Wednesday, 24 December 2014

UK loses bid to opt out of benefits with Turkey: More Foreign Meddling! – Who actually won the war?

Britain loses yet another case in the European Court!

A quietly issued ruling by The European Court means that Britain could face having to pay benefits to Turkish migrants and their families. Britain sought to exercise an opt-out from the EU-Turkey agreement and took the case the European Court where the UK Government had argued it should be allowed to opt out of an agreement giving workers from Turkey the same benefit rights as those from the EU. 

Ministers feared the Brussels ‘power grab’ would make Britain an even more attractive destination for immigrants and would lead to higher spending on welfare payments and pensions. This ruling means any Turks who are allowed to come to Britain to work will be able to claim benefits for themselves and their families as well as building up pensions, which they could then transfer back to their home countries if they retire there. Of course, they still have to obtain a visa and right to work which is anything but easy here these days, unless you are Somalian, Nigerian or such-like!

Whether or not in reality, Britain does end up shelling out a pile of cash in this direction is far from certain, for whilst there are a great many Turkish people already living in the UK, indeed many are friends and near-neighbours of this columnist, 100% of these are working, some running their own businesses and very much ‘in the system’ so to speak, in so far as they fully account for their taxes and so forth. So is this a Mail on Sunday/UKIP scare-mongering story? Some might argue this to be the case, but perhaps we should look deeper, for the UK does seem to be on the losing end of most analogous cases where the European Court gets involved. Ironically, this simply adds fuel to the Out of Europe campaign, one which is fervently supported by the writer.

Britain is in many ways a unique member-state of the European Union in as much as it is not only one of the largest net contributors to the entire cabal, it is the only nation that failed to allow its electorate a vote on whether we joined or not. The referendum in 1973 was for the Common Market, the EU followed the EEC which is something else we didn’t get a vote on either. 

It is here argued that the primary reason why successive governments have not allowed a vote on further and deeper European integration is because each has known intuitively, that the outcome of the vote would be resoundingly negative AND in the event that we do get an in-out vote in 2017, it is likely that more than two-thirds of the electorate will vote in favour of leaving and this writer will cast his vote in a like-manner too. Of course, this materially depends on our having a Tory government next May and as things stand, this is far from a certainty although at least the weak, pro-Federal EU Lib Dems are likely to cease to exist post-May 2015 and this has to be a good thing.

The main thrust of the argument being made within this article has nothing to do with the limited possibility that we might have to make payouts to Turkish migrants. It is more that the UK has slowly but surely lost its ability to govern its own affairs. More and more legislative powers are being ceded via the Channel Tunnel to what is effectively a foreign entity and a non-democratic one at that. Britain more than just contributed to winning two World Wars yet Germany has in effect, gained far more pan-European dominance in peace time than could ever have been so achieved in war! Some politicians actually want a Federal EU and these are not limited to the Lib-Dem benches either as there are both Tory and Labour MP’s who share this ambition. Indeed the Prime Minister himself is intuitively pro-EU although not, thankfully a Federalist. 

To quote Winston Churchill in respect of Europe, consider these words: "We are with Europe, not of it. We are linked but not compromised. We are interested and associated, but not absorbed."


 Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services


Saturday, 11 October 2014

“Islamic State is in Kobane – where next?”

 At the time of penning this article, fighting between Islamic State (IS) militants and Syrian Kurds is reported to have spread to a southern district of the town of Kobane on the Turkish border, as US-led air strikes continue. In excess of 40% of this key border town is now in Islamic State hands; who knows what terrors await those inhabitants who remain there. Eerily, the menacing Black Flags of Islamic State are said to be flying in a number of locations over the eastern side of Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town. 

Before the offensive, Kobane, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic, was home to refugees from the civil war which pits rebels against President Bashar al-Assad and has deteriorated into hundreds of localised battles between different factions. In the past week or so, more than 2,000 Syrian Kurds including women and children have been evacuated from the town, a member of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) has suggested, joining countless thousand other refugees in Turkey.

It seems quite astonishing that the IS hordes have been allowed to advance as far as they have, for it is quite obvious that Kobane has a high strategic value giving IS a clear run at the Syrian/Turkey border, thereby posing a significant threat to Turkish security, which may already have been compromised as it seems inconceivable that there are not already a number of ‘sleeper cells’ or dormant IS units behind Turkish lines awaiting 'orders'. 

Turkey finds herself in a difficult position seemingly, although Ankara did recently pledge to prevent Kobane from falling to the militants and its parliament authorised military operations against militants in Iraq and Syria. Turkey - a regional superpower with significant troops and armour in the area – does seem to be extremely reluctant to intervene despite that government pledge to do whatever it takes to prevent the Kurdish town of Kobane from falling. 

It (Turkey) wants the US-led coalition to agree on a number of things first, including setting up a no-fly zone and a buffer zone in northern Syria and, crucially, a renewed focus on getting rid of President Assad - which remains Turkey's principal objective. Add to that the very bad blood that has existed for decades between Turkey and its own Kurdish population. Turkey has fought a bloody war against the Kurdish terrorist group, PKK for some 30+ years, and this helps to explain why Ankara remains deeply reluctant to get engaged. It is emphasised here that the PKK are recognised by the UN as a terrorist organisation and rightly so.

 Turkey is at loggerheads primarily with Washington as they demand a concerted Nato effort to depose the Assad regime, together with a multi-force armed buffer zone in the region of the border and the establishment of a no-fly zone over parts of Syria, although given that IS do not appear to have air-force resources, this demand is harder to understand.

More recently, both Iran and Russia have pointedly threatened Turkey of 'consequences', should Ankara attempt to bring down the Assad regime, or 'dynastic kleptocracy', which better describes it. 

An estimated 180,000 people have fled into Turkey from the Kobane region following the ISIL advance boosting the already huge refugee communities that have been established throughout large areas of Turkey. IS/ISIL has also boosted its forces with foreign fighters and defectors from other rebel groups and has gained additional heavy weaponry after its fighters swept through northern Iraq in June, seizing arms from the fleeing Iraqi army. An all out assault on Turkey itself, must been seen as a primary objective of IS/ISIL although their overall objective is not so clear. A ground based counter-offensive against IS would seem to be essential, but Turkey seems highly reluctant to unleash her formidable forces, unilaterally. 

It seems that both IS/ISIL and Turkey do have one thing in common and that is to draw NATO into all out combat. In the event that Turkey - a key NATO member – is attacked, then the other member states are bound to come to their aid, this is very clear. As a parenthetic aside, quite what role Greece would (or could) offer to play in such a scenario, is a matter purely for speculation! One thing does seem to be clear and that is that if NATO is drawn into a land and air war in this region, it will be as close to a World-War situation as we have had since 1945. This is truly a very frightening situation and one hopes that one day, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both of whom have been key funder’s of Islamic State, will look upon themselves and ask if they were mutually ‘proud’ of what they have materially assisted in creating! They both have blood on their respective hands.


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Islamic State – the ‘cancer’ spreads…

Indian Cobra

Although the bites of some species of the Cobra are extremely dangerous because of their potent neurotoxins, cobras have not been shown to attack people unprovoked. Cobras almost never attack without a threat display, which typically involves raising the hood and hissing. COBRA, the acronym for Cabinet Office Briefing Room-A, needs to be considering responses to the growing threat of Islamic State in a far more venomous manner than mere hissing and furthermore, highly deadly pre-emptive strikes against what has to be the most predatory enemy of mankind, are surely now a priority in terms of planning.

The first Cobra meeting took place in the 1970s in response to the miner's strike. Other events that have led to meetings convening include the fuel protests, the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak and the July 7th 2005 attacks in London and more recently, the murder of Lee Rigby. In the current crisis, Prime Minister David Cameron must be considering the recall of Parliament as the urgent need for a decisive course of action must be debated in the House of Commons.

Cabinet Office Briefing Room-A

On the last occasion when armed action in Syria was brought to the House for debate, there was seemingly no appetite for deploying our Armed Forces for active service ‘in-theatre’, although it is a fair observation to make, that the Leader of the Opposition swung against direct action for purely political reasons. Today, neither side in the House – even the modern day ‘Conchies’, can argue that the National Security of Great Britain and its wider interests are under anything other than a direct threat from Islamic State. Furthermore, our allies are threatened too and as such, we surely have a duty to ‘weigh-in’ in the fullest sense.

Let us consider recent developments, not all of which have been reported in Western Media. Yesterday (22nd September) some Turkish language newspapers were reporting that some 300 Iraqi soldiers had been killed by IS forces by way of chlorine gas attacks. One can only wonder as to who supplied them with this material, but it was also reported that IS had hanged some of their own number for apparently failing to act ruthlessly enough. The 'order of the day' within IS now is ‘Kill by all possible means’, whilst a contact of this columnist has produced photographic evidence of people being slaughtered in a manner even food-animals would not endure. The actual methodology will not be elaborated here and it must be stressed that the evidence in relation to the latter is uncorroborated.

Other sources have suggested to the writer that IS forces are also threatening to attack targets in Egypt and furthermore, that they are being reinforced by way of ostensible ‘tourists’ to south-Cyprus then diverting to Turkey and into Syria in order to bolster the already burgeoning, yet well funded, organised and certainly well armed Islamic State terror organ. It has furthermore been suggested that some 3000 Turkish volunteers have crossed the Syrian border to so engage. For its part, Turkey is absorbing more and more refugees with 130,000 crossing over its borders in recent days.

Just as IS cells are emerging in other countries like latter-day 5th Columnists, it has to be the case that the UK is likely to have IS ‘cancer-cells’ dormant within its borders awaiting a catalyst, presumably by way of a coded signal, to strike targets here in Great Britain or perhaps to take hostages, just as is being ruthlessly carried out on a daily basis a few thousand miles away from our shores. It is inconceivable that our Intel Services are not already ramping up their monitoring operations and presumably, the listening posts of Cyprus will be ‘fairly busy’ during this very real and emerging crisis.

B52's like this could be used against IS targets.

The USA, in coalition with several Middle-Eastern countries, are now carrying out numerous air-strikes against IS targets in Syria and also Iraq. During the night of the 22nd September, some 14 such raids were executed although details of damage occasioned to those targets have not been released. As yet, the UK has not joined in directly; it surely has to be time that we did if our credibility as a key NATO member is to be upheld. Surely the government has the option of declaring a National Emergency which should enable it to order a military intervention irrespective of Parliament? The situation is far too dangerous to allow hand-wringing ‘Conchies’ to prevent our waging what needs to be devastating and concentrated destruction of IS targets wherever they maybe INCLUDING where ever these cells might be uncovered in Great Britain. To fail to do so is nothing short of weakness.

Another chilling consideration to ponder is that on or around the 4th October, the Feast of Holy Sacrifice, Eid al Adha or Kurban Bayram, will commence. Traditionally, this is where the eldest son of a family will take a sheep or a lamb and slaughter it in accordance with Islamic custom. One third is for himself and his immediate family, one third for his extended family and the final third is distributed to the poor and needy. In the wholly perverted minds of these IS vermin, who are entirely non-representative of any true Muslim, it is entirely reasonable to believe that more and more beheadings and other heinous murders will be carried out during Eid and somehow, they will attempt to ‘justify’ their methodology and reasoning. The indefensible cannot be defended; it has to be destroyed, and with ruthless efficiency.

Quite apart from the constitutional whirlwind that swirls around the recently 'saved' United Kingdom, a new form of Desert Storm or ‘Shamal’ is blasting across the Middle East and Asia Minor in the form of Islamic State. Europe is clearly in its path and we must all do our level best to assist our European neighbours in the defence of their respective citizens as well as our own. It is only a matter of time before key targets are hit here by IS ‘sleepers’ and perhaps in a manner that would render the IRA as little more than misbehaving schoolboys. The UK government MUST initiate pre-emptive strikes now and with devastating force – delays maybe costly!


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

Monday, 25 August 2014

Islamic State – the evils of religious misinterpretation.

"Jihadi John"- Wanted for Murder!

As the Middle East continues to variously burn as regional disintegration becomes seemingly viral, more and more reports are emerging of wholesale slaughter of men, women and children and in the most horrific manner possible. Most recently, executions of hostages by way of beheading have been beamed around the world courtesy of social media and other such devices, one of the most notable being the murder of journalist James Foley by what appears to be a British born thug, aka ‘Jihadi John’. More on him, and creatures of his ilk later with suggestions too, as to how they might be dealt with once identified and located.

Throughout the ages, religion and the interpretations thereof, has been used as a pretext or permission-giver for the implementation of wholesale mass-slaughter. For example, the Inquisition cut swathes across humanity during its reign of terror during the 12th Century, its origins being in France. In brief, the Inquisition was an ecclesiastical court and process of the Roman Catholic Church setup for the purpose towards the discovery and punishment of heresy which wielded immense power and brutality in medieval and early modern times.

The Inquisition's function was principally assembled to repress all heretics of rights, depriving them of their estate and assets which became subject to the ownership of the Catholic treasury, with each relentlessly sought to destroy anyone who spoke, or even thought differently to the Catholic Church. 

This system for close to over six centuries, became the legal framework throughout most of Europe that orchestrated one of the most confounding religious orders in the course of mankind. For example, Pope Innocent III declared thus: “Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God, which conflicts with church dogma, must be burned without pity”

During the 16th Century in England, men and women – doubtless children too – would lose their lives as Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monastries Act was ruthlessly carried out as he forcibly introduced Anglicanism in the light of his 'spat' with the Pope over his divorce with Queen Catherine, his first wife. Interpretations of scripture have been used with deliberate manipulation in order to justify the actions of the few against the many. Today’s unfolding events are every bit similar, for Islamic State does not represent true Muslims by any imaginative stretch of one’s thinking.

A Muslim friend and neighbour of this columnist guided the writer towards key sources of research material on this topic, some of which is shared below:

In his book, Minhaaj as-Sunnah, Shaykhul-islaam Ibn Taymiyyah explains that “there are none more harmful to the Muslims than the khawaarj, neither the Jews nor the Christians, for they strive to kill every Muslim who did not agree with their war, declaring the blood of Muslims, their wealth and the slaying of their children to be lawful, whilst declaring them to be disbelievers. And they considered this to be worship due to their ignorance and their innovation which caused them to go astray”

This was written some 750 years ago by Taqî ad-Dîn Aḥmad ibn Taymiyyah, who was born in Harran in 1263. He lived to become an early Islamic scholar and Philosopher. He died in Damascus in 1328.

Even more tellingly, during the First Century of Islam, one of the pious originals, Imam Az Zuhree who died in 124 AH –al Hijra, wrote thus:

“Never was a severed head of an enemy brought the Messenger of Allah ever (may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) not even on the day of the battle of Badr.

When a severed head was brought to the first Caplih Abu Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) he forbade it. Once, when a severed head was brought unto Abu Bakr, so he ascended to the pulpit and said ‘We are not in need of this conduct; this is the way of non-Muslims and non-Arab’s’.

Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri is regarded as one of the greatest Sunni authorities on Hadith.

Several hundred British born men and apparently women, have made their way via Turkey to Syria and Iraq to wage their misguided war of terror upon mankind and many will wish to visit their evil ways upon the people of Great Britain, the land whence they derived their birth and infant nurture. 

It is strongly to be hoped that our Intelligence Services and agents thereof, are busily identifying these Godless creatures and that in turn, they will duly and perfunctorily neutralise them, for they and their kind should have no home nor sanctuary here, or anywhere else for that matter. 


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

Monday, 18 August 2014

Blair’s Middle East Folly – the legacy explodes!

Middle-East 'Peace Envoy', Tony Blair - the very antithesis of Peace.

In a small, picturesque town square, is gathered a sizeable group of men, elderly women and boys, some as young as just ten years of age. Above the town hall flutters a large, menacing black flag, the symbol of the Islamic State terror group and the murder squads who front them. The younger women and girls of this predominantly Christian community have all been spirited away; presumably, their fate is one of slavery and servitude. They are ‘marketable’, of course. The group of men and boys huddle together, fear seared across their very features and with very good reason, for unless they convert to the branch of Islam apparently practiced by IS they will be executed. After a hiatus period of several hours, they are slaughtered, their bodies piled high.

IS murder squads in action

The above scenario is not, however in Northern Iraq or Syria it is in the quintessentially English setting of Ambridge, the name of the fictitious town made famous by the long running radio series, The Archers. Yes, the above image is equally fictitious and deliberately so, but it is perhaps this kind of situation that Prime Minister Cameron is alluding to when he penned his eerily ‘Blair-like’ predictions, in an article in the Sunday Telegraph and in which he sets out his views as to the risk posed to Great Britain by Islamic State (IS) an organisation accurately described by MP George Galloway as a ‘Serpent of Hate’.

The Prime Minister could be right in some respects, for there are a great many radicalised British-born young men who have gone to wage terror and murder for the murder squadrons of IS. It could well be that those who return to these shores, will themselves establish such units and subjugate our towns and villages to the inhumane treatment being meted out to Yazidi’s and others in Northern Iraq, where the above scenario is almost a daily event.

Finishing the 'job' - IS savages at work

This is where British Intelligence and their military support networks have to do their work thoroughly, by way of identifying those who have departed these shores to perform their terrorist calling and it then behoves to the authorities to deny these people the right to return here. In fine, their nationality should be stripped from them forthwith and they are either incarcerated or better still, expelled.

We would not of course, be having this debate were it not for Blair’s Folly, that of invading Iraq in 2003 with his counter-part in international crime, George Dubya Bush. Since that wholly avoidable and unnecessary intervention on the pretext of Iraq holding WMD’s (they didn’t – and David Kelly was killed for saying so) the whole region has become immersed in sectarianism and is now ablaze as is Syria where in excess of 250,000 people have been slaughtered and millions more displaced, perhaps for ever. Turkey is awash with refugees –to the credit of the Turkish people – and now the Yazidi’s are arriving in South-West Turkey too. There is growing evidence however, that considerable enmity is growing as the numbers of refugees swell. There is a limit to even Turkish hospitality. Recently, groups of Syrian refugees and Turkish residents exchanged Molotov cocktails in Istanbul, or so it was reported. 

RAF Tornado GR1's

Today, we are hearing that Britain is being braced for an extended period of operational involvement in Iraq and not all of this will be humanitarian. RAF Tornado GR1 jets have been deployed to RAF Akrotiri in south Cyprus from where they are flying recon: sorties as well for intelligence gathering purposes. This is of course a euphemism for target acquisition for future air-strikes. We are being told that there will be no British ‘boots in the sand’ but nevertheless, we are intervening again in the bitter soup that we helped to stir up during Blair’s Folly in 2003.

The Middle-East burns and not only because of the baking summer sunshine; it burns because of the activities of the many and various warring factions who are active across the entire region and seemingly the only thing they have in common is the American weaponry that they employ, for certainly IS are not only well armed, trained and organised they are exclusively US armed and led by someone who is apparently of the Jewish faith. Of course, the overall ambition here (casus beli supra omnes) is for the control of fossil fuel energy that derives in the region, but the current and escalating conflict can be directly linked to 2003 and for which both Blair and Bush will long be so condemned, for on their hands is the blood of millions. History is rarely wrong, after all!


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Peace & Freedom Day –A Tribute to the Guarantor Power, 40 years on.

Atilla 1 Peace Operation begins.

The 40th Peace and Freedom Day celebrations are a just recognition of the monumental events of that day in history that was to set in train such events that would reverberate through the fabric of the island to this very day and doubtless beyond. Writers and historians whose minds are immeasurably superior to that of this columnist have catalogued the unfolding of the events of July 20th 1974 in many forms over the years, but to the visitor to Northern Cyprus a more concise account of this day is unlikely to be found in any other book than “30 Hot Days” by the eminent, late Turkish journalist, Mehmet Ali Birand: This publication can be found in most good book shops in Northern Cyprus.

Turkish White Stars air display team

On the 20th July above the Old Harbour of Kyrenia (Girne) the skies will fill with a flight of Northop F5 aircraft that comprise the Turkish White Stars Air Display team and who are themselves this year celebrating their 20th anniversary. Soaring over the Beşparmak  Mountain range and high above the skies, they will weave their aerial tapestry of exquisite skill and derring-do and will thrill the myriad crowds that will gather in the harbour, on hotel roofs and indeed any vantage point that can afford the best view of this bi-annual air display, the 2nd of which celebrates the birthday of the declaration of the Republic.

Turkish White Stars

Whilst accounts of the macro events of those times are well catalogued the micro events – those that affected ordinary Turkish Cypriot men and women are less well recorded. Their voices are seldom heard and a great many of them are no longer here to raise them anyway. Too many of these voices scream from premature and unmarked graves and it behoves upon those of us that are left to speak for them, where we can so do. Some would question (and many do) why those of us who were not directly concerned, touched or otherwise, by the conflict of the time, should devote so much time to the cause of Turkish Cypriots and with so much passion. 

TRNC Flag from 1983 onwards.

Having spent time on the island since 2002 and also having lived amongst Turkish and Turkish Cypriot people, this writer has acquired such necessary passion requisite to the task of seeking justice for these people particularly having had the honour of meeting at first hand, a number of the survivors of those times and many of their thoughts and words have been recorded by hand. Of course, this makes uncomfortable reading for the Greeks and their apologists. 

Turkish Intervention Forces-July 1974

 The Turkish Military Intervention began at 0430 (local) and with great excitement one family, who to this day remain to be residents of the village of Ozanköy, climbed onto the roof of a restaurant to witness the unfolding historical spectacle before them and the advent of a two-stage operation that would cost the lives of 1317 sons of Turkey the remains of whom today lie in the soft red soils of Turkish Cyprus in most reverently tended resting places. In the interests of balance, in excess of 1500 Greek National Guardsmen and Greek Cypriots were to meet the same fate.

Mr Denktaş (pictured above) had broadcast on BRT radio to urge calm ahead of what was about to take place whilst also issuing a general warning that incoming (Turkish) aircraft should not be engaged as to do so would mark out the area concerned for retaliatory action. A retired British officer, one General Toyeman, a resident of Ozanköy (then known as Kazavane) entreated the ‘Anne’ (mother) of the family alluded to here “not to worry; the Greeks are running away”. In response she said to him that she had plenty of supplies and that he would not go short. In fact, at this stage the Greeks were far from running away for they were very well dug in and whilst taken by surprise (they were pounding the Gunyele enclave at the time) they nevertheless inflicted some 500 fatal casualties  to the incoming Turkish Paratroopers and Amphibian forces in the first 48 hours in and around St Helarion. 

Salvation in the form of the Turkish Intervention

 On July 23rd, the Turkish forces (TSK) had entered Ozanköy en route to Bellapais. The soldiers were warmly welcomed by this and many other families who freely handed out cigarettes and food in gratitude to their saviours. At one point, five Greek military vehicles sped into the village; these were quickly ‘disabled’ and the surviving occupants were incarcerated within the welcoming walls of Kyrenia castle over which the White Stars will ‘dance’ today. 

Turkish Military War Graves

The ‘Anne’ (Mother) of Ozanköy mobilised the ladies of the village and she organised the preparation of food supplies to the TSK and these were distributed by the Turkish Cypriot Mücahit (fighters) and gratefully received so they were. Similar acts would be played out throughout the island during the entire 30 day operation and doubtless beyond. As the Turkish forces eventually swept southwards a general feeling of calm and relief fell upon this village and all the other liberated areas as Turkish Cypriots were enabled to emerge from the enclaves into which they had been cast during the previous 10 ½ years of the ‘Dark-Era’.

Turkish Cyprus Peace Mission 1974

 Slowly but surely, certainly after 1975, some people began to return from their enforced exile and today the village of Ozanköy thrives as does Northern Cyprus in general despite the inhumane embargoes that have been imposed largely at the behest of the vanquished Greeks. Many of course have never returned; a great many too never actually left and these are remembered, but remain lost in unmarked mass graves or communal wells as their unholy resting places. 

A depiction of war dead

Far away in Berlin, on July 20th, Royal Signals Sgt David McCombie was on night shift duty; these shifts were minimally staffed at the time as nothing ‘out of the ordinary’ had seemed to be on the cards, but at around 0530 Zulu time, the ‘Comm’s’ traffic suddenly began to come in with ever growing intensity. What was unfolding was the world’s reaction to the Turkish intervention on Cyprus that historic day. A ‘Crashed Out’ order was ‘flashed’ and everyone was at Battle Stations. 

Turkish Paratroopers in action - July 1974

In reaction to the Turkish military intervention the Soviet Union then under Breznev, immediately mobilised 19 armoured divisions and were directly threatening Turkey although there was universal caution in case the Russians took the opportunity to surge westwards whilst all the confusion was going on! Huge troop movements were reported too. 

The USA reacted as we might imagine and we know that Henry Kissinger was harassing the Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit to cease the intervention operation and in fact it was one of these calls that eventually led Ecevit to withdraw the intervention forces behind what we now know as the Green Line but this was a few weeks later, of course. 

It should be remembered that there had been historical enmity between Russia and Turkey dating back the 19th century (Turkic/Russo Wars 1877/8) whilst the Greece has been variously under communist governments and Makarios, down on Cyprus, certainly was a communist, amongst many other highly dubious things! There was an extremely heightened state of alert for the duration of the crisis: The West Germans were very nervous indeed especially at the Russian troop movements and as mentioned above, the worry was that the Soviets would surge westwards! Russian convoy movements increased and become more regular, adding to the tension. 

Turkish Stars display team.

The F5 Display Team or perhaps the ‘Lone Turk’ a display class F16, that carve out their mysterious art today above the hills of North Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea are no longer weapons delivery platforms but are the visual embodiment of man and machine in the unison of perfect concert. They thrill, they entertain, they enthral but at the same token they evoke memories of those who recall the events that brought the Turkish forces to the island, firstly during August 1964 (Erenköy) and then 1974 as celebrated today. They also fly to warn those who gaze at the 200,000 square metre symbol of Turkish Cypriot freedom carved into the south facing escarpment of the Five Fingers Mountains that their latent ambitions to take back the whole of the island are futile and would be costly to prosecute. 

TRNC Flags carved into the hills

But as the display ends and the F5s return to their base on the Turkish Motherland; the red, blue and white smoke clears and the sun sets in the west to close this momentous day: The Brits and other tourists may perhaps return to the bars from whence they came and Turkish Cypriots repair to their day to day lives, it is perhaps right to reflect that just 100 miles away in Syria, mankind is once more in bloody conflict again and that the Eastern Mediterranean is again the focus of mans insatiable capacity for inhumanity to man. The mountains of Cyprus of course, have seen it all before over two millennia or more of bloodshed on this ‘island of tears’.


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Health & Safety ‘Overkill’. “Too much is unhealthy”

Typical outfit, but missing glasses and gloves!

Just as the United Kingdom has become increasingly deluged in EU-led ‘red tape’, stifling legislation and undemocratically imposed laws, so another aspect of foreign intervention, that of the ever-evolving Health and Safety rules and initiatives, are taking a ‘swinging ball’ through our Civil Engineering and Construction industries. Having recently returned to operational activities in the Asphalt Surfacing sector this writer, who has some 38 years previous experience in the industry, has been amazed at the quantum change in culture on construction sites today on 2014. Imposed by the EU, but not practiced there, no one seems to actually be bothered about actually ‘building the job’ anymore!

Our industry has always involved long working hours and early mornings are the norm, but today in 2014, it is absolutely essential to be on site even earlier because it takes about half an hour to ‘tog-up’ with all the gear one is compelled to wear these days. A whole sub-industry has been created so as to fit out construction site workers with the accoutrement that is now so requisite. It is akin to a kind of fashion show these days and it is not just hard hats, but gloves, glasses, ear plugs, nose plugs and goodness knows what other kind of plugs and fancy footwear. The list is endless and the cost is huge.

Then there is the endless H&S related admin work: On a site in Buckinghamshire this week, the writer noted at one point that the site engineers spent some considerable time discussing admin points such as site personnel inductions and such-like, than any matters relating to the project itself which, incidentally is to build much needed housing! Yes, we are building something but not until all the paperwork is done and then more created to sign off something, to say they have already ‘signed-off’ something else!

The industry is unrecognisable in many ways, to that which this columnist entered in late 1976. Whole departments are dedicated to Health & Safety and their officers have wide-ranging powers. Whole regiments of these people can ‘parachute’  onto sites and pretty much everything grinds to a halt thereafter as every grain of dust is inspected, papers searched and shuffled as any transgressions are zealously sought out. The script writers of Doctor Who would be hard pressed to match this lot who, on the Doctor Who thread, might not be directly compared to the Daleks robotic intonation of “Exterminate” for by definition, this would be a somewhat ‘unsafe procedure’ but perhaps the ‘Safeleks might be inclined to threaten in a like-manner “You will be inducted, you will be induuuucted”!

The "Safeleks" Wardrobe

 Health and Safety and the application thereof has always been a matter of applying commonsense and quite frankly, the most effective way this can be effected is by looking out for your colleagues and fellow workers. Many is the time on motorway, highway and airport sites, has the writer warned those he was charged to manage to ‘watch out – trip hazard’ or ‘mind your head’ and other such straight-forward applications of safety awareness. 

With stifling counter-productive procedures now in place, building the job has become a very much secondary consideration. The old saying reminds us that Rome wasn't built in a day; well, if a modern day Rome was to be built today, in 2014 it might never be completed because the 'Safeleks' would make sure that it wouldn't get off the ground, physically or metaphorically.

In part, the modern procurement system, which involves pre-qualifying for tender selection lists, is to blame: Companies are not only vying with one another to gain higher marks in their submissions based on their abilities, but they use Health and Safety systems to the same end. In effect they are saying to each other, “we’re safer than you are…” “Oh no, you’re not…” and so the pantomime goes along.

It is hard to visualise quite where the industry will be in ten or fifteen years time, when this old ‘grunt’ will be retired, but the legions of ‘Safeleks’ are likely to grow and grow and they will doubtlessly be ‘inductinating’ all over Europe.


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services