By Loucas Charalambous
WHAT HAD Turkey’s new president Tayyip Erdogan said during his recent visit to the north to spark a storm of angry protests by our political establishment?
He said that Turkey would never accept a solution to the Cyprus problem “if this is not based on two constituent states with political equality”. Political equality, he added was “a necessity”.
In short, he said what Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership have been repeating for the last 40 years and is also included in UN resolutions. Nothing more. So why was there such a hysterical reaction by our politicians and journalists? What was it that riled them, especially this time?
Nicolas Papadopoulos said: “Erdogan once again proves wrong all those that deluded themselves about his true intentions.” Giorgos Perdikis was blunter. “The myth about the ‘good’ Erdogan that was cultivated by various circles in Cyprus has completely collapsed,” he concluded.
“The hope that the US would put pressure on Turkey has proved dangerously simplistic,” declared Giorgos Lillikas who called on President Anastasiades to “leave aside his self-delusions”. Statements by AKEL and EDEK were along the same lines, as were the comments by the well-known super-patriots of Phileleftheros and Simerini. Even Greece’s prime minister contributed some words of dejection.
They all think that by labelling Erdogan’s comments ‘provocative’ and ‘arrogant’ and by citing these as supposed proof of the notorious ‘Turkish intransigence’ which they have been using for 50 years to cover up their own political crimes, they are absolving themselves of any responsibility for the situation. But they are making one mistake.
The ‘arrogant’ Erdogan, who was supposedly speaking about two states for the first time on his visit, is the same person who accepted the settlement proposed by the UN in 2004 which was not a settlement based on two independent states.
It was a settlement based on the continuation of the existing state with a federal structure, a settlement that ensured the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops, gave us back Morphou and Famagusta, more than 40 villages and the entire buffer zone. This was what the arrogant Erdogan was willing to give us, but our political clowns rejected the settlement, surrendering everything to Turkey and allowing the Turkish army to remain here.
Why? Then, as now, they did not want a settlement because they did not want to lose their privileges and positions. Tassos Papadopoulos did not want to give up his presidency, ministers wanted to keep their ministries, deputies their seats and state officials their well-paid posts.
But let us look at this from another angle. Let us assume that their position is correct and Erdogan now wants the establishment of two independent states. What would this mean? This accentuates their blame and guilt. They killed off the opportunity when we had a settlement in our grasp and now they are claiming the obstacle is Erdogan.
What did they tell us at the time? Hold on, in a week we will be a full member of the EU and we would be able to secure a wonderful ‘European’ solution. Ten years later, where are we at?
Apart from losing Famagusta, Morphou and the other territory, apart from the fact the Turkish army is still here and apart from the fact the number of settlers has multiplied in the meantime, these apprentice political wizards have also led our economy to bankruptcy. Instead of accepting the responsibility for these political crimes, they are now claiming that they had been vindicated because of what Erdogan had said.
And instead of keeping quiet, they have the audacity to accuse us of being self-deluded and naive. Who? The political pygmies who had promised us a ‘European solution’ and ended up cementing partition.