THE defence ministry was in a flap yesterday after reports surfaced claiming the existence of a faction of high-ranking officers within the Cyprus military aiming to get rid of army chief Stylianos Nassis.
Minister Fotis Fotiou was due to meet with the chief and deputy chief of the National Guard to discuss the issue.
According to the reports, the faction is said to have initially opposed the NG chief shortly after he took the reins and imposed rules on hierarchy and promotions, which effectively served to keep some officials at the same rank for up to eight years – contrary to common military practice.
The next alleged point of friction was reported to be discipline throughout the ranks. The chief’s effort to impose by-the-book discipline from the lowest to the uppermost levels in the military seems to have been met with considerable resistance, the reports said.
A third source of conflict related to the special considerations granted to conscripts facing social or financial hardship, which were reported to be abused by officers for party favours. Removing the discretion for special considerations from officers brought things to a grind.
The most recent row relates to the decision regarding the maintenance of 11 Russian-made MI35 helicopters. The officers are said to favour the replacement of the helicopters via the purchase of new ones. In an attempt to further their agenda, the officers are reported as having harassed some of the decision-makers on this issue via telephone calls in which threats of professional hindrance were issued.
Nassis is said to be ready to resign his post, should he not receive political cover.