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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 April, 2004, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Press agonises over Cyprus referendum
'Oxi' ('No') vote sign in southern Nicosia
In southern Nicosia, campaigning is fierce

As Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots prepare to hold referendums on United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for the reunification of Cyprus, regional newspapers reveal the depth of soul-searching over the landmark event.

Many Greek Cypriot papers are critical of their government's rejection of the UN plan, although one is campaigning passionately against it. A leading Greek daily would be glad to see the end of partition.

One Turkish Cypriot daily is firmly in favour of maintaining the status quo, while others support a 'Yes' vote. The Turkish mainland press believes the result is a foregone conclusion.

Three days before the referendum, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus is being blackmailed from abroad and undermined from within. Ours is the only country on the planet whose citizens are asked to sign to erase it and abolish it. We are the only citizens who have no right to defend our state.

The Annan plan does not avert partition. It legalises it with our signature. It does not contribute to the peaceful coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. It torpedoes it. It raises a wall of partition and creates borders.

This is why we must say a permanent 'NO' to Cyprus's burial.

Greek Cypriot I Simerini

It is no secret that negative public attitudes toward the Annan plan have been imposed by an unscrupulous campaign of misinformation and alarmism, formulated by the presidential palace and implemented by a group of pro-government politicians and television stations.

Greek Cypriot Cyprus Mail

It would be regrettable if slogans of political deceit and distortion accompanied us in our march in this critical hour of our rendezvous with history... It is up to us to choose between a solution of reunification, with all its favourable prospects, and a situation of international isolation with all the adverse consequences that are evident, quite evident.

We have seen the first signs of isolation from the European Parliament and in the statements of big and proven friends of ours... This ought to bring everyone to their senses.

Greek Cypriot Alithia

With the government imposing a skilful misinformation campaign... and with millions of pounds used lavishly by both sides in the campaign in favour of a 'No'... we return to the era of total obscurantism, in which democracy is not only undermined but also endangered.

Following clear orders from the Presidential palace, ministers and government officials are racing to stress the negative elements of the Annan plan and to call on public employees, policemen and military officers to vote against the plan... Government officials are trying to terrorise people with uncertainty over their jobs

Commentaries in Greek Cypriot Politis

Cyprus decides and Greece supports the decision.

Greece's To Vima

'No' to partition... With the result of the referendum virtually predetermined now, the whole effort should shift to preparing for the day after, which must find Hellenism united and determined to make a new effort, for Cyprus to be vindicated.

Greece's Elevtherotipia

We must obstruct the imperialists and their collaborators among us, who have drawn up the Annan plan to undermine the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on 24 April... Let us pull ourselves together and say 'No' to the Annan plan when the referendum is held. We will teach the imperialists, the Greek and Greek Cypriot side, and the agents among our people an unforgettable lesson if we do so.

Commentary in Turkish Cypriot Volkan

What is happening to us?... The Turkish Cypriots will shoulder significant responsibility in the referendum on 24 April. Achieving success in the difficult task ahead will be very important from the point of view of their future, regardless of what the outcome of the voting might be.

Commentary in Turkish Cypriot Halkin Sesi

I need to be the child of an independent state to survive.

Recalling that the island has been divided for many years and stressing that the division must end, the Greek Cypriots in Nicosia said that they will cast a 'Yes' vote in the referendum.

Quotes in Turkish Cypriot Kibris

The problem is very simple: Turkey will pay the cost of a 'No' vote to the Annan plan in northern Cyprus. The EU door will be closed to it.

Commentary in Turkish Cypriot Afrika

What [US Secretary of State Colin] Powell offers to the Turkish side is not recognition, but the Taiwan model.

Commentary in Turkish Cypriot Afrika

My heart wants to expel Greek Cypriots from Cyprus and establish a Turkish republic on the whole of Cyprus. Making the Mediterranean a Turkish lake and pushing against the doors of Vienna again would be nice, nationalist ideas too. But there is also reason and practical reality to consider.

Commentary in Turkey's Hurriyet

There is no need for further discussion. Northern Cyprus is running towards a 'Yes'... With the influence of [Turkish Prime Minister] Tayyip Erdogan, media support and insufficient opposition efforts, the Turkish Republic of Cyprus is living the last days of its very short life... Turkish Cypriots will be tying the noose around their necks with their own hands.

[Turkish Cypriot leader] Rauf Denktas says 'We are losing our sovereignty'; they [Turkish Cypriots] say 'Forget about the sovereignty, money will come from the EU!'

Commentaries in Turkey's Cumhuriyet

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC's Susannah Price
"Russia blocked the UN resolution saying the UK and the US were trying to rush it through"

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