By George Psyllides
DIKO appears to be headed into uncharted territory as prominent members are breaking ranks and taking a softer line on the Cyprus problem.
Following in the steps of former chairman Marios Garoyian who – unlike party leader Nicolas Papadopoulos – reportedly called to congratulate newly elected Turkish Cypriot leader, DIKO vice chairman Christos Patsalides penned an editorial on Sunday arguing in favour of supporting Mustafa Akinci.
“Let us not kill hope,” Patsalides said in an article published by Politis. “Forty-one years are too many.”
Patsalides said everyone knew Turkey’s role and influence was an obstacle to a solution of the Cyprus problem.
But he said that this should be an additional reason to make Greek Cypriots support and encourage any effort on Akinci’s behalf towards a constructive dialogue that would ultimately lead to a viable and functional solution.
“Let us support him in an effort we think he should make to convince Turkey to abandon its policy of partition,” Patsalides wrote. “Let us not jump the gun with negativity and pessimism, let us not be confrontational and reactionary all the time.”
Patsalides said everyone on the island, but especially the political leaderships, must find ways out of the deadlock with prudence and responsibility, without fanaticism, and having learned from the mistakes of the past.
This was a far cry from the line held by Papadopoulos.
On the night of Akinci’s election on April 26, Papadopoulos tweeted: “Those who claim that the Cyprus problem will be solved because the Turkish Cypriot negotiator has changed are simply exculpating Turkey.”
After being confronted, the DIKO leader replied “Why exactly should I congratulate the occupation leader?”
Politis said other party members, like MP Athina Kyriakidou, were also distancing themselves from the hard line held by the party, but it does not seem there is a plan to go for a full rift and create a new party just yet.