… I don’t think the Cyprus problem has ever been a religious issue between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots… If the Turkish government hadn’t given the ‘green light’ on the destruction of churches and artefacts, they have not given the ‘red light’ either…So it is, either directly taking place or with their blind eye or whatever you want to call it. But they are responsible for what is taking place there”. (Andreas Kakouris to Christian Post. See “Bloody Truth” pages 360 – 365).

Looting and Smuggling

“Michael Van Rijn, the self-confessed art smuggler who worked undercover for Scotland Yard, has never been shy about his dubious activities in the art world. His claims about the millions he made through his links with the Yard are typical of his passion for causing embarrassment… Michael Van Rijn plans to use his website to reveal years of undercover operations for Scotland Yard and others. He wants his disclosures to embarrass the British Museum , Sotheyby’s, Christies and other leading art dealers as well as the security services.… A dentist’s son from Amsterdam , who owns several houses around the world,  admits smuggling icons out of Russia , Cyprus , Greece and elsewhere. “ I have made millions…”, wrote “The Times” of London on 29 January 1990.

Michael van Rijn, a self confessed art smuggler indeed… has also been a very close associate of A. Dikmen, the Turkish smuggler, who stole the famous Kanakaria frescoes from occupied Lithrangomi in Cyprus . In his autobiography Michael van Rijn describes vividly how large amounts of antiquities from occupied Cyprus were loaded on vehicles of the Finnish UN contingent in Cyprus and transferred  to the free part of the Republic of Cyprus from where they were, in the process smuggled out of the island (After a long and hard legal battle led by the Church of Cyprus (court case took place in America) the latter won the return of the Kanakaria frescoes to Cyprus…”. (All these have been covered in detail in my book (but unfortunately exhausted only to be found in libraries) “Conspiracy or Blunder?” issued in Nicosia 2000 published by Refugee Association “Adouloti Kyrenia”).

“ … Haven’t you heard that the 2000 year old Christchurch in Cyprus , St. Barnabas Church, has been robbed? Haven’t you heard that 35 icons were stolen, 11 of them were found in Kythrea, that 11 were retrieved in Ankara airport while being smuggled out and that the rest are lost? Haven’t you heard what’s happening in Varosia ( Famagusta )? Haven’t you heard that figurines belonging to the Catholic period and kept in the Archaelogical Museum have been stolen and smuggled to London ?

What about the icons in the other churches: the mosaics, the private collections the illegal digs? Haven’t you heard of these? Why have they stopped the digs started before 1974 at the city of Gastria , which belongs to the geometric age? Do you know what has happened since then? The “government” (refers to the occupied regime) has issued permits  to certain businessmen from Turkey to set up a gypsum factory there. The tombs were destroyed and plundered”. (‘Perishing Cyprus in the Turkish Cypriot Review’ by Mehmet Yasin. ‘ Olay’ April 1982 – from Public and Information Office publication “They make a desert and they call it peace”). (Quoted in my book “Conspiracy or Blunder?” pages 93 – 96).

A big thank you to Boy George who through his commendable decision to return the stolen icon to the Church of Cyprus (obviously not able to return it to the actual Church of origin due to the continued Turkish invasion and occupation of that part of our homeland) has offered immense service to our cause in promoting to the eyes of the world the ongoing Turkish religious crimes committed in Cyprus since 1974…

God Bless you George.

Fanoulla Argyrou


Related News Links of interest:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Protest award to racist Turk Minister Egemen Bagis

For Immediate Release: January 5, 2011
by Cyprus Action Network of America:

CURRENT STATUS:  The current, Minister for European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator of the Republic of Turkey , the racist Mr. Egemen Bagis was awarded by the  “Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate” this Greek-American group representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate awarded the Turkish official “commending him for his efforts on behalf of religious minorities in Turkey .”

The award was bestowed on the representative of criminal Turkey in Brussels on November 16-17, 2010 days before the EU assessment on Turkey’s human rights record and was attended by Archbishop Dimitrios of America and Greek-Cypriot immigrant Panicos “Peter” Papanicolaou the “Supreme President” of the Cyprus Federation of America. Mr. Papanicolaou walked out of the room in protest during the honoring.
The Greek-American organized conference in Brussels the capital of the EU was titled, ironically “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: TURKEY ’S BRIDGE TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: INTERNATIONAL ARCHON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM CONFERENCE”

For Greeks to bestow an award commending Mr. Egemen Bagis for “religious freedom” is to make a mockery of all that religious freedom and human rights stand for, it's akin to Jews awarding a Nazi Minister “commending him for his efforts on behalf of religious minorities in Hitler’s Germany .” 

Mr. Egeman Bagis, 39, is one of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's closest advisors. Since 2009, he has served as Turkey 's Minister for European Union Affairs and is the country's chief negotiator in EU accession talks.  Bagis refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus . In a very recent statement ( 6.1.2011) provocatively said the government of Cyprus “does not constitute a state” and that Turkey says to the world that the Greek Cypriots “ cannot constitute a state, not even a race”!. Bagis  repeatedly and in detail publicly denied Turkey ’s responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, in a recent interview to Spiegel in Germany he made reference to the possibility of throwing Americans off of Incirlik airbase in Turkey in retaliation for any possible recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the US Congress. When the parliament of Sweden in March 2010 recognized that  Armenians, Assyrians,Syrians, Chaldeans and Pontic Greeks - had suffered genocide, Bagis with bravado expressed “disappointment” and threatened Sweden with economic and diplomatic retaliation for basically recognizing also the truth of the genocide of Pontic Greeks by criminal Turkey. Bagis was quoted in the Turkish Press in calling for efforts in Sweden against the recognition of the resolution that recognized the genocide of Pontic Greeks, the Turkish Cumhuriyet cited Bagis, the Turkish diplomat reminded what happened in Swedish parliament: “Shame on us what happened in Swedish Parliament. Our brothers for whom Turks cast ballots passed the resolution which smeared us. It’s unacceptable.”  

During Christmas liturgy in occupied Cyprus Turkish occupation forces desecrated  Greek Cypriot churches by attacking Priests during Christmas liturgy and forcing Greek-Cypriot worshipers out of their churches ultimately padlocking shut the church on Christmas Day. These barbaric crimes against religious freedom by Turkey in occupied Cyprus have been answered by official letters of protest  and condemnation by the Cyprus Government, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs,the Archbishop of Cyprus, by European politicians and numerous other organisations worldwide but also by none other than the “Archons” the same group that awarded the Turk Bagis in a press release on their site titled “Order of St. Andrew Condemns Religious Freedom Violations in the northern Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus” (1-4-2011)

Protests to Turkey’s crimes against religious freedom on Christmas Day in occupied Cyprus also came from The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in its report titled “Cyprus: USCIRF Faults Turkish Cypriot Authorities for Closing Church on Christmas” (1-3-2011)

In the wake of these Turkish Crimes against Religious Freedom , Mr. Bagis in recent days has made racist statements to the Turkish Press, openly denying the existence of the Greek-Cypriot nation, as well as calling for the EU to “punish” Greek-Cypriots following the next round of negotiations if the “spoiled Greek-Cypriots “ again say no to Turkish demands. These remarks together with his history of Genocide denial  shows that Mr. Bagis is an anti-Greek-Cypriot racist emboldened by Turkey’s cycle of impunity for its past crimes of Genocide and its ongoing HOLOCAUST of the Greek-Cypriots that began on July 20, 1974.

The story of how the Archons bestowed an award for religious freedom to the racist Turkish Minister Bagis would have basically gone by unnoticed, except by the Turkish  press, had it not been for a report in the Greek language daily Ethnikos Kirix, A FULL MONTH AFTER THE AWARD, the story came out on Ethnikos Kirix on December 23rd, two  days before Christmas Day, and was followed up with stories in the Greek-Cypriot dailies Simierini and Phileleftheros. Widely quoted in this late story is the protest of Mr. Philip Christopher President of PSEKA and Panicos “Peter” Papanicolaou the Supreme President of Cyprus Federation of America.  Had it not been for the Ethnikos Kirix and the follow up press in Cyprus , this story would have remained in the ghetto of Astoria and the four walls of Cyprus , reported during Christmas week when most news items are quickly not spotlighted. This week  distinguished Greek-Cypriot author and researcher Fanoulla Argyrou discussed this story on major Greek-Cypriot media, and wrote about it in London community newspapers TA NEA and Eleftheria, the story was also posted on the popular human rights website Agora-dialogue.

We still do not know why it took the officials over a month to report this case through Ethnikos Kirix and why a strong and public protest was not delivered there and then in Brussels together with the walk out of the room. But we agree with Philip Christopher’s demand as quoted in Ethnikos Kirix:

The President of the International Coordinating Committee for Justice for Cyprus Mr. Philip Christopher in a statement to the “National Herald” (23 December 2010) said: “We ask of Archbishop Dimitrios and the board of the Archons of the EP to tell us who and with what criteria come up with Awarding  Minister of Turkey , Egmen Bagis”. Mr. Christopher also expressed his strong disapproval to this decision. 

Thus far there is no explanation for who made the decision, but sources have informed us that a “a wealthy powerful man who can move waves in America ” made the decision…..

Call, write, email the Archbishop Dimitrios of America and the Archons the following statement “We ask of Archbishop Dimitrios and the board of theArchons of the EP to tell us who and with what criteria come up with Awarding  Minister of Turkey , Egemen Bagis”.
Please take the time to personalize your letter, and as always please be polite and courteous.

8 East 79th Street, New York , NY 10075-0106• Telephone: (212) 570-3500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (212) 570-3500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting             (212) 570-3500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (212) 570-3500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting       • Fax: (212) 570-3569

The Order of Saint Andrew
Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Alexander Downer exposed: a report from Cyprus Indymedia

Below is an article produced by a member of the Cyprus Indymedia collective specifically for publishing on the Australian Indymedia site on the destructive role that former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is playing in Cyprus in his current role with the UN.

Alexander Downer on the Global Scene
Radical and Mainstream Press: a Convergence?

Source: (06/11/2010)

Cyprus is under military occupation being subjected to ethnic cleansing, genocide and illegal settlement and is now in grave danger of being plunged by the Imperialist powers into another round of mayhem, war and murder.

The "final solution" that our island is being threatened with, is the setting up of a new Apartheid State (just like South Africa and Israel) comprised of two ethnically identified zones replete with a Bizonal Race Law that will be the highest law of the land determining every feature of the entire structure of the new republic: from the Race Law that will govern the Constitution all the way to property rights, electoral quotas and education, civic administration, commerce, etc. All these are to be determined by the new Race Law. Alexander Downer is at the head of the Bizonal Race Law choir in recent years, using overt and covert manipulations to actualize the above Imperialist agenda.

Our population is recently becoming more aware of his personal role in all this, and pressuring the politicians to do something about it. Giant scandals have errupted on the island and on the regional/global diplomatic scene with Downer in the epicenter: leaked documents; back-room deals; sleight of hand; political extortion and political favouritism... all of these methods that are routinely used by organized crime seem to be on agenda now.

Daily newspapers on the island are full of stories detailing Alexander Downer's role in fixing our country on the path of destruction through his special powers as a United Nations representative here. The Parliament has even been pressured by popular anger into opening an investigation of whether Downer has been violating the codes of professional ethics and protocols that are supposed to be observed by diplomats such as him.
The article by a mainstream newspaper below, and the links following it, give a flavour of the turmoil that has errupted in Cyprus with Al Downer in the center of the scene.

Cyprus IndyMedia has been on the forefront of these popular mobilizations against Downer, having helped to spread and popularize the "Persona Non Grata" slogan. Our most recent publication, here,
"Alexander Downer ~ Αλεξάντερ Ντάουνερ"
is simply a creative extension of that campaign. Very few words, indeed, but they convey the bitter sentiments of a betrayed and slaughtered people well enough.

As a group of activist journalists and editors, the Cyprus IndyMedia Collective has been on the forefront of the struggle to unveil the fact that the local United Nations mission in Cyprus is fully entangled with the Foreign Policy arms of the UK/US alliance, and operates as an extension of the United States' CIA, Pentagon and State Department. We were targeted by these forces in the year 2004 when we revealed more of their connections, resulting in another major scandal here in Cyprus:

"Government Admits Investigation Against Indymedia and Petros Evdokas Initiated by US Intelligence"

This was the original article that triggered the illegal actions against us:
"Spies, Murderers, and Creeps
- Management of the 'free dialogue' on the Annan plan"

Some more on that case:
Update on our Political/ Legal situations

Our people are awakening again, and forcing all the political parties to deal with a new reality: self-organized patriots, socialists, anarchists, feminist greens, independent communists and autonomists are re-mobilizing the population to resist the Bizonal Race Law regime that the Imperialists are trying to enforce on our tiny country.

Alexander Downer shall pass, just as the offending air from a bad fart passes on, eventually, no matter how foul. But two forces will remain. What remains is the willingness of our local ruling class and its politicians to do anything to serve global Imperialism. Also what remains is the will of the self-organized people to oppose them, and to struggle for new and old definitions of equality, freedom and liberty.

These two forces will remain, and will fight it out, eventually, on all fronts, and by all means necessary.

"And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'." - Bob Dylan

Petros Evdokas,
Volunteer, founding member,
Cyprus IndyMedia Collective


AKEL: Downer grilling akin to ‘public tribunal’
By Stefanos Evripidou Published on October 21, 2010

PARLIAMENT IS set to scrutinise the role of UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer and his team today in what AKEL boss Andros Kyprianou has labelled a “public tribunal” that will harm the national interest.
The motion to discuss the leaked UN documents referred to in the recently published book “Simademeni Trapoula (Marked Cards)” was tabled by DIKO, EVROKO and EDEK deputies Andreas Angelides, Rikkos Erotokritou and Marinos Sizopoulos respectively.

The documents are believed to contain the private email correspondence of the UN negotiating team with property experts and others, written during the period when President Demetris Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat were discussing the property chapter.

While the UN has not publicly commented on its internal investigation into the documents, in private, officials have let it be known they consider the documents stolen property.

Ruling party leader Kyprianou warned on Tuesday that any effort to create friction with the UN during a critical phase of the negotiations would be “harmful to the national interest”.

If complaints exist about the role of UN representatives, these should be discussed through diplomatic channels and not by setting up “public tribunals” in parliament, he said.

Chairman of the House Institutions Committee, Erotokritou, yesterday hit back, saying that Kyprianou’s statement was an “insult to the legislature, an attempt to gag parliament and undermine democratic institutions”.

“The purpose of the meeting is to safeguard the institutions of the President of the Republic, state officials, politicians, journalists and even top priests from the improper characterisations and improper actions of Mr Downer and his team as revealed in the so-called Downer documents, which have not been denied,” he said.
Erotokritou suggested that the AKEL leader had confused his history, adding, “Whatever his beliefs and wishful thinking, the Cyprus Republic is a fully functioning state where the separation of powers is clear”.
He also indicated that Kyprianou was “protecting and covering for Mr Downer”, describing this as an “irresponsible political act to cover the actions of Downer instead of protecting the institutions and people from neo-colonial mentalities”.

Angelides accused Kyprianou acting in a way that was “irresponsible and detrimental to the Cyprus cause”, hinting that he did not respect the wishes of the majority.

Kyprianou responded yesterday saying that his positions were known and “anyone can judge whether or not they are improper”.

He added: “Right now, our priority should be how to handle the issues in the best possible way for Cyprus.”
According to Erotocritou, all parties bar AKEL are in favour of having the discussion today, meaning that if deputies from the ruling party propose a postponement, they will be outnumbered by eight to three. The EVROKO deputy confirmed that House President Marios Garoyian has also asked for a postponement. If deputies from his party DIKO follow suit, this takes the vote to six to five.

The three authors of the book in question, Achilleas Aimilianides, Michalis Kontos and Giorgios Kentas have been invited to the committee to discuss the UN documents



Further Links about the current situation:
‘Downer inquisition’ to go ahead
Al. Downer: " I have explained, contrary to conspiracy theories which suggest that the UN has a secret plan to impose a solution on Cyprus..."