By Loucas Charalambous
EVERY DAY that passes, with the talks procedure in the balance – mainly because of our side’s tactical manoeuvres – reinforces the view that has been expressed ad nauseam by this column.
The procrastination, indecision and diffidence by President Anastasiades that have prevented him from taking the daring decisions that would lead to the speedy conclusion and presentation of an agreement allow the sworn enemies of a settlement that dominate our political lunatic asylum to step up and intensify their campaign. They are preparing the setting of schizophrenic rejectionism in which, as in 2004, a possible, delayed agreement would be crushed.
What makes matters worse is that the president, even if unintentionally, has been fomenting their obscene campaign with his misplaced statements and actions, which are gratefully seized by our political clowns and used to strengthen their arguments. For example, his much-loved tactic of attacking Turkey almost every day, with no real reason (he repeated it in every speech he made in the US last week), is welcome help to our political demagogues.
His main gripe is that Turkey has restricted itself to words so far and had not taken any practical steps to help a settlement. I wonder what Anastasiades would say if he was asked what practical steps he was talking about.
Turkey has persuaded the whole world, including all our partners in the EU, that she is ready to proceed with serious ‘practical measures’ if we were ready for a solution. It also succeeded in this respect in 2004. It had agreed to withdraw the occupation troops, to return Famagusta, Morphou and many villages and territory.
We rejected all these practical steps by voting for the continuation of division, for the Turkish troops to stay and not to take back towns and villages offered. It is therefore no accident that Turkey has persuaded the whole world that she is ready for a settlement but has been encountering our refusal. Turkey has shown us up because she has capable politicians and not political simpletons like us.
Even more convincing than Turkey is the new Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. There is no foreign ambassador or foreign official in Nicosia, Brussels or New York that doubts the sincerity, determination and readiness of Akinci for a settlement. It is no surprise that most foreign officials and members of the UN laugh at our politicians’ appallingly abusive attacks on this sensible and moderate man every time he speaks and tells some bitter truths.
They were livid, a few days ago, because he said that most experts agreed that once there was settlement the most beneficial and economical way for us to sell natural gas to Europe was through a pipeline via Turkey. You could not find an expert who would disagree with this sensible view.
Only our ignorant political demagogues are still talking about setting up a liquefaction plant, at huge cost, and the transfer of liquefied natural gas by ships to other countries. They ignore the view of industry experts who have repeatedly warned that such a move would have tripled the cost, with the result that there would be no buyers for our much-publicised gas.
Akinci spoke another truth that annoyed our political charlatans. Time had resolved the property issue because now very few Greek Cypriots would want to settle in the north; they would rather be compensated, he argued. I had written, for the first time, that without an agreement, time would have eventually solved the property issue and the whole Cyprus problem, almost 24 years ago – in 1992.
I have written this countless times since. If our political clowns, the preachers of rejectionism and champions of partition are looking for the guilty in this frightening development, all they have to do is look in a mirror.