By Loucas Charalambous
PRESIDENT Anastasiades and our other political wizards were last week immersed in their favourite political games – mindless demagoguery, defiant slogans and pseudo-patriotism of which there was a surfeit these days thanks to the April 1 anniversary and the visit of the president of the Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos, another demagogue.
Being so busy I doubt they found the time to read the most important piece of news over the last few days which, by sheer coincidence, was published on April 1. The number of people registered to vote in the April 19 elections for the ‘president’ of the Turkish Cypriots has increased, reaching 176,912. I viewed this as the most important piece of news, but Anastasiades and the other great political brains probably thought it was not worth a second thought.
From this figure and taking into account the proportion of those who have the right to vote it is easy to conclude that the population in the north is today at least 320,000. This number is mathematically precise if we consider that five years ago, in the 2010 election, the registered voters were 165,100 and the population (recorded in the 2011 census) was 294,906.
It should also be borne in mind that this number relates to those who have the citizenship of the pseudo-state. Apart from these, there is a large number of people from Turkey who live and work in the north but are not citizens and therefore not registered to vote. Many of them will be granted citizenship at a later stage, through marriage to people with citizenship.
Taking the matter a step further and considering that the number of Turkish Cypriots who have stayed in Cyprus was estimated by our authorities to be between 85 and 90 thousand, we could conclude that the number of Turkish settlers that have been granted citizenship is in the region of 230,000.
Let us now go back 11 years. According to the relevant provision in the ‘cursed’ Annan plan (Annex F, measure 4), on 10 April 2004, the Turkish side submitted to the UN a list with 41,000 names of non-Turkish Cypriots that would have had the right to stay in Cyprus after a settlement. The provision set a maximum of 45,000 but there were not so many settlers so the list had only 41,000.
If there is now another settlement plan for the Cyprus problem, the list would no longer include just 41,000 settlers but at least 230,000, almost six times as many. This is the great achievement of Papadopoulos, Garoyian, Christofias, Lyssarides, Omirou, Perdikis, Syllouris, Lillikas, Matsis and the rest of the political infants that starred in the heroic ‘no’.
This is also to an extent the doing of Anastasiades who in 2004, under strong pressure, may have in the end supported the ‘yes’ vote, abandoning his original idea of not taking a stand on the plan, but in the last two years has become worse than Tassos Papadopoulos. With his silly, tactical games he has undermined every effort by the UN for substantive negotiations and a settlement as his only concern is now the presidential chair and holding on to it at all costs.
As the 11th anniversary of the ‘resounding no’ approaches, its protagonists – who still boast of cementing partition, selling off Famagusta and Morphou, and keeping the Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus – should not forget to their other big success, helping the number of Turkish settlers increase by six times.
They should celebrate this feat together with their other achievements on April 24, the anniversary of the referendum, now they have a new and important ally – Anastasiades, the new ‘ethnarch’ of rejectionism.