IT WAS predictable that rejectionist political parties would use today’s celebration of Independence Day to repeat the tiresome message that the Cyprus Republic must be preserved at all costs, even after a settlement. This is coded support for partition along the existing dividing line that the rejectionists, despite the bravery they display when verbally attacking Turkey, are too frightened to publicly mention.
None of the leaders of these patriotic parties have the courage to openly say that partition was a better option than a partnership state, so they go on about “maintaining the Cyprus Republic at all costs.” In past years there were the surreal rows over whether the new partnership state would derive from the ‘evolution’ of the Republic or a ‘virgin birth’, the rejectionists considering the latter catastrophic for the Greek Cypriots.
Now, with the talks making some progress it is not enough for the rejectionists for the ‘virgin birth’ to be averted and the new state to be some continuation of the Republic. The Cyprus Republic was “non-negotiable” said the Alliance of Citizens in an announcement yesterday, stressing that its “safeguarding and strengthening was essential.” DIKO was on the same wavelength censuring President Anastasiades for not using his speech at the UN General Assembly, to make it clear that “the Cyprus Republic would continue as a state after the solution of the Cyprus problem.”
Yet the reality, whether we like it or not, is that the preservation of the Republic and a settlement are mutually exclusive. Anastasiades is negotiating the establishment of a partnership state, in which there would be political equality between the two communities, with Mustafa Akinci and not the continuation of a state from which the Turkish Cypriots have been excluded for the last 50 years. Perhaps support for the continuation of the Republic is also a coded way of Papadopoulos, Lillikas, Sizopoulos et al saying that they refuse to share power with the Turkish Cypriots.
If they want a Greek Cypriot state they should say so openly and also acknowledge that this would mean partition, the permanent presence of Turkish troops on the island and the north becoming just another province of Turkey. As they believe that handing over 40 per cent of Cyprus’ territory to Turkey for good is a price worth paying for maintaining the Cyprus Republic they should have the courage and honesty to make this clear and let people decide what they want for the country’s future.
They might choose to carry on marking the establishment of the Cyprus Republic, every October 1st, for the foreseeable future, but they should know what they would be giving up, for good, for this celebration.