WITH OUR beloved Cyprob on the respirator and not offered for grand public debates and heroic posturing, our politicians and the media are finding it very difficult find issues to engage in their normal sermonising.
Nobody could warn that the evil West wants a speedy closing of the Cyprob; there are no talks at which our side is making scandalous concessions; the Cyprus Republic is not in danger of dissolution; our favourite UN hate figure has resigned and gone back to Norway; the national council has no reason to meet.
Worst of all Prez Nik has delivered what the prophets of national doom were demanding – ensured the collapse of the talks – through no fault of his own I hasten to add – saw off the threat of a settlement for good, preserved the treasured status quo and exposed Turkish intransigence to all Greek Cypriots, if not anyone else.
It was a master stroke, by the wily Nik, who by taking the role of Tassos the Second has put an end to the public exploitation of the Cyprob and deprived his rivals and critics of the only issue they could use to market their alleged moral, political and patriotic superiority. With nothing happening in the Cyprob the patriotic mob has nothing to get worked up about.
Poor old Junior has been reduced to promising that he would soon present his “new strategy” on the Cyprob, also known as the “new joke”, to generate public interest in his favourite topic.
THE MEGA-FUSS that was made in the last week by newspapers and politicians about Nik’s ludicrous ‘secret letter’, showed the desperation of the Cyprob salesmen. They seized this, turned it into an issue of national importance and hysterically moralised about it for days.
This was at least Cyprob-related. As our establishment reported last Sunday, Nik had sent this letter, marked “secret” to pro-settlement acquaintances and friends “that were disappointed with the failure of the talks, explaining to them that he was blameless.” We had said we knew of five people that had received it, but subsequent revelations raised the number to 60.
The parties were incensed because the letter contained seven documents, marked as ‘secret’, they had not received. How could the prez send classified documents to civilians and hacks that he had refused to send to the party leaders, they asked. Maybe it was because there was less chance of the documents being leaked by civilians than party leaders.
It was not even as if the documents were revealing or said anything that was not known, but being Cyprob-related the issue was worth making a big fuss about. It provided an excuse to attack Nik, now that he had become untouchable regarding the Cyprob, for leaking ‘classified’ documents, which as some parties pointed out was a criminal offence.
Would Nik be indicted for leaking classified documents? AG Costas Clerides, one of the few grown-ups in our society, disappointed us all by ruling out a criminal investigation.
HAVING realised that he had messed up, Nik issued a written statement on Thursday, explaining that none of the documents enclosed in his letter were classified. They were marked as secret, together with the cover letter and envelope, because he wanted to “give emphasis to the fact that these were strictly for private use.”
This may have convinced the AG, but Phil, which made the issue its front-page lead story twice last week and its columnist wrote thousands of words expressing moral outrage about Nik’s behaviour, refused to let him off the hook, accusing him taking us all for a ride.
The paper’s lead columnist wondered how Nik had chosen the 60 individuals, including hacks, and why he had not sent the letter to any of Phil’s political hacks that covered the Cyprob? Did the hacks of biggest paper not deserve to read the Prez’s documented explanations of what happened, he asked conveying a sense of deeply-felt injustice.
Did it not occur to the columnist that Phil’s hacks were all anti-settlement and therefore very happy with Nik’s achievements in Crans-Montana? Why would he write to them excusing his actions, which they approved of anyway? Does not make any sense.
Complaining that Phil’s hacks covering the Cyprob were not sent the letter was a bit rich considering one of them is leaked exclusive info by the government spokesman, Nicos Christodoulides, so regularly he is seen as the government spokesman’s unofficial spokesman.
THERE have been demands for the names of the recipients of the notorious letter to be made public, primarily from Phil, which had labelled them ‘supporters of any solution’ that is a polite code-word for traitor, even used by Tassos the Second. By the time you read this, the names of the recipients may have been made public – the spokesman may leak the names to his unofficial spokesman – and we will all know the traitors that have the presidential seal of approval.
So far only two names have been made public. Politis boss, my good friend Dionysis Dionysiou boasted in his column last Sunday that he received the letter, while Prez Nik revealed on Wednesday night that he had sent it to Akel boss Andros Kyprianou, something the Akel deputy kept quiet, obviously feeling embarrassed to have been a recipient. He said as much on Trito radio on Thursday morning.
“It is not my responsibility if Mr Anastasiades decided to send this envelope to me. I did not want to receive it. I consider it an insult for the rest of the members of the national council. I do not understand why he sent it to me,” said Andros.
Perhaps Nik wanted to expose him as an unpatriotic ‘supporter of any solution.’
THE PHED Express is back in service and not before time. In the last 10 days one of the very few Paphites that gives Paphos a good name, mayor, Phedonas Phedonos has been doing what he does best – exposing scams and annoying a lot of smug people.
This time he focused on the scams, which resulted in ineligible people securing Turkish Cypriot properties, something that everyone knows about. But Phedonas, being the unguided missile that he is, did not follow the conventional path of making general remarks. He gave a list of names of people that were benefiting from the use of Turkish Cypriot properties while being ineligible.
One of the people he named was big-shot businessman Nicos Shacolas, who had secured a big tract of Turkish Cypriot scrubland adjacent to the area where he planned on building his Limni Resort with the two golf courses. Not being a refugee, he was ineligible, said Phed.
The great thing about the Phed Express is that once it gathers speed nobody can stop it, not even the filing of legal action for defamation by the Shacolas group.
The day after the law suit was filed, the Phed Express held a news conference to announce that the Shacolas group’s Ermes department store in Paphos was operating illegally. Ermes had a permit for a supermarket, but was operating a department store, said Phed. The municipality had written to the company about the matter, three weeks earlier, before the current row had erupted, so the Shacolas Group could not claim it was being persecuted by the Phed Express.
ANOTHER suspected scam the Phed Express delivered was the fact that many Paphites seemed to have rental agreements with the Turkish Cypriot owners of properties. The mayor said it was very peculiar that all these contracts appeared to have been signed in 1973, a year before the invasion and the transfer of thousands of Turkish Cypriot Paphites to the north. Being from Paphos himself, the mayor must know what his fellow-Paphites are capable, hence his suspicions about the 1973 contracts.
SOCIALIST party Edek, which has a big following in Paphos, did not back the mayor. On the contrary it issued an announcement on Monday accusing Phed of “serving other expediencies” of populism and “steamrollering institutions.”
His statements, the party said, “Apart from using populism to create sympathies, by including obvious cases that are blatantly clear, the aims of the mayor of Paphos are directed at serving other expediencies.” The party did not elaborate, but its principled stand against populism is commendable.
Party insiders assure me that the attack on Phed’s populism served no expediencies. It had nothing to do with the fact that one of the Paphites, named by the mayor for using Turkish Cypriot properties, happened to be the father-in-law of the Edek leader Dr Sizo.
STAVROS Malas, Akel’s presidential candidate yesterday officially announced his independent candidacy. “Powerful personalities” from the field of academia, business, economics expressed their support to the Malas candidacy, it was reported. These powerful personalities, also included three former Omonia footballers (Kaiaphas, Rauffman, Savvides), the president of the Paphos bar association, the academic and pianist Elena Mouzala and the insurance salesman Angelos Tzitzos. Very few card-carrying Akelites were among the powerful personalities supporting him in case some people started questioning the independence of his candidacy.
YOU CAN always trust Phil to put a positive spin on everything Mother Russia does. On Monday it carried a report about its sale to Turkey of the S-400 air defence system, which is an improved version of Estragosha system we bought and sent to Crete for safe keeping. The report saw only positives, saying the deployment would “create a strange anti-aircraft complex above the eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus,” and added: “Russia continues strengthening directly or indirectly its presence in the region of the eastern Mediterranean… The range of the missiles system is 400km placing the Britain-Nato base of Akrotiri within firing range.”
If the missiles can hit the hated British base of Akrotiri, (as Phil’s triumphant headline said) it must be a good development for Kyproulla, despite the damage this would cause our tourist industry. Why the Turks would attack the base of a fellow Nato-member, the report did not say, because its concern was to show that the sale of the Russian missile system to Turkey would ultimately benefit Kyproulla. Mother Russia would not have agreed to sell if it was not certain the deployment of the missiles would be to the advantage of its close friend Kyproulla.