A DAY rarely passes by without President Anastasiades, or one of his spokesmen, repeating that in Crans-Montana he showed “real political will” to reach an agreement but the process failed exclusively because of Turkey’s intransigence. This was the “whole truth” they repeat ad nauseam, which raises suspicions rather than re-assuring people.
Deputy spokesman Victor Papadopoulos, responding to an article in the press, yesterday said it was now “totally clear to every objective observer, with good faith, that the president of the Republic negotiated with real political faith, within the boundaries set by the Greek Cypriot side over time, exhausting all possibilities towards finding a Cyprus settlement that would make Cyprus a normal, independent state without dependencies on third parties.”
The president, he said, “told the whole truth to the Cypriot people on his return to Cyprus, both in his news conference and in other interviews and statements regarding what happened in Crans-Montana”.
It is very strange that two months after the collapse of the process in Switzerland, the president still feels obliged to re-assure us that he is telling the whole truth about what went wrong and that in Papadopoulos’ words he “encountered a real wall of intransigence on the part of Turkey”.
From a communications’ point of view this is not a very smart approach. People tend to disbelieve someone who is constantly insisting that he is telling the whole truth. Those who tell the truth do not bang on about it all the time. Perhaps the president feels that by repeating the same story over and over again, people will eventually believe him. This raises another question: why does he think people do not believe his version of events at Crans-Montana?
There have always been doubts about Anastasiades’ version because he handled the collapse very clumsily – it was 100 per cent the fault of Turkish intransigence – thinking he would emerge smelling of roses. While he calculated that Greek Cypriots would not believe the Turkish side’s version of events, he did not consider the possibility that Espen Barth Eide would not back his account. Eide said everyone was responsible for the failure, which undermined Anastasiades’ claim of blamelessness.
It is for this reason that Anastasiades decided to accuse Eide of lying and initiated a nasty campaign against the Norwegian, backed by Greece’s foreign minister who called the envoy a ‘lobbyist for Turkey’. Eide had not adopted a black and white approach to the failure of the talks as Anastasiades had done and emerged much more credible in the explanations he gave. Interestingly, in all the interviews he gave, he did not feel obliged to say that he was telling the whole truth about what happened.