Saturday, 12 December 2015

Syrian ‘scams’ have a Nigerian ‘flavour’

Aid Worker retrieving a Syrian child from debris following a Syrian Air Force attack  - Scammers are cashing in on the plight of innocents!

 For many years now, we have become accustomed to being seduced by what have become known as Nigerian Scams. The writer first became so acquainted with these in about 1990 via the medium of a fax (remember faxes?) and more closely so when actually in Lagos, probably the most hostile city ever encountered by this columnist during an excess of 30 years travelling experience. Since then, as communications technology has advanced, such solicitations are transmitted via email, SMS, Skype and a whole variety of online media. In November 2013, this column produced an article entitled “Nigerian Scams from Iran?” which has been extensively read in many parts of the world subsequently. The latest such attempt has been made via Facebook but this time, perhaps topically it comes from someone claiming to be in a military establishment in Syria. This is what the ‘poor widow’ has to say after much preliminary platitudes:

“I am so happy being your friend after so much talks today I came to a conclusion to open up to you because I understand you are someone with a good heart and may not betray me. So i have to have the confidence in you and i want to tell you everything and all the secrets that i have here. My dear before my husband was killed he was a wealthy man because he served as a top military with his Rank up to (فريق أول Feriq awwal) before he died, on that day he was bleeding to death he revealed to me that he had hid some 1.3 million Dollars in a security box with Red Cross Diplomatic Agency in Michigan city Indiana State 46360 USA and wants me to start a new life with our kids with it outside Syria."

"The attack on that fateful day destroy everything we had and I lost my husband, family members and valuables. I have written to Red Cross Diplomat and they have confirmed box with them and they do not have idea on the content. Here, we do not have money to run the expenses on our travel, and our lives so much depend on the box of money. "

"I have so much confidence in you and I want to send the money (box) to you through a diplomat so that you will receive the box and i tell you the security code to open the box. You will collect your delivery expenses money and send us some money through the Red Cross agency to plan our travel arrangement to your place. On our arrival, we plan for establishment and settlement. I know you will not regret helping a poor widow in a war center gain freedom and peace with her two kids. In reciprocating for your kind human gesture on securing the box, we will release to you 30% of the total money. Please write me in confirmation." (SIC)

Needless to say one has not exactly rushed to the aid of our Syrian ‘war-widow’ whose given name and email address do not appear to have much connection with that troubled land! “Leslie Biggs” with the initial part of his/her email address being ‘erickbiselela’ does not give the impression of originating in Raqqa, Alleppo or Damascus but is more likely to arise from some flea-pit internet café in Lagos, where historically, so many of these vile scams have originated from, milking as they do upon the genuine concerns the real victims of situations that we have witnessed in Syria these past five years.


These types of scams, as they are known, are the work of criminal gangs and let us be in no doubt as to this reality as there have been a number of cases where people who have been so duped, they have been enticed to fly to Lagos or wherever, ostensibly to sign documentation and have found themselves taken hostage or worse; but irritating though it is to have ones intelligence impugned by such approaches, the writer believes it to be more than deplorable to indulge in the use of sacred religious text in an attempt to add weight to their solicitation, deeply insulting you would have to think, to those who might be offended in this way. Equally, to come up with a spin involving the loss of a loved one is as nauseous as the former tactic.

Just as the scam mail received by this column arrived via the internet, this article will be similarly transmitted around the world and throughout the various networks in an attempt to highlight this type of crime and to urge all due caution in internet transactions. Beware of scams, wherever they derive from!


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The World at War Act III, Part II.

Paris - the aftermath!

In the aftermath of the atrocious acts of war that were visited upon France on Friday 13th November, 2015 the wider world has been animated in a response of a mixed nature ever since.  For example, the British government have rightly thrown their support towards the French and have furthermore expressed their determination to strike Daesh (An Arabic word for ‘Bigotted One’) at their apparent heart, in Syria but they are prevented from doing so by parliamentary opposition and the current Labour leader seems to oppose even possessing military capability, much less so actually deploying such forces effectively.

What though, is Daesh and do we understand them enough? The following text gives us a unique insight into this vile, Godless organisation from someone who knows from first hand experience:

I'm a French journalist and former Isis hostage. I receive emails from The Syria Campaign just like you, but this time they have asked to share an article I wrote in the Guardian recently. It has been shared over 20,000 times. I have given Chris Green my permission to reproduce my words in this article.

As a proud Frenchman I am as distressed as anyone about the events in Paris. But I am not shocked or incredulous. I know Islamic State. I spent 10 months as an Isis hostage, and I know for sure that our pain, our grief, our hopes, our lives do not touch them. Theirs is a world apart: Most people only know them from their propaganda material, but I have seen behind that. In my time as their captive, I met perhaps a dozen of them, including Mohammed Emwazi: Jihadi John was one of my jailers. He nicknamed me “Baldy”.

Even now I sometimes chat with them on social media, and can tell you that much of what you think of them results from their brand of marketing and public relations. They present themselves to the public as superheroes, but away from the camera are a bit pathetic in many ways: street kids drunk on ideology and power. In France we have a saying – stupid and evil. I found them more stupid than evil. That is not to understate the murderous potential of stupidity.

All of those beheaded last year were my cellmates, and my jailers would play childish games with us – mental torture – saying one day that we would be released and then two weeks later observing blithely, “Tomorrow we will kill one of you.” The first couple of times we believed them but after that we came to realise that for the most part they were bullshitters having fun with us. (SIC)

They would play mock executions. Once they used chloroform with me. Another time it was a beheading scene. A bunch of French-speaking jihadis were shouting, “We’re going to cut your head off and put it on to your arse and upload it to YouTube.” They had a sword from an antique shop. They were laughing and I played the game by screaming, but they just wanted fun. As soon as they left I turned to another of the French hostages and just laughed. It was so ridiculous.

It struck me forcefully how technologically connected they are; they follow the news obsessively, but everything they see goes through their own filter. They are totally indoctrinated, clinging to all manner of conspiracy theories, never acknowledging the contradictions.

Everything convinces them that they are on the right path and, specifically, that there is a kind of apocalyptic process under way that will lead to a confrontation between an army of Muslims from all over the world and others, the crusaders, the Romans. They see everything as moving us down that road. Consequently, everything is a blessing from Allah.

With their news and social media interest, they will be noting everything that follows their murderous assault on Paris, and my guess is that right now the chant among them will be “We are winning”. They will be heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear, of racism, of xenophobia; they will be drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media.

Central to their world view is the belief that communities cannot live together with Muslims, and every day their antennae will be tuned towards finding supporting evidence. The pictures from Germany of people welcoming migrants will have been particularly troubling to them. Cohesion, tolerance – it is not what they want to see.

Why France? For many reasons perhaps, but I think they identified my country as a weak link in Europe – as a place where divisions could be sown easily. That’s why, when I am asked how we should respond, I say that we must act responsibly.

And yet more bombs will be our response. I am no apologist for Isis. How could I be? But everything I know tells me this is a mistake. The bombardment will be huge, a symbol of righteous anger. Within 48 hours of the atrocity, fighter planes conducted their most spectacular munitions raid yet in Syria, dropping more than 20 bombs on Raqqa, an Isis stronghold. Revenge was perhaps inevitable, but what’s needed is deliberation. My fear is that this reaction will make a bad situation worse.

While we are trying to destroy Isis, what of the 500,000 civilians still living and trapped in Raqqa? What of their safety? What of the very real prospect that by failing to think this through, we turn many of them into extremists? The priority must be to protect these people, not to take more bombs to Syria. We need no-fly zones – zones closed to Russians, the regime, the coalition. The Syrian people need security or they themselves will turn to groups such as Isis.

Canada withdrew from the air war after the election of Justin Trudeau. I desperately want France to do the same, and rationality tells me it could happen. But pragmatism tells me it won’t. The fact is we are trapped: Isis has trapped us. They came to Paris with Kalashnikovs, claiming that they wanted to stop the bombing, but knowing all too well that the attack would force us to keep bombing or even to intensify these counterproductive attacks. That is what is happening.

Emwazi is gone now, killed in a coalition air strike, his death celebrated in parliament. I do not mourn him. But during his murder spree, he too followed this double bluff strategy. After murdering the American journalist James Foley, he pointed his knife at the camera and, turning to the next intended victim, said: “Obama, you must stop intervening in the Middle East or I will kill him.” He knew very well what the hostage’s fate would be. He knew very well what the American reaction would be – more bombing. It’s what Isis wants, but should we be giving it to them?

The group is wicked, of that there is no doubt. But after all that happened to me, I still don’t feel Isis is the priority. To my mind, Bashar al-Assad is the priority. The Syrian president is responsible for the rise of Isis in Syria, and so long as his regime is in place, Isis cannot be eradicated. Nor can we stop the attacks on our streets. When people say “Isis first, and then Assad”, I say don’t believe them. They just want to keep Assad in place.

At the moment there is no political road map and no plan to engage the Arab Sunni community. Isis will collapse, but politics will make that happen. In the meantime there is much we can achieve in the aftermath of this atrocity, and the key is strong hearts and resilience, for that is what they fear. I know them: bombing they expect. What they fear is unity.

~ Nicolas Henin, French Journalist & ISIS Hostage.

Highly compelling words indeed and however the instincts of some – including this columnist – are inclined towards the concentrated and merciless destruction of Daesh, Msr Henin’s unique insight cannot be ignored. As for Syria and life in its capital Damascus, again we can read the views from one who is there. A former colleague of the writer re-established contact recently; we had worked together in Damascus in 1999. He tells in a succinct manner what day to day life is like there now:

“Here as you maybe heard Damascus in common safe city. From time by time the schools and hospitals and homes even peoples in street hit and killed with the mortar and katiusha by the armed groups at Damascus Country side . There shortage of water and electricity, but it's war , hard war Chris and life become very hard and expensive, but Damascus safe [for now] .” (SIC)

Our former colleague has followed up with his take on the recent incident between Turkish and Russian aircraft, but that perhaps is something that we can look at as things develop in that region.

With most of Europe and further a-field on the highest levels of alert, the world is at it’s most dangerous state since the height of the Cold War. A United Nations effort to destroy Daesh and stabilise Syria has never been more urgently needed.


Chris Green 

Besparmak Media Services

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Peace is attacked in Ankara: After 10/10/15 what next for Turkey?

Ankara Terror Attacks 10/10/15

The smoke may have cleared in central Ankara following the 10/10/15 atrocity by persons and organisations as yet not revealed, but the pall of grief hangs atop the Turkish Capital as 97 families grieve their losses and many more will be fearful of the fate of those who cling to life in hospital as a result of the cowardly bombings that recently occurred. At the time of compiling this copy, the identities of the bombers even if known, are not yet in the public domain; speculation is rife but IS/Da’Esh seem to be the likely culprits. PKK have been implicated too, but such an operation would not seem to have their prints on it neither is the timing – ahead of the snap elections – helpful to their cause.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has suggested that Turkey has a list of would-be suicide bombers but that the authorities are disbarred from intervening and acting upon such intelligence until an action has been carried out! By definition, you would have to think that it is a bit late to act after a suicide bomber has ‘hit the button’ and furthermore, surely National Security interests would have primacy over the legal niceties of an individuals rights (or otherwise). You could be pretty sure that here in Britain, our Intel Services would be –and almost certainly are – taking a somewhat active interest in an individual or group that were linked to such deadly organisations and it beggars belief that M.I.T are not similarly inclined. Apparently though and according to Davutoğlu, if any legal action is taken against suicide bombing suspects before the criminal act, there may be another act committed in protest by other suspects, quid pro quo. So why not take out the other suspects too!?

The terrorist action on 10/10/15 was the largest single terrorist action to be meted out upon the people of Turkeyin the history of the Republic and people have reacted angrily as they emerge from the understandable shock that such a thing took place. Following a call from the Confederation of Public Sector Trades’ Unions (KESK), the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), a march was to be held on Oct. 13, starting at Cerrahpaşa and Sirkeci, two different venues in Istanbul’s Fatih district, before joining in Beyazıt Square, to protest the Ankara bombing and commemorate the 97 victims of the massacre. 

The governor’s office however said, at around 2 a.m. on Oct. 13 that the application filed for the demonstration had been rejected because “the places where the march was slated to be organized were places citizens use frequently,” because the route for the demonstration “was not among the places listed in the law on meetings and demonstrations” and because of “the sensibility of the current period.” Accordingly, police units were deployed to prevent people from reaching the planned demonstration routes. 

In the meantime, protests were held against the massacre across the country in multiple cities, varying from İzmir and Uşak in Turkey’s west to Malatya and Adana in the east and south and Giresun and Zonguldak in the north.  Among the cities in the south of the country where protests were held, police also used teargas to attack a group of around 30 lawyers and another 150 people who came to support them in front of the courthouse in the Alanya district of Antalya.

Many interested outside observers – this column being one - have been predicting an escalation of terrorist actions within Turkey as the Syrian crisis accelerates especially since Moscow initiated unilateral actions in support of the Assad Regime. Russia claims great success in neutralising IS/Da’Esh targets but we are not being shown evidence of these strikes whilst there is plenty of reason to believe that these ‘targets’ are actually those that are in direct conflict with the Syrian government which for some 40 years, have been supported by successive Russian governments. 

Turkey is more than ‘touched and concerned’ by this conflict; given that the shared border between Syria and Turkey is some 820 kilometres in length, it would be impossible to prevent some cross-over in the circumstances. Turkey’s geographical and strategic location is critical though for it has become an increasingly important conduit for the passage of many people onwards to Western Europe and many of these will be exceedingly dangerous groups ‘on a mission’.

Russia’s motives, opportunistic they so clearly have to be seen to be, are certainly not those to be interpreted as Moscow attempting to destroy IS; on the contrary, this is Russia taking an even more embedded position in Syria and, given their long pre-existing deep water naval facility there, they are looking further. Thanks to South Cyprus, Russian naval vessels are now able to use sea bases there too and perhaps air-bases may follow. Furthermore, for many years Russian influence has been steadily growing throughout the island of Cyprus. 

Divided Cyprus 'united' under Russia?

To conclude, the Cyprus Negotiations notwithstanding, what ever may be finally agreed it is quite possible these will count for nothing as a deep ‘red carpet’ is rolled out over Cyprus from the south northward. There have already been aerial incidents between Russian and Turkish aircraft recently and these may escalate; furthermore if Russian troops are based in Cyprus, the Turkic-Russo wars may launch again as they did in 1877/8.  

There is more than enough justification for Turkey to maintain and uphold her military presence in Cyprus irrespective of any deal that might be brokered in some sort of bi-federal, bi-zonal arrangement for the latter may count for nought as the Russian Bear's grip tightens. The strategic shape of the Eastern Mediterranean region could change dramatically during the next 5 years and Turkey has a right to defend her borders. The "Arab Spring" is becoming very 'wintery' indeed!

The Russians are coming!


Chris Green 

Besparmak Media Services

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

For Britain, the “EU Question” and immigration are linked: The surge to leave the EU is growing.

Great Britain to leave the EU in 2017? Why not now?

The recent announcement that Britain will take some 20,000 Syrian refugees during the term of the current parliament, whilst in itself hardly a ‘swarm’ in the grand scheme of things, it nevertheless shows that when pushed, our government have a tendency to buckle under the strain of EU diktat. Granted that Germany have absorbed a considerable number of these displaced peoples recently, but they have more room to accommodate them and, given the relatively low birth rate amongst indigenous German’s the argument seems to be that these people can be utilized productively. ‘Cheap labour’ in other words, which is precisely that status ‘enjoyed’ by Turkish immigrants in Germany for decades.

Al Umayyad Mosque - Damascus

This column writer has a particular affection for Syria by virtue of a fairly brief but quite dramatic posting to Damascus some 16 years ago which involved conducting runway surveys on Syrian air facilities including Damascus International Airport. At the time and possibly since that occasion, this was the first instance where a Westerner had access to airside aviation facilities in Syria. A wholly unique experience that was not without drama! The historic sites were equally dramatic for different reasons.

Overall, one developed a feeling for the people many of whom had been and still were, a suppressed people under what has become the ‘dynastic kleptocracy’ of the Assad Regime. Assad senior was still in power in 1999: His death in June of 2000 brought his eldest son Bashir to the ‘throne’. Despite promising beginnings, things are now as we see them and with the dubious assistance of Moscow, Syria burns and millions are fleeing from their ancestral homes perhaps never to return.

If we accept that these people have a vital need to re-settle, not all those surging towards the west are so well intentioned. There is a very real danger that Da’esh (IS/ISIL) will infiltrate those fleeing to the perceived nirvana of the western world, with their own ‘murder cells’ intent on wreaking havoc within the shores of Europe and Great Britain. To this end, it is wise that the government have decided to continue to take people who are already in established camps in Turkey rather than adopting some form of selection process at Calais where you simply could not know what you are going to end up with! It is furthermore the case, as we have seen in Eastern Europe of late, that whole armies of young men are attempting to swarm westward and it is highly unlikely that these are fleeing for their lives; indeed, some might have committed dreadful crimes themselves and are escaping their just punishment!

That such numbers are propelling themselves in our direction is hugely concerning, the human catastrophe notwithstanding. These people are not going to ‘fit in’ here; intuitively, they ‘hate’ the West largely because they have been taught to do so and many will wish to destroy us from within. The sight of minarets across the Thames at London and the imposition of Sharia Law are spectres that many will espouse as good enough reasons to deny entry. It is not an unreasonable fear to hold. Surely there are Muslim countries closer to where these refugees are running from that should accommodate them? What, for example is Saudi Arabia doing for these folk? Compared to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey – precisely nothing and this needs to be addressed and soon, at UN level.

In the meantime, the campaign for Britain to leave the EU is growing a-pace and this movement is enthusiastically supported by this column. Ironically, the migrant question is unwittingly fanning the fire favourably towards the NO-Vote and despite what those clever pollsters may like to think, it is highly likely that those of us who are patriots and who despise our country being governed by an unelected foreign entity – the EU – will win the day in 2017. We will NOT, despite the Europhiles protestations otherwise, lose any trade or business opportunities at all but on the contrary, as we will have chosen the Open Seas (as endorsed by Winston Churchill) we will secure even more non-EU, international trade. “Trade at all Costs, but not at any price” has long been a mantra of this column and so it will continue.

To conclude, on April 25th 1968, a speech was made by a certain politician in Birmingham. It was to pass into the annals of history more for its press-induced infamy than the prophetic statement that it was. The words uttered were right for the times and they resonate now:

“Looking forward, I am filled with much foreboding. I am like the Roman viewing the River Tiber foaming with much blood”


Chris Green

Besparmak Media Services

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The battle for Great Britain is over: ‘War’ with the EU has begun.

In the heady period since the Conservative party pulled off their unexpected but much-needed victory in the British General Election on May 9th 2015, the political scene has undergone significant changes at the cost of one or two key scalps; in other words certain well-known MP’s lost their seats perhaps never to be seen again. 

The natural party of fiscal competence and managerial ability, now unencumbered by their former coalition partners the weak, left-leaning Lib Dems, are now able to govern the country without the handbrake being randomly yanked upwards by way of intervention. More crucially, we can now progress towards that which has been denied the British Electorate by successive governments, a referendum on continued membership of the accursed European Union. This column will join others in aggressively supporting the OUT campaign.

The Labour party whose former leader (for want of a more accurate expression) Ed Milliband is now dining alone on his favoured bacon sandwiches, whilst the party machine busies itself in the task of finding a replacement. Veteran hard-Left Wing Jeremy Corbyn has thrown his red hat into the ring at the 11th hour just to add a further entertainment factor into this circus, for not one of the candidates are even remotely statesman-like nor competent. This is good news for the Tories who, if they perform well over the next five years, will renew the tenancy and retain the leys to Number 10 Downing Street for the foreseeable future. 

The Liberal Democrats however are now extinct, something that this column predicted would be the case many times during the past year or so. UKIP despite having polled millions of votes were victims of our electoral system but hey ho, we needed a Tory government and thankfully we got one. We now need to further stabilise the economy and also to hopefully prepare for life unfettered from governance by an unelected foreign entity, the EU.

Across the straits of Dover beyond Calais, which itself is clogged by the worlds unwashed and unwanted -the economic migrants who view Great Britain as the land flowing with milk and honey and who will do anything to set foot here- the EU hierarchy are reeling at the prospect of the inevitable debt default that will be perpetrated by Greece. The EU, in particular France and Germany who were key at ushering Greece into the EEC in 1981, only have themselves to blame.
They knew that the then government in Athens had cooked what passes for their books to enter the EU, but the aforementioned nations were keen to supply military hardware to Greece who at that time and probably still now, harbour thoughts of competing militarily with Turkey. Witness that in 1974, Greek and Greek Cypriot Coalition militia were virtually destroyed by the Turkish Intervention forces in respect of Cyprus, the defeated Greeks were still smarting in the early ‘80’s. Similar perfidy applied when Greece entered the Euro Zone and they have been basically proffering their many and various begging bowls ever since. 

Ironically, the much-vaunted Grexit once it has happened will play into Britain’s hands for Germany in particular does not want to lose the UK as EU members nor the net contribution that we make. If cards are played cannily, treaty change is a strong possibility. That said, Prime Minister Cameron is intuitively pro-EU and his EU counter-parts know this very well. This reality could be our ‘Achilles heel’ to make use deliberately, of a Greek analogy.

Back in Britain, with a guaranteed fixed term of government, the ruling party has much to do. They do not enjoy that much of a majority and the SNP hooligans who have invaded former Labour benches are more than just an invasion of rabble-rousing; they will use their 50+ votes cannily, of that there should be no doubt. Nevertheless, the Tories have already suggested ways to strengthen their position by preventing the Unions from financing the Labour Party. This column would go far further by way of a windfall tax on all union assets to the tune of say 40%, the proceeds of which once collected could be transferred to the NHS.

Surely the union grandees could hardly object given that they are constantly bleating on that the NHS is under threat under a Tory government, whilst conveniently forgetting the enthusiastic manner that PFI was introduced to run our hospitals under the Bliar/Brown era under Nu-Labour. In the perhaps unlikely event that these initiatives were to be introduced, both the unions and Labour would have their functionality nullified. Furthermore, if Mr Corbyn prevails in the Labour leadership campaign, we can expect a Tory government to remain in power for two or three terms, perhaps more.

In conclusion and as we have seen, the pollsters got it badly wrong in respect of predicting the outcome of the recent General Election. They are currently suggesting the OUT campaign will not poll well in the referendum. Well, we shall see, will we not! The signing of the Treaty of Lisbon and ceding the governance of our nation to an unelected foreign entity without a mandate was an act of High Treason. It is therefore our patriotic duty to vote OUT in 2017; to do otherwise is also treason.


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

Monday, 1 June 2015

Memories of VE Day (2015)

One Sunday morning recently, walking into the vestry of my local church, St Luke’s, Headless Cross (Redditch) in Worcestershire, a close friend and fellow member of our choir invited the writer to view that which she had published in our monthly magazine. So moving were her words, this column now shares them with the wider circle this column touches internationally.

Mrs Dorothy Marriott has become a close friend during the past 4 years or so, within the context of our local church and we have shared many thoughts, memories and reflections based on our mutual love of our church, our faith and liturgical music. We have had a few laughs too…

In a review of the monumental events of the recent VE Day memorial events, which moved so many of us, given the input of the diminishing ranks of those who were contemporary to the times, Dot has these lines to share…

Whilst I was watching V.E. Day 70 years celebrations on the television I was at times moved to tears and when the programme ended, I felt the need to write down what it has all meant to me.

 I was seventeen when I started working in a military hospital. After some initial training my boss decided to take me on his ward rounds to train me further in my chosen career. I shall never forget entering a ward of badly wounded service men who had been in tanks blown up by enemy fire. It was a very hot August that year and flies were crawling over their wired faces, as many had suffered fractured jaws and they were unable to flick the flies away.

Their arms were encased in bags of saline because of the burns caused by the blazing tanks. The smell of burnt flesh is also something that I shall never forget. In other wards there were wounded men so covered in bandages it was a problem to find some where to get a blood sample. Some wards men were there with horrific injuries and in other wards there were paralysed men with no hope of getting mobility back.

 Nevertheless their only thought was to get healed and return to the front and re-join their comrades. Many would laugh and joke with you. War is not glorious, which I fear is a mistaken impression some people feel when watching the parades. I view November Remembrance Sunday with mixed feelings and when we are asked to 'Remember them'- I do. Peace and love, Dot.

Reading and re-reading these anecdotes of events so long ago, but nevertheless seared into Dot’s lovely heart, one could be moved to tears. Apparently some people have been so moved and understandably so. Mrs Marriott (Dot) is surrounded by a close-knit family and furthermore is the current ‘head honcho’ of the local Mothers Union. 

For obvious reasons, one cannot publish a lady’s age, but she is a week or two older than this columnist! She works indefatigably in all she does in a myriad of activities that she pursues, not least singing Soprano in our Church choir. (Yours truly at 57 is the youngest of all of the regular members!... So humbling)

Knowledge is nothing if it is not shared: Dot has shared, in the most succinct and concise sense, strong emotions that mean a lot to her. Deeply moving emotions that must at times trouble her mind: Suffering and strife are not mutually exclusive to World War II of course, nor to earlier conflicts. For example, the only year in the 20th century when a British Soldier was not lost to attrition was 1968. 

We continue to be hugely extended militarily now, thanks to arguably the paucity of political leadership that prevails, ad nausea. Our troops simply do not have the budget commitments that even the appeasement government of 1938 allowed the MOD. Scandalous!

God bless you Dot darling… and thank you….


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Presidential Election is over – what next for Northern Cyprus as an independent entity?

Mustafa Akıncı, the 4th President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

The recent election of Mustafa Akıncı as the 4th President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, having secured 60% of the votes in the electoral re-run, perhaps poses more questions than it answers in respect of the future for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as an independent political entity albeit one that is (unfairly) not internationally recognised. President Akıncı, whilst described as a ‘moderate’ is nevertheless left-leaning politically and this has questionable merit – at best – for a variety of reasons. 

For example, former President Mehmet Ali Talat is a left-winger and pro-settlement too but even he failed to appease his Greek Cypriot counter-part Christofias in relation to the Cyprus Question. We are already hearing of ‘confidence building measures’ designed to give tit bits to the Greeks and once again the Varosha (Maraş ) hand-over is being mooted albeit that much of this is Turkish Cypriot, indeed Efkav land.

Across the water in mainland Turkey, the election of President Akıncı does not seem to have gone down stunningly well in Ankara with Turkish President Erdogan becoming immediately somewhat vocal in light of recent events, where the ongoing relationship between Turkey and Northern Cyprus is becoming somewhat questioned. Main Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also weighed into the debate stating that “It’s not appropriate to present Turkish Cyprus as a state which is under the command and tutelage of Turkey,” just because Ankara has given the TRNC support [over the ensuing years post 1974.]

When asked if the CHP considers the TRNC as a “babyland,” Kılıçdaroğlu said the TRNC was an independent state. “Turkey could aid and give support to many countries, but using that support as if it were a ‘right of empery’ and using such pitiless language does not suit the Turkey of the 21st century,” he is quoted as saying. He also went on to observe that “Turkish Cyprus has a different flag, parliament and judiciary. Their democracy and consciousness of democracy is far more developed than ours. They are more sensitive to corruption.

We have to respect the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and its institutions.” It is perhaps a pity that these otherwise more than reasonable observations are not reflected in south Nicosia nor indeed in Athens, let alone Brussels, Strasburg or Washington although in the latter case at least Secretary Kerry acknowledged the election of President Akıncı by way of congratulation and this in itself is perhaps a sign of a degree of much-needed ‘recognition’ of the TRNC. For his part, Akıncı, reiterated his position that the status of the relationship between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus should change. “It should be a relationship of brothers/sisters, not a relationship of a motherland and a ‘babyland,’

That the Greek Cypriots have welcomed the election of a moderate Turkish Cypriot leader in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on April 27, saying they anticipated a swift resumption of stalled peace talks, has to be a matter of concern for those of us observers who fear that any settlement will give overall control of the island to the ‘dark-sider’s’, the natural historic enemy of Turkish Cypriots. This columnist is however, assured that whilst pro-settlement, President Akıncı is not likely to be a push-over either so it is much to be hoped that an equitable and bankable deal will perhaps be brokered after all, but even then any such agreement will have to be rubber-stamped by Ankara and in the latter case, a deal which calls for the removal of the TSK is unlikely to be well-received, less still acted upon. 

However, with the Russians taking an ever increasingly powerful grip on the south of the island, Turkey may believe that their own security is best served by leaving a strong military contingent on the island and in this respect, they would probably be right.

Eminent Turkish Cypriot journalist Yusuf Kanli concluded a recent article thus recently: “With Akıncı, the demand for change has won in northern Cyprus, but as Birikim Özgür, a leading Turkish Cypriot left-wing politician has said, “To achieve change, changing the tenant of the presidential mansion is not enough.” What will happen to relations with Ankara? Will Akıncı be able to conduct a policy separate from Ankara in the Cyprus talk’s process? Can he indeed bypass Ankara and without coordinating with the Turkish Foreign Ministry Cyprus Desk, offer anything tangible to Greek Cypriots?” ”This will be a very difficult road to walk for Akıncı.”

Indeed so…


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Greek Cyprus sign 11 Treaties with Russia: Now the ‘Russian Bear’ is in the backyard of the EU.

Divided Cyprus: Perhaps soon to be the "United Soviet Republic of Cyprusgrad"

 A recent agreement signed between South Cyprus and Russia to allow Russian navy vessels to dock in Cyprus ports has raised concerns in the UK. The controversial deal allows heavily armed Russian warships to dock in Cypriot ports, a move which was “worrying and disappointing” according to some British MPs. Whilst the EU collectively have been applying significant sanctions against Moscow in the light of the tensions in Ukraine, both the Greek Cypriots and the Greeks have been cosying up to their longstanding friends, the Russians. 

With tensions on the increase between the West and Moscow because of the Ukraine crisis, Moscow must be quietly delighted to be in the EU’s backyward. Although the Russian navy will only be permitted to dock in Cyprus ports for reasons of counter-terrorism and to combat piracy, it was hinted by the so-called President Anastasiades that Russian war planes could also be permitted to use the military airbase in Paphos. Frankly, anyone who thinks that the Russians will limit their visits to south Cyprus ports to ‘counter-terrorism and to combat piracy’ are wholly deluded. This deal gives Russia a significant foothold to add to that which they have long enjoyed in Syria.

Of course, all this has to do with Greek Cyprus’ economic woes. As a part of the series of deals, Russia restructured a 2.5 billion euro ($2.8 billion) loan to South Cyprus that it signed in 2011, cutting the annual interest rate to 2.5 % from 4.5 % and the redemption period to 2018-2021. The work-shy and economically moribund Greek Cypriots have sold what passes for their souls for short-term gain, possibly in the hope that once their fortunes have changed in the light of what they believe are vast riches coming from Natural Gas resources, they might be able to pay the Russians off and the latter will quietly leave. Dream on! The ‘red-streak’ that is now running throughout the entire island could well become a ‘red-carpet’ in fairly short-order to the extent that Cyprus could find itself becoming effectively re-named as ‘The United Soviet Republic of Cyprusgrad’! Be in no doubt, the Russians are in Cyprus to stay and those on both sides of the soon to become the ‘Red Line’ who are selling land and property to them are being extremely selfish and foolish.

Winston Churchill created the very descriptive phrase, the ‘Iron Curtain in a speech that surprised the United States and Britain: "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent." That curtain fell in 1991 and since then the Russians have travelled the globe and have settled in many places thanks to their often ill-gotten Roubles. Cyprus is awash with them too on both sides of said line. There is good reason to be extremely concerned at this development, underpinned as it is by the 11 treaties recently signed in Moscow.

The deal represents the latest move of a resurgent Russia with an increasing interest in the eastern Mediterranean, especially with stakes in Greece, Cyprus, and Syria. Although Russian warships officially withdrew from the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Cold war, the changing situation in the Eurozone and the ongoing Syrian civil war led to the re-establishment of the Russian Eastern Mediterranean fleet for the first time in 20 years in 2012. The latest agreement has fuelled speculation that the Kremlin had engineered the deal by putting together a multi-billion pound package to bail out the debt-ridden South.

In the meantime, Great Britain which has two important military bases in South Cyprus and who has called for stringent economic sanctions against Russia for aiding pro-Russian separatists, will be keeping a wary eye on developments. President Putin was reportedly infuriated by Britain’s announcement recently that it would deploy 75 troops to the Ukraine as trainers. In retaliation and in cold-war style, Russian bombers now regularly test the RAF by encroaching UK airspace on sabre-rattling missions whilst Russian Naval Submarines infest Britain’s coastal waters too and there is precious little that can be done about it.

Speculatively, it is perhaps a matter of time before similar deals are done between Moscow and Athens for after all, there are historically close ties between the two nations and with the new Greek government being hard-left wing, there is synergy there too. There are compelling reasons to view these recent developments with heightened concerns whilst once again, the Greeks have shown themselves to be perfidious allies and both Greece and Greek Cypus should be thrown out of the EU without delay.


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services