21 May 1997

Concert in Nicosia (eng)

Gov't lauds calm holding of joint concert in Nicosia

The government yesterday expressed a hope that the aims of the organizers of a joint concert by a Greek and a Turkish singer at a stadium in Nicosia's buffer zone had been attained concerning the need for rapprochement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

"The concert was held in a civilized and calm atmosphere," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

However, he condemned incidents which took place away from the stadium, noting that "in free states, all activities must be able to develop freely."

Police used tear gas to break up groups of young Greek Cypriots in the free part of the Cypriot capital. The youths threw firebombs to protest the concert by Greek and Turkish singers Sakis Rouvas and Burat Kut, respectively.

The concert, organized under the auspices of the United Nations, was held at the Taxim Stadium in the buffer zone, which has divided the island republic since the 1974 Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of one third of Cyprus.

Athens News Agency, 21/5/1997

Η συναυλία στην Κύπρο στις 19/5/1997 (eng)

Ο ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙΣΤΗΣ Σάκης Ρουβάς είναι ένας πολύ όμορφος νέος, που φοράει δερμάτινα πανταλόνια και «φρουφράτα» πουκάμισα, χορεύει, όταν βρίσκεται στην πίστα και με τα «σόου» του ξετρελαίνει τα κοριτσόπουλα των 15-16 χρόνων. Ανόητος, όπως νομίζουν μερικοί, δεν είναι. Αν ήταν ανόητος, δεν θα είχε έξυπνο μάνατζερ, δεν θα έκανε σωστές επαγγελματικές κινήσεις (κέντρα, συναυλίες, δίσκοι), δεν θα διάλεγε τραγούδια που του «πάνε» και δεν θα κέρδιζε τα λεφτά που κερδίζει.

Ο Σάκης Ρουβάς μαζί μ' έναν Τούρκο «τραγουδιστή της νεολαίας», ονόματι Μουράτ Κουτ, πήραν μέρος σε μια συναυλία, που οργάνωσαν, προχθές, τα Ηνωμένα Έθνη, στην πράσινη γραμμή. Η συναυλία έγινε με την έγκριση της κυπριακής κυβέρνησης και δεν είχε την αναμενόμενη επιτυχία: κόπηκαν πολύ λιγότερα εισιτήρια απ' όσα περίμεναν οι διοργανωτές.

Αντίθετα, η «αντισυναυλία», όπως έγραψαν χθες «ΤΑ ΝΕΑ», «εξελίχθηκε σε μαζική συγκέντρωση διαμαρτυρίας 5-6 χιλιάδων πολιτών». Δεν έλειψαν, φυσικά, τα επεισόδια. Συμπλοκές, πετροπόλεμος, δακρυγόνα, φωτιές. Είχαμε και τραυματισμούς. Και συλλήψεις. Κατά τα άλλα, η εκδήλωση ήταν φιλειρηνική. Και είχε στόχο την «επαναπροσέγγιση Ελληνοκυπρίων και Τουρκοκυπρίων».

Να πω, από την αρχή, την άποψή μου. Πρώτον, κακώς έγινε η συναυλία στις 19 Μαΐου, μέρα μνήμης και πένθους του Ελληνισμού για τη γενοκτονία των Ποντίων από τους Τούρκους. Δεύτερον, κακώς επιλέχθηκε ως χώρος για την εκδήλωση η αιματοβαμμένη πράσινη γραμμή. Αυτά όφειλε να τα σκεφτεί όχι ο ΟΗΕ, που δεν έχει τέτοιες ευαισθησίες, αλλά η κυπριακή κυβέρνηση. Και, βεβαίως, ο νεαρός Έλληνας τραγουδιστής, που δεν είναι νησί, αλλά, υποθέτω, ανήκει στο κορμί του ελληνικού λαού.

Από κει και πέρα, όμως, η συναυλία έπρεπε να γίνει. Σε άλλο χώρο, επαναλαμβάνω. Και όχι, βεβαίως, στις 19 Μαΐου. Μακάρι να πραγματοποιούνται τέτοιες εκδηλώσεις. Μακάρι να έρχονται οι νέοι σε επαφή. Να τραγουδάνε, να αναπτύσσουν φιλίες, να ερωτεύονται. Ο Ντενκτάς είναι εκείνος που θέλει τους Τουρκοκυπρίους εγκλωβισμένους. Τον Ντενκτάς και την Τουρκία ευνοεί η ακινησία. Αν επιτραπεί στους Τουρκοκυπρίους να κυκλοφορούν ελεύθερα στην ελληνική Κύπρο, όπου η ζωή είναι όμορφη, πλούσια, φωτεινή και όχι μίζερη, το κέρδος των Ελληνοκυπρίων θα είναι μεγάλο. Γι' αυτό και ο Ντενκτάς παίρνει τα μέτρα του. Αντίθετα με την κυπριακή κυβέρνηση, που επιδιώκει την επικοινωνία των Τουρκοκυπρίων με τους Ελληνοκυπρίους.


The concert in Cyprus

Sakis Rouvas is a very handsome young man, who wears leather pants and funky shirts, he dances and with his "show" drives 15 - 16 year old girlies wild. Stupid, like some people think he is, he most definitely is not. If he was he wouldn't have hired a smart manager and he wouldn't have made the right career moves (clubs, concerts, albums), he wouldn't have chosen songs that suit him and he wouldn't have earned the money he does.

Sakis Rouvas along with a Turk "youth singer" named Bourat Kout, participated in a concert that was organised yesterday (19/5/97) by the U.N. in the Green Line in Cypros. The concert that took place with the blessing of the Cypriot Goverment was not a success. The tickets weren't sold as the organisers expected.

On the contrary the anti - concert as was reported by the greek newspaper "TA NEA" yesterday turned into a massive rally of protest with 5.000 - 6.000 participants. Of course this wasn't uneventfull. Stones were thrown, affrays with the police, fires broke out, tear - gas was used, etc. There were injured people and naturally arrests. On the whole it was a peaceful protest (yeah, right!). The purpose of this was the reconsiliation of the Greek Cypriots with the Turk Cypriots.

I'll say my opinion from the beggining. Firstly the concert shouldn't take place on the 19th of May. That is a day for remembering and grieving for all Greeks. That is the day of the genocide of the Greeks of the Black Sea by the Turks. Secondly, it shouldn't have taken place on the Green Line, that land is covered with blood and it is disrespectful and tactless to sing and dance over it. These things should have been taken into account, not by the U.N. that has no such interest and history, but by the Cypriot goverment. And of course Sakis being Greek should have thought of these things too.

But beyond that the concert was something that should have happened. At another time and place, I repeat but it should happen nevertheless. I hope that there are a lot of happenings like that organised in the future. I wish the young to sing and dance and fall in love and be friends. Denctas is the one who wants the Turks of Cypros confined. Denctas is the one who profits from this hate and isolation. If the Turks of Cypros are allowed to see the other side of the island, the Greek side, where life is sunny and cheerful and wealthy and not miserable, the Greeks of Cypros will profit a great deal. And that is something Denctas doesn't want. On the contrary that is what the Greek goverment of Cypros are after.

Newspaper, "TA NEA" 21/5/1997

19 May 1997

More about the concert in Cyprus (eng)

As all is set for tonight's controversial UN- sponsored bicommunal concert by Greek and Turkish pop stars, the Cyprus government said it will not attend but repeated its support to holding the event.

Government Spokesman, Manolis Christofides, said it was the government's political decision for the President and officials not to attend the concert because they wanted the concert to be purely a "UN and young people's gathering".

However, he expressed the hope that similar concerts will be held in the future, covering the island's population.

At the same time, the spokesman reassured that all security measures are being taken by the UN to safeguard the security of all those to attend the concert.

"Tonight's concert message is the encounter of the youth of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots", Christofides said.

His statements echoed those of Justice and Public Order Minister, Nicos Koshis, who expressed the conviction that everything will run smoothly at the bicommunal concert and that measures taken will prove in the end, "unnecessary".

The Minister said he had no reports about the discovery of a bomb at the venue of the concert, as published in a Greek daily.

The concert has sparked criticism in both Cyprus and Greece, not only about the venue but also about the choice of date, the singers and the absence of an anti-occupation slogan.

Today, May 19, marks Kemal Ataturk Day, (the founder of modern secular Turkey) and has been declared the anniversary of Turkey's massacre of Pontiac Greeks on the Black Sea, between 1916-1923.

In the Turkish-occupied areas, the right extremist group "Grey Wolves", responsible for the killings of Greek Cypriots last summer during peaceful demonstrations, claimed they wouldn't have been responsible for the safety of those attending the concert, if the Turkish singer Burak Kut had come to Cyprus via Athens and Larnaca.

Kut arrived yesterday in Cyprus through the illegal Tymbou airport in the Turkish-occupied areas.

The Turkish Cypriot press today referred to death threats by the "Grey Wolves" against Kut.

The extremist organisation called on all Turkish Cypriots to boycott the concert, claiming racial discrimination because Turkish settlers were refused tickets.

An hour before the concert, the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation and the Pancyprian Anti-occupation Movement, will stage a demonstration at central Eleftheria Square in Nicosia against the concert.

In Greece, Government Spokesman Demetris Reppas said the two singers should not avoid the nature of the Cyprus problem and the possible repercussions it might have.

Meanwhile, Greek pop star Sakis Rouvas, who kept everyone guessing until the last minute whether he would attend the concert, arrived on the island early today in a private jet.

Rouvas was whisked at the Police Headquarters for a briefing from senior police officials and officers of the United Nations Peace- keeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) on the security measures taken by the island's security authorities and the UN.

Police spokesman, Glafcos Xenos, told reporters Rouvas is not worried at all about tonight's concert and that he is sure all necessary measures have been taken.

Xenos said the Police was satisfied about the level of measures taken and noted that around 500 officers will be on duty to ensure the concert goes ahead smoothly.

However, he emphasised that UNFICYP bears the sole responsibility for the security of those attending the event at the abandoned Turkish Cypriot "Cetin Kaya" football club pitch, situated in the UN- controlled buffer zone.

Rouvas made his first appearance around midday, when he was taken to the site of the concert for a general rehearsal.

Dressed casually in faded jeans and a T-shirt, Rouvas, whose appearance on the island on other occasions caused a sensation amongst the Greek Cypriot female population, did not answer to questions on the reaction his presence has caused but just smiled.

Rouvas and Kut will give a joint press conference at the end of the concert at the Ledra Palace hotel in the UN buffer zone, opposite the concert venue.

Meanwhile, the Greek board of the "Abdi Ipekci" award, given to Greeks and Turks who promote Greco-Turkish relations, applauding the two pop stars decision to hold the concert despite the furore, said it will propose Rouvas and Kut for the award of friendship and peace.

The concert, for which UNFICYP gave out some 6.000 free tickets to both communities, will be attended by representatives of the majority of the island's political parties and foreign diplomats.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of Cyprus northern territory.


17 May 1997

Why did Sakis give that concert in Cyprus (eng)

A lot of people have asked me why did Sakis give that concert in Cyprus at 19/5/1997 and why was it so controversial? I hope that the following article sets the record straight as to what Sakis intentions were and why the concert was "welcomed" the way it did by Greeks and Turks alike.

A remarkable concert should be taking place on May 19. This concert, a joint performance by Burak Kut, a pop idol from Turkey, and Greek recording star Sakis Rouvas, is to take place on the Green Line in Nicosia, the capital of divided Cyprus. It is the first time large groups of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots have come together since the island state was partitioned in 1974 during a civil war. That partition, known as the Green Line, is patrolled by the world's longest running United Nations peacekeeping operation. The United Nations are hosting the concert, providing security, and distributing the tickets, all free, evenly to both sides of the Green Line. The concert is an extremely brave undertaking for the two performers, given the historical enmity between Greece and Turkey, the sensitivity of the "Cyprus Question" in both countries, and the fear of the resumption of active fighting between the two groups by all Cypriots. Greek nationalists in Greece and Cyprus believe Cyprus should be annexed by Greece, while Turkey invaded in 1974 to prevent such an occurrence (following a Greek-Cypriot military coup) and has maintained troops in the north ever since. Greek troops are also stationed on the island. In 1983, the Turkish- north declared itself independent as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a state only recognized by Turkey, while the Greek- south continued as the Republic of Cyprus, a state that once encompassed the entire island when it became independent in 1960. The Republic of Cyprus (Greek) enjoys international recognition, a UN seat, and has applied to join the European Union while TRNC remains isolated. Both Greece and Turkey wish to resolve the crisis with the outcome being an independent, united Cyprus with constitutional guarantees for the Turkish minority. This concert is one small step towards that goal, and is reminiscent of a concert held three years ago in Lebanon. In 1994, Fairouz, one of the most popular singers in the Arab world, performed in her homeland for the first time since her country had disintegrated into civil war and was subsequently destroyed by Israel and Syria. She had vowed not to perform in her country until peace returned to Lebanon. These three performers, Fairouz, Burak Kut, and Sakis Rouvas, are to be commended for their activities and should serve as models of selflessness for other pop stars, many of whom are too caught up in their own egos to understand what is actually of importance in their own societies.

Source: Adrian Higgs, Billboard: May 17, 1997

16 May 1997

«Παρακαλώ, όχι πολιτικές ερωτήσεις»! (eng)

Ενήμερος για τις αντιδράσεις που έχει προκαλέσει και με μότο «δεν είμαστε πολιτικοί, αλλά τραγουδιστές» ο Σάκης Ρουβάς και ο Τούρκος συνάδελφός του, Μπουράτ Κουτ, χθες σε συνέντευξη Τύπου που έδωσαν στη «Μεγάλη Βρετάνια» έβαλαν στην άκρη το μείζον πολιτικό θέμα του ψευδοκράτους και ανακοίνωσαν πως η κοινή συναυλία τους στην πράσινη γραμμή θα γίνει, έτσι όπως είχε προγραμματιστεί από τον Οργανισμό Ηνωμένων Εθνών.

Πολιτικό το θέμα ο Σάκης είχε βγάλει τα σκούρα γυαλιά του προφανώς γι' αυτό αλλά ο «μάνατζερ» Ηλίας Ψινάκης φρόντισε να ζητήσει: «Παρακαλώ, όχι πολιτικές ερωτήσεις».

Πιο... πρόθυμος όμως ο καλλιτέχνης είπε πως μπορεί να απαντήσει σ' όλες τις ερωτήσεις, με μόνιμη επωδό την ειρήνη, τη συμφιλίωση και τους νέους.

Όσο για τα όσα έχουν εξαγριώσει πολλούς στην Κύπρο και έντονα είχαν διαμαρτυρηθεί και τα μέλη της Κυπριακής Ομοσπονδίας Μοτοσυκλέτας, ο Σάκης Ρουβάς προσπάθησε να ανασκευάσει. Δεν είπε, λέει, πως τα προβλήματα της νεολαίας στην Κύπρο είναι το AIDS και τα ναρκωτικά, χωρίς να αναφέρει και την κατοχή.

Στις ερωτήσεις για το νόημα αυτής της κίνησης και για τις δραστηριότητες του ΟΗΕ που έχει αναλάβει την όλη διοργάνωση και την ασφάλεια όσων θα παρακολουθήσουν τη συναυλία, ο Σάκης Ρουβάς έδειξε την απόσταση που τον χωρίζει από την κατάσταση που βιώνουν οι Κύπριοι αυτούς, δηλαδή, που καλεί να τον ακούσουν στη συναυλία.


Please no more political talk

Thought Sakis was well informed of the reactions he has caused and with the motto "we are not politicians, we are singers" he and his Turk colleague Bourat Kout, yesterday (15/5/1997) in a press conference at the hotel "Great Bretania", they set aside the political issue of Cyprus and announced that their common concert at the Green Line will take place as was programmed by U.N.

The matter was political and Sakis knew it but his manager, Ilias Psinakis, make sure to say: "Please, no more political questions".

The artist himself was more willing to answer questions for the sake of "peace and comradeship among young people".

As for things that have made furious many Cypriots and have caused the members of the "Cypriot Confederation of Motorcycles" to protest intensely, Sakis tried to make up. He didn't say, according to him, that the problems of the young people in Cyprus are just AIDS and narcotics, without mentioning the occupation.

In the questions about the meaning of this action and the activities of U.N. that has organised the whole thing Sakis Rouvas showed the distance that separates him from the situation that Cypriots go through every day. And these people are supposed to go to his concert.

Newspaper, TA NEA