The Cyprus problem will not be solved as long as a few Greek Cypriots keep shouting at a few Turkish Cypriots and vice versa
The Secretary-General’s report on the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate was released and Nicos Anastasiades, as the true heir to the patriotic DNA of the forces of the Centre, began denouncing those who are maliciously scheming against Cyprus. Same old, same old. As if it were Spyros Kyprianou or Tassos Papadopoulos in power. As he has consistently been saying since 2017, the fault lies with UN Secretary-General Guterres, his representative in Nicosia Stewart, the permanent members of the Security Council are to blame, and not our way of thinking.
The discussion, as always, revolved around trivialities. The Cetinkaya stadium and the height of its fence. The shifting of some barrels in Strovilia. Around these were some more serious issues. The opening of new beaches in the fenced-off town of Varosha, preparations for new drilling activities in the Cypriot EEZ.
After the rejection of the Annan plan in 2004, the discussion turned to Morphou and Karpas. In 2005, universities were being built in and around Morphou, while new mosques were being constructed. Thousands of new settlers in Lefka, Zodia and Karpas, which also acquired a marina, and filled up with holiday villas from Yialousa to Rizokarpaso. A few weeks ago, I met a 40-year-old professor. He’s crazy about Karpas. He liked the beaches at “Yeni Erenkoy,” he told me. He’s going back next year because the accommodation around there is much cheaper than in Paphos and the beaches are relatively calmer and cleaner. Every year, hundreds of G/Cs go camping at the most beautiful beach in Karpas and Cyprus, located just before the Apostolos Andreas Monastery. Between you and me, it’s good that they do. I appreciate these supporters of a ‘whole Cyprus’ much more than the nationalist Nicos Anastasiades and his ‘partial Cyprus’ slogan, that “Limassol is flying high”. As the journalist Vassilis Rafailides once said, “it took me a long time to understand that in this country, the stupider you are, the better a nationalist you become.”
It is true that we were a little upset by what happened in Varosha, but let’s not exaggerate. The majority of people from Varosha went and voted for [Metropolitan] Athanasios of Limassol and not their own bishop who holds services in the Church of St. [George the] Exiler in the medieval town [of Famagusta]. As you can imagine, we will slowly but surely acclimatise ourselves to the situation in Varosha too. Today they are clearing roads and opening beaches. Tomorrow they will start building new luxury hotels on its golden sands. Some of our people will be compensated or will form partnerships… with the forces of the occupation! Some memories will be buried with those who carry them. Names fade and thousands of tons of concrete will change the picture for good. Look at Limassol today. Who remembers what it was like before 1974? The path has already been set. The same thing happened in Kyrenia. Some beaches in Lapithos, Karavas and Karakoumi were sold by their G/C owners. Others continued to protest until they died. In a few years, the hotels in Protaras and Ayia Napa may be considered too expensive or simply of limited appeal. Some hotels in Varosha next to medieval Famagusta, very close to Byzantine Constantia, Arsinoe, ancient Salamina and prehistoric Engomi, will be part of a huge theme park that will attract tourism 12 months a year. The voice of the Lord upon the waters. There is an island, the nationalists will cry. [Translator’s note: lines from the poem ‘Salamis in Cyprus’ by George Seferis] If we take a look at what is happening on the coast of Asia Minor, the Turks may be said to have greater respect for antiquities, as they enrich their tourist product. In Cyprus, antiquities are buried under the foundations of five-star [hotels] so that the greedy developer can gain another storey, as we saw happen in Amathus, and as is being done today in Yeroskipou.
All we have left are some papers in our hands. We have reached the point – and this is very sad – where the 1974 and 1975 resolutions are being invoked today. The majority of which called for a ceasefire and for talks to begin to alleviate the active conflict situation. We are talking about resolutions that never condemned Turkey as an invading force.
Recourse to the 1974 resolutions is not accidental. It tones down to oblivion the Ghali plan, the Annan plan, the Guterres framework. A communication trick to convince intelligent people that our politicians over the years have no responsibility. Only one side is to blame: the unjust, barbaric one. The fault lies with the international community which, after 45 years of negotiations, has not understood that the Cyprus problem is a matter of invasion and occupation and that for it to be solved, every last Turkish soldier must leave and… all refugees must return to their homes. Quite literally, our politicos are causing enormous embarrassment, even to friends of this country and to states that really want to help, subtly reminding us of the dozens of meetings, conferences, drafts, plans and frameworks for a solution that have been tabled. They remind us of the ground we have covered, the concessions made at the table, the millions of hours spent since 1964 in an attempt to figure out what it is that a million spoilt G/Cs and T/C want, besides believing that it is everyone’s duty to deal with their issues.
What has unfortunately become embedded by Spyros-Tassos and today by Anastasiades is that our friends are those who denounce the Turkish side for intransigence from morning till night. Those who try to bring the two sides together, those who tell Anastasiades and Tatar “gentlemen, you are both to blame because of your dead-end rhetoric”, are enemies.
That suits Tatar. As it suits anyone who has ridden the donkey and has started wagging his feet while the other one runs after him, sometimes slipping in the muck he leaves behind.
The Cyprus problem will not be solved as long as a few Greek Cypriots keep shouting at a few Turkish Cypriots and vice versa. It will not be solved, no matter how much my friend Michalis Ignatiou recounts from Omega [television channel] every night the exploits of Senator Menendez in Washington, no matter how much the G/Cs run after Emmanuel Macron, begging him to send the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the Eastern Mediterranean, no matter with how much determination Anastasiades boards the jet of the Republic of Cyprus and goes to Buckingham Palace to talk to King Charles about the Cyprus problem! Nor will Turkish Cypriots ever live in a decent country as long as they elect undignified leaders who are always ready to take on the role of Ankara’s subordinates in Nicosia. Mr. Tatar, as Tayyip Erdogan’s servant boy, does no service to our country.
As long as the Cypriots remain unable to deal with the Cyprus problem as a whole, some crooks will serve their interests partially. Someday Limassol will fly, someday it will be Varosha, someday Kyrenia, someday it will be Larnaca – to the glory of a few crooks.