In this country, the logic of extremes has always prevailed. That is, an absurdity that gives space only to victories and defeats. Some must be winners, some must be losers. It’s not possible that just once in a while, everyone wins.

There are more than a few who do not hide their satisfaction because UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has initiated contacts for the appointment of his envoy on the Cyprus problem.

On the Greek Cypriot side, the satisfaction is widespread since, as they say, beyond the essence, i.e. the resumption of some consultations on the Cyprus problem, President Christodoulides’ insistence on the need to appoint a new envoy has also been vindicated. It is an insistence, they insist on saying, that wants to shake off – and ultimately demonstrate that he does not wish to continue – the obstructionist tactics of his predecessor Nicos Anastasiades.

The matter is certainly not a communications issue and we hope it will not remain as such from the Turkish side, which received the proposed name last week and is conferring on how to respond. The T/Cs want to make clear that they have a role and a say in the appointment of an envoy, believing in this way they enhance their sovereign equality, as they call it. Considering that they have never before been consulted on the appointment of a simple envoy of the Secretary-General, they may be right to think so today.


On the other hand, through our passions and sufferings on the Cyprus problem in the last decades, it would be good to be realistic. From 1964, when U Thant appointed Sakari Tuomioja as mediator, to the period when Antonio Guterres appointed Espen Barth Eide, no envoy was able to approach and resolve the Cyprus problem. Not because it is the most difficult problem facing humanity today, but because Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, are fundamentally problematic people. We are talking about a bunch of uncultured and self-centred people. Let us not look too far. Let us examine the Pyla agreement and the history of other passages and checkpoints.

* The Turkish Cypriots requested a road from Arsos and one from Pergamos heading towards Pyla to connect with the village, after the opening of the checkpoints, and for access to the free areas. How did the G/C side approach the request? The construction of the road, the public was told, gave the occupation troops a military advantage to control the Ayia Napa-Larnaca highway and Larnaca itself. In short, for ten years now, we have been consistently saying a resounding no to the construction of the road because from the 183 kilometres of ceasefire line in the country, it is only from the Pyla plateau that Turkey will launch a new invasion.

* The Greek Cypriots of Pyrgos have been asking for decades for the opening of the Kokkina road, which would shorten the travel time to and from Nicosia by at least half an hour. They too – like the Turkish Cypriots – invoke humanitarian reasons. Not to get to work faster, but to get to hospitals faster, as the population of the area is ageing. How is the Turkish Cypriot side dealing with this request? It is a military area, they say, so the Greek Cypriots will gain an advantage through the road. Every year, of course, the road works fine for when they fill the buses with narrow-minded Grey Wolves so they can go to Kokkina to commemorate the ongoing division of our country.

What’s missing here? Common sense. Everyone says they want a solution but refuse to take any steps that will facilitate a solution. They all refuse to see what is most important. That is, to make people’s lives easier. What matters, as we understood after the announcement of the Pyla agreement when everyone started talking through their dead brains, is the victory. Who defeated who? In this country, the logic of extremes has always prevailed. That is, an absurdity that gives space only to victories and defeats. Some must be winners, some must be losers. It’s not possible that just once in a while, everyone wins.

For everyone to win, of course, they must talk together and reach a compromise agreement. In our country, unfortunately, the gain resulting from a compromise is not recognised. Compromise is treason committed by the “supporters of any solution”, by collaborators and at best by “defeated minds”. Compromise, moreover, has no element of heroism. No heads are broken, no knives come out, no blood is spilled.

The logic

By this logic, the Greeks won in 1963. The Turks were confined to enclaves and the Greek Cypriots controlled the government and international representation of the country. They raised the Greek flag everywhere and made sure that every night RIK [Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation] closed its programme with the Greek national anthem. They threw aside the flag of Cyprus designed by the Turkish Cypriot painter and cartoonist İsmet Güney. They left unclaimed the national anthem that Makarios had asked the great Cypriot composer Solon Michaelides to write.

In 1974, the Turks won. They drove 150,000 Greeks from their homes; they control 36% of the territory and say they feel safe, although no one recognises them, due to the presence of 40,000 Turkish soldiers. They also raise the Turkish flag, and to wind us up, they even painted it on Pentadaktylos [mountain range] so we can see it first thing in the morning.

Nobody is satisfied in this country today. Neither the Greek Cypriots nor the Turkish Cypriots, and this concerns – and should concern more – young people in particular. We remain proud and unsatisfied, although occasionally, as the American cartoonist Frank Tyger said, we should perhaps “swallow our pride”. At least it’s not fattening!

In recent years we have probably come to the realisation of the well-known American musician Frank Zappa: “If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.”

From morning to night, we hear our politicians telling us not about what they hope for and what they want to change, but about what they fear. In the end, having managed to put an entire society to sleep, they end up dealing with their pockets. They came to the extreme position that no compromise is allowed due to their interest in pockets. Turkey follows the same direction, saying it wants a solution but in reality, it bullies us with daily threats in preparation for a new self-serving [land] grab. Since the G/Cs did not accept the compromise of the Annan plan or the Guterres framework, they say, let’s wait a little longer and take it all.

The envoy

We return to the appointment of an envoy. Who is not a magician, who cannot with his wand satisfy all our wishes, rational and irrational. Let us finally understand this. For there to be a solution, we have to want it. And to want it, we need to be aware of what is happening.

A compromise is neither a victory nor a defeat. As the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev so graphically put it: “If you cannot catch a bird of paradise, better take a wet hen.”


Director of Politis Newspaper. Born in Limassol, he studied history at AUTH (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and Queens College NY. He started as a journalist in 1986, working in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Since 1999, he is a Publishing Consultant at Politis newspaper, and from 2016 its Director. He lives in Nicosia.

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