Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Time has solved the Cyprus problem in its own way

By Loucas Charalambous

I RECEIVED a text message on Monday from Giorgos Lillikas’ party inviting me to a gathering on Wednesday that would celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ‘No’ to the Annan plan.

A few days earlier, Lillikas had also issued a triumphant statement which said, among other things: “In the referendum of April 24, 2004 we rejected the Annan plan and saved the Cyprus Republic and our country. Ten years later, the same forces are attempting to bring it back in a new guise. I urge all of you to join so we can send a message of resistance and assertiveness both domestically and to the foreign decision centres.”

I am ashamed to admit it but I did not attend the celebration. I stayed at home and went through the Annan plan again. I wanted to check some things and make sure I did not make a mistake in thinking, when I received the SMS, that Lillikas was in fact celebrating partition.

By my side I had a copy of the April 14 edition of Phileleftheros which featured the headline, “They want settlers as dowry – Turkish side demands that all settlers stay.” I went to page 173 of the plan. By April 10, 2004 (before the referendum), each side was obliged to submit to the UN Secretary-General a list of up to 45,000 persons that were not Cypriot and would the right to remain in Cyprus.

I remembered that the list submitted by the Turkish side contained 41,000 people and not 45,000. That was the number of settlers and members of mixed families that would have remained in Cyprus after a settlement. Today, 10 years later, Phileleftheros, Lillikas, Papadopoulos, Omirou, Perdikis and their ‘No’ fellow-fighters are apoplectic because Dervis Eroglu wants all settlers, who now number 150,000, to stay. And they forgot that they are guilty of this nightmarish development.

I also looked at pages 12 and 162, which set the time-frames for the withdrawal of the Turkish army and de-militarisation.  Three years ago, on January 1, 2011, there would have been 6,000 Turkish and Greek soldiers stationed here, according to the plan. By 2018 only 650 Turkish and 950 Greek soldiers would have been left.

We are now at 2014, and the 35,000 to 40,000 soldiers are still here. The resistance and the “messages of assertiveness” by Lillikas and the other super-patriots failed to get rid of a single Turkish soldier.

I then went to pages 79 to 94 that listed the time-frames for the return of Famagusta, Morphou and another 50 villages and townships. By 24th October 2007 all would have been returned to the Greek Cypriots as well as territory on the slopes of the Pentadaktylos range.

A fortnight ago I had gone for a drive to the Ayios Panteleimonas monastery in Myrtou that is scheduled for restoration. Massive pipes were being placed by the side of the road, from Ayios Vasilios to Panagra so that water that would be brought from Turkey could be taken to the Mesaoria plain. Myrtou, Ayios Vasilios, Skylloura, Kontemenos, Ayia Marina, Larnakas Lapithou and many more villages would have been returned through the Annan plan. They have now been lost for good. I doubt the Turks would be returning territory through which their water would pass.

Ten years on, prospects could not be bleaker. Time has solved the Cyprus problem in its own way. Partition is the repugnant reality. The Turkish army is here for good as are the settlers, whose numbers continue to rise. We have also lost the territory that would have been returned, while Lillikas, Phileleftheros, Omirou, Perdikis and Papadopoulos junior carry on sending messages of “resistance and assertiveness both domestically and to foreign decision centres.”

And they have the nerve to organise fiestas to celebrate their ‘No’ anniversary. They are celebrating their great achievement which was nothing else but the cementing of partition, claiming that they save the Cyprus Republic. The Republic that does not go beyond the Colocassides roundabout in Ayios Dhometios.

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