Asked whether he believes that Turkey’s attitude towards Cyprus could change in the event of the election of the opposition leader in Turkey, President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides said last Saturday that “we have to wait to see the results of who the new leader of Turkey will be, how he will position himself and especially on the prospect of strengthening EU-Turkey relations”. He said that he was following the statements made by both the Turkish president and the opposition leader “very closely” (who would doubt it?), before adding: “but we have to move on the basis of real facts.”
I didn’t understand why he stressed that moves should be made on the basis of real facts, but I continued observing the president to see where he was going with it.
“As far as Turkey’s general approach to the Cyprus problem is concerned,” he said, “a substantial change is not expected in the event that the opposition leader wins. What interests me, what we are examining internally and have both our own analyses as well as the assessments of third parties, is in relation to the prospect of strengthening the EU’s relations with Turkey, because that is what we believe can unlock the prospect of resuming the talks,” he added.
I will not reiterate that the logic of strengthening the EU’s relations with Turkey was implemented and had succeeded to the highest degree in 2004, when all those who today discovered the need to unlock EU-Turkish relations voted ‘no’. I will refer to the great discovery that is being widely circulated in the run-up to the Turkish elections (held yesterday) [Translator’s note: May 14], that Turkey has a firm national policy that is not altered by any given president or prime minister. Therefore, our thinking goes, the issue is not who gets elected in Turkey, but Turkish intransigence, which is chronic and observed by all Turkish governments.
This rationale deprives the Greek Cypriot leadership of any possibility of handling the Cyprus problem and I wonder why the President is waiting for the results of the Turkish elections to “move on the basis of real facts”. What’s the point, since the Turks are intransigent, provocative, negative and expansionist? But has anyone looked back to notice the intransigence shown by Makarios in 1972, as claimed by Glafcos Clerides, and the rejectionist stance assumed by everyone after the invasion and until 2017.
Indeed, Turkey will not change if its president changes, but what do we care? It is we who have to change.