Cyprus Mail
Opinion

DIKO has a long tradition of slander

Glafcos Clerides

DIKO CHIEF Nicolas Papadopoulos on Tuesday said the following: “In politics there must be no place for the corrupt, perjurers and bribers. Parallel to this though, there is no place in politics for mud-slingers and slanderers. The mayor of Paphos, for us, is a common slanderer.”

A week earlier, the DIKO spokesperson had also called mayor Phedonas Phedonos “a common sycophant and mud-slinger”. I think the son of Tassos Papadopoulos, the inventor of the “ambient atmosphere” (this was how he justified his claims that supporters of the Annan plan had been bribed by the US and excused the witch-hunt he had sparked at the time) and champion mud-slinger is the last person who has the right to talk about slanderers and dirt-throwers.

If Phedonos threw dirt, his victim was just one man and he has been dead for six years. When Tassos was throwing dirt in the vilest way, against all those who voted ‘yes’ in the 2004 referendum, claiming they had been bribed by the Americans and UN, his victims were over 100,000 people. Whichever way we look at it, therefore, and even if Nicolas were right about Phedonos, Tassos was a slanderer 100,000 times worse than the Paphos mayor.

There is another story which shows DIKO’s tradition of slander. On February 11, 1983 – a Friday – at 10.30am at DIKO’s offices, three senior party officials had a meeting with a journalist of the Athens newspaper ‘Ethnos’, owned by the Bombolas family of Helector fame. They gave him some forged documents that presented Glafcos Clerides as an agent of the Nazis during World War II. The forged documents had been put together by a well-known Cypriot crook based in London on the instructions of a devoted friend of then president and DIKO chief Spyros Kyprianou. They agreed these would be published in Ethnos the following day – Saturday.

The choice of day was not coincidental. That Friday was the last day of campaigning for the presidential elections that were to take place on Sunday, February 13. The last gatherings/rallies were taking place on Friday night and Clerides was to address his supporters in front of the old GSP stadium in Nicosia.

I heard about this scam at 2pm on Friday and ran to the DISY offices where I found party official Spyros Arotis. We went to see Clerides and briefed him about the muck the mudslingers of DIKO were preparing; I also gave him the three names. Clerides laughed contemptuously and asked me whether I knew for sure that Kyprianou was involved. I did not know. (Many years later, a man who had served as a minister under Kyprianou told Clerides that Kyprianou was fully informed and had been shown the forged documents by the man who had thought up this disgustingly vile plan.)

Arotis then undertook to include at the beginning of the speech Clerides was to give in the evening, a few words with which the DISY chief would reveal the frame-up and announce its publication the next day’s issue of ‘Ethnos’. To our great surprise, a bit before Clerides was due to give his speech, Nicosia was already full of leaflets featuring a photo-copy of the front page of the next day’s ‘Eleftherotypia’ (the DIKO newspaper) in which the forged documents would be published; it was also mentioned the ‘scoop’ was from ‘Ethnos.

So, as Clerides started his speech reporting the fabrication of the documents, the youths of DIKO were already distributing leaflets with the documents he was referring to. On Monday, February 14, Eleftherotypia announced Kyprianou’s victory with the front-page, banner headline “Democracy wins, Kyprianou triumphs.”

There is more to this grubby story that not many will know. The three protagonists of this vile framing of Clerides – the men who gave the forged documents to Bombolas’ representative on that Friday in 1983 – were rewarded for their crime. Some 10 years later, when Clerides was elected president he appointed one of them a minister, a highly-paid post at an embassy was created for another, while the third was appointed chairman of a big semi-governmental organisation. Stupid or big-hearted, this was Clerides.

I recounted these two lamentable stories in order to dedicate them to Nicolas and remind him who the inventors and professors of slander and mud-slinging were in this country. When it comes to dirt and slander he would do well to stay silent. Because, if “in politics there is no room for slanderers and mud-slingers” some should step down before Phedonos.

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