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“… the leaders stress that the EU attaches particular importance to the resumption of and progress in the Cyprus settlement talks TO further enhance EU-Turkey cooperation.”  Turkey gets it, people here don’t?

While Ankara, in connection with the text of the latest EU conclusions, is outraged with what it rightly called, word-for-word, “the linking of progress in Turkey-EU relations to the Cyprus issue”, stressing that this will never be accepted from its side, the same old song of denial, even of things that are so obvious now in Cyprus is still going strong.

The eagerness of several people to find, in any way, an angle to mock and belittle the conclusions, with the ultimate goal of course… not the conclusions themselves, is not only a sad approach in this case.

It is a view so clinical in its approach that it also raises some practical issues for those who want to be constructive or at least prioritise reality and the common good over any obsession and the tendency we all have in this country to react negatively to the positives we see. No one is free from sin, right?

Was it… a groundbreaking matter that went into the Conclusions? Of course not. Although both issues appeared in the same paragraph for the first time and in a way that linked the two. And this is not insignificant.

Far from it.

It was this reference that angered Ankara: “… the leaders stress that the European Union attaches particular importance to the resumption of and progress in the Cyprus settlement talks to further enhance EU-Turkey cooperation.”

The day before yesterday, Turkey made clear to the European Union that it would not attend the General Affairs Council meeting on the 29-30th of this month to which it had been invited along with all the acceding countries, to also mark the twenty-year anniversary of the EU’s big enlargement. Ankara explained that the only reason for its non-attendance was this: the link made in the latest conclusions between the Cyprus Problem and progress in Euro-Turkish relations.

I am not one of those who believed or believe in the solution of the Cyprus Problem through the collection of conclusions and resolutions. This kind of deception and naivety is similar – and just as dangerous – to the kind of deception and naivety that I myself bought into for many years, ignoring the facts on this matter and confusing reality with my sincere desire for a solution to the Cyprus Problem.

Depending on where you stand, you think your chimera is the good, pure one and that those who stand against it do so either out of self-interest or out of malicious intent or both.

Of course, so do they. It’s a recipe for a dead end far from reality, much less equanimity and moderation.

Therefore, what is needed is a calmer reading which, in this case, while not giving cause for celebration, does not diminish the importance of an event which, at the very least, shows that there is a certain understanding in Europe of the need for the EU to move more actively, even if only at a verbal level, in order to play a more important role in a problem which exactly 20 years ago became a European problem, regardless of how and why. It happened.

One may not want to admit that the current government has dramatically improved Cyprus’ image vis-à-vis our European partners. It is everyone’s right to have whatever opinion they wish. I say this is exactly what happened. And it happened with a lot of work behind the scenes, mainly to convince our own partners. And they were convinced.

It is also within one’s rights to be nihilistic, to be denialist and flippant, to put party and other interests first and to cultivate a climate that suggests we are going down the drain when the facts show otherwise.

However, when we reach the point where Turkey itself is outraged and a large part of public opinion in Cyprus, after a long period of levelling everything and nihilism, is in a permanent state of misery and voluntary detachment from reality, this ought to concern us. 

The question, the basic question at least, is one: the ‘why’ for those who systematically do this is now understood. Reprehensible, but understood.

But what is our problem as a society?

And how does this situation serve us?


Costas Constantinou was born in Nicosia. He studied at the University of Vienna and, since his return to Cyprus, he has been working as a journalist and columnist for newspapers, television, radio and magazines. He currently works with Offsite.com.cy while at the same time he is the Cyprus correspondent of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) as well as the Athens-based newspapers TA NEA and To Vima and the English-language site tovima.com.

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