WE ARE bracing ourselves for entry into the rough seas of an election period that is marked by hysterical rhetoric. Perhaps it is for this reason the so-called parties of the centre – incidentally, it would be more accurate to refer to them as ‘far-right’ – have started citing, as an argument against a settlement of the Cyprus problem, that we could not trust Turkey to implement all the provisions of an agreement.
DIKO chief Nicolas Papadopoulos, speaking at the Athens Energy Forum 2016 organised by the New York Times, made it clear that even if there were a settlement, we should still not co-operate with Turkey in the energy sector because Greek Cypriots did not trust Turkish politicians.
Someone could counter this argument by saying there were mechanisms via the UN, EU, NATO that would force Turkey to fulfil its obligations. If the far-right parties believed that these mechanisms were ineffective, they would have been more consistent if they proposed abandoning the talks as, according to their evaluation, these were a waste of time and energy.
What I would like to point out is that if there were a Nobel Prize for Political Schizophrenia or Untrustworthiness, Cypriot politicians would have a sterling record of enviable successes and would have been known by everyone, including the Papua tribe of New Guinea. From the establishment of the Cyprus Republic until today we would have boasted the highest number of Nobel winners as a proportion of our population. The supporting data is overwhelming and exciting. Limited space, however, allows me to list only a very small compilation.
Top of the untrustworthiness league was the first president of the Republic of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios. As president in the first years of the Republic’s existence, he worked on its destruction through the notorious Akritas plan with a subsequent president, Tassos Papadopoulos, as one of his accomplices. The whole plot was set up in order to achieve enosis, which was expressly ruled out by the constitution and which every president takes an oath to respect and obey.
Later, in 1968, displaying some insight and moderation, Makarios explained to the Cypriot people, that while union with Greece was desirable it was unachievable. This turn was necessary for the talks between the two communities to commence. But while the talks to amend the constitution were taking place, some of Makarios’ ministers at every opportunity praised enosis as the only national option.
Even Makarios was often carried away by the flow and had occasional outbursts in support of enosis, which according to his declarations was unachievable. At a memorial service in Yialousa in 1971 he said: “Cyprus was Greek since the dawn of history and will remain Greek.” The confusion among foreign diplomats was total. Foreign diplomats who described the Greek Cypriot leadership as “schizophrenic” were more than justified. In truth, what else could it have been?
The words and deeds of our deputies are document masterpieces of glaring contradictions and about-turns. What stands out perhaps is the criminalisation of rusfeti. Cyprus’ deputies, in their efforts to ensure equality before the law, are constantly telling us that rusfeti is a violation of constitutional law. What schizophrenia! With deputies, who pose as the custodians of legality, as the protagonists and the parties backing them, rusfeti is still the national sport of Cypriots.
All the parties are emphatically schizophrenic. DISY, for example, transmits two completely contradictory messages. One is optimistic and cheerful – it relates to the meetings of the DISY leader with representatives of Turkish Cypriot parties in an attempt to forge a better communication and understanding between the two communities. The other is ominous and nightmarish – every year the party’s leading officials attend the memorial service for General Grivas, to the joy of ELAM and the remnants of the criminal EOKA B.
If Pindarus were alive today he would have accused Pindaru (the Nicosia street where DISY headquarters are located) of opportunism and would probably have written at least one poem about the lax political ethics of our country.
AKEL is no different. While it had been strenuously championing the Annan Plan, a few days before the referendum it made an 180-degree turn, coming up with the slogan “Vote ‘no’ so we can cement the ‘yes’,” a theory that is extremely difficult for any rational person to comprehend; possibly more difficult than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. DIKO, meanwhile, accepts the settlement of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation (BBF) yet reviles and demonises it on a daily basis.
Turkish Cypriot politicians have good reason to be at a loss – they do not know who and when and where is speaking the truth or lies. They do not know what to conclude.
One would have thought that the prestige and moral rectitude of the members of the National Council would never have been doubted. Unfortunately, the recent leaking of a confidential document by a member or members of the National Council, a few hours after it was given to them by the president, emphatically shows that not even the leaders can inspire confidence or trust.
In conclusion, as many doubts as Greek Cypriot politicians have about the trustworthiness of their Turkish colleagues, the latter have as many if not more about our politicians.
The moral: a culprit cannot pass moral judgements on others.
George Koumoullis is an economist and social scientist