Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Anastasiades’ pointless temper tantrum

By Loucas Charalambous

THE ‘WITHDRAWAL’ of President Anastasiades from the talks reminds one of the well-known saying from the Cypriot vernacular, that “the anger of the peasant is a loss to his pocket.”

It also reminded me of a simple-minded character from the 1970s called Takis. He was a very likeable chap who would walk the streets of Nicosia carrying his belongings in many bags and was generally known as “Takis who throws his things”.

Takis had a paranoid fear of the police and we, being nasty teenagers, would cruelly tell him that we would call the police to arrest him. At the uttering of the word ‘police’, poor Takis would fly into a rage, cursing and shouting at us – “You rascals, if you annoy me again I will throw all my things.”

We would wind him up again – just like the Turks have been doing to us with the seismic ship Barbaros – and a furious Takis, cursing and crying, would open one bag after the other and empty the contents, which included cups, containers, worry-beads, keys, clothes and trinkets, on to road.

The road would be filled with Takis’ things and traffic would stop. We would then run away and the hapless Takis would collect his things and put them back in the bag.

Back to the talks. Someone asked me, what Anastasiades wanted. The answer: he just found a pretext to stop the talks’ procedure. He has become just like Christofias and Papadopoulos – he does not want a settlement, any settlement.

He wants, like his predecessors, the perpetuation of the status quo because this ensures that he remains seated in the presidential chair.
It was no accident that he wasted a whole year after his election, without making any move about the Cyprus problem.

Nor was it a coincidence that the proposals he submitted to the other side contained the insane demand that the Greek Cypriot community would elect the Greek Cypriot president and Turkish Cypriot vice president.

The man is trying to destroy all possibility of an agreement, presumably because only the continuation of the status quo would ensure he holds on to the presidency, at least until 2018.

This is the only rational explanation for the foolish decision he took, amid much fanfare, with the rest of our political dwarves. At the time of writing, there was no information that Turkey had declared a day of mourning or its President Erdogan was inconsolable because Anastasiades had decided to withdraw from the talks.

Dervis Eroglu responded to the decision on the same day. He said: “We want them to return to the talks. But if they do not want to return, we will not force them back.”

This is Anastasiades’ achievement – allowing Eroglu to mock us. Of course, in a few days, his self-delusion that the Americans and Europeans will force Turkey’s ship out of our EEZ will be exposed.

There are two possibilities now. First Turkey would find an excuse to justify an even bigger intervention in our EEZ. Ankara would tell anyone who made representations the following: “As we have been saying all along, the Greek Cypriots want everything for themselves. Anastasiades said that after a settlement the revenue from the natural gas would be shared by everyone in Cyprus. The Greek Cypriots do not want a settlement and have quit the peace process. But the drilling for gas continues which shows that they want it all for themselves.”

Second, foreign countries that have become fed up of our antics could turn round and tell us, “We have had enough and do not care whether you quit the talks.”

If they do not say this, they will explain to Anastasiades that for as long as he boycotts the talks, Turkey has a pretext to step up the gas explorations in Cyprus’ EEZ and that his only option is to return to the talks.

In which case, Anastasiades will have to grudgingly swallow his pride and pick up his things, just like Takis used to do.

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