Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

A mentality of dependence rather than independence

An incalculable boost to Turkish propaganda is provided by the organised fans of our ‘nationalist’ football clubs

The most powerful weapon backing Turkey’s position that the Cyprus Republic was ‘defunct’ is provided by us

By George Koumoullis

WE ARE outraged by Turkey’s oft-repeated position that the Cyprus Republic was ‘defunct’ and her reference to the free part of Cyprus as the ‘Greek Cypriot administration’.

Have we ever considered that we, the Greek Cypriots, are generously feeding Turkish propaganda with compelling arguments for this position? That we, with our actions, (I stress, our actions) approve and endorse this position of Turkey? That we have created – without thinking, of course – a kind of Fifth Column that undermines our State entity and strengthens Turkey’s assertion about the ‘defunct’ Cyprus Republic? That Turkey’s claim contains an element of logic?

Firstly, there is the marriage of the Cypriot and Greek flag. Apart from at State buildings, the Cyprus flag is always next to the Greek flag. This reminds me of the economics term “complementary goods”, that is, goods that are consumed together, that together satisfy one need of a consumer – for example, olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, gin and tonic.

This is how we see the Cyprus flag, always next to the Greek flag at many churches, schools, clinics, theatres, supermarkets, pizzerias and everywhere. There is always the fear one would be accused of being a traitor he flew the Cyprus flag without the Greek one by its side.

With such a mentality, how could the Cyprus flag move the Turkish Cypriots? How would a visitor, seeing the flags flying on our buildings, avoid viewing south Cyprus as a Greek Cypriot administration? How would the foreign visitor not conclude that we have cultivated a mentality dependence rather than independence?

An incalculable boost to Turkish propaganda is provided by the organised fans of our ‘nationalist’ football clubs that participate in the Champions League and Europa League and the matches of which are watched by millions of television viewers around the world. And all these millions around the globe see on their screen Cypriot teams, for almost two hours, being cheered on with the waving of Greek flags and other Greek symbols. If we conducted a survey of a sample of the people that watched matches of the Cypriot teams, they would have undoubtedly, expressed the view that Cyprus was not an independent state but a Greek Cypriot administration.

Such a gift-advertisement, worth many millions of euro, Turkey could not have imagined even in its wildest dreams and provided by the residents of a country it had occupied and partitioned. A conspiracy theorist (we have an abundance of them in Cyprus) would conclude that Turkey was procuring (in the bad sense of the word) a small group of organised fans of ‘nationalist’ football clubs, under the apathetic glare of the club bosses; it schools and feeds them in order to achieve her own secret objectives. It is a prurient act, not sexual but political whereby the climax of the pleasure of the pimp is the complete absence of the symbols of the Cyprus Republic and the loud chants urbi et orbi of the young fans that Cypriot clubs and Turkey are in cahoots regarding the non-recognition of the Cyprus Republic.

The most powerful weapon backing Turkey’s position that the Cyprus Republic was ‘defunct’ is provided by us. In 1966 we scrapped the Cyprus national anthem and replaced it with the Greek one. This act relegated Cyprus from an independent state to a Greek Cypriot administration as the Turks have been banging on.

Owing to their education, history and socialisation most Greek Cypriots identify the Cyprus Republic with the Greek national anthem and are not at all concerned over the absence of a Cyprus national anthem. Therefore, it is considered ‘normal’ by large section of the Greek Cypriot population, when, for example they hear the Greek national anthem being played when the President of the Cyprus Republic welcomes other heads of state. To foreigners though, the playing of the Greek national anthem during state occasions in Cyprus must seem totally absurd and they would be wondering whether our president was actually nothing more than a Greek district officer masquerading as a head of state.

Small-minded ‘nationalists’ would argue that Cyprus would have been de-Hellenised if we had our own national anthem. They cannot conceive that the strengthening rather than weakening of our state entity would be in the interest of Cypriot Hellenism. As paradoxical as it may sound, the pro-Greek act would be the scrapping of the Greek national anthem for Cyprus, because this is how the interests of Cypriot Hellenism and Cyprus would be best served.

Unfortunately, regarding the anthem, confusion is created because in Greek the adjective ‘national’ also refers to ‘state’. With regard to this issue, it would have been more correct if we referred to the ‘state’ rather than ‘national’ anthem as it would have been embraced not only by Greek Cypriots but also by Turkish Cypriots, Armenians and Maronites. Whichever way we look at it, Cyprus is not a purely Greek country, nor is it a district of Greece to justify the adoption of the Greek national anthem.

A social psychologist would have concluded that as a people we suffer delusions and that we – and nobody else – are offering arguments to Turkey to advance its case that the Cyprus Republic was ‘defunct’. The delusion is nothing more than a prejudiced conviction – that fact that our attention is focused on what we want to believe makes us incapable of seeing indications of the contrary, not even when these are glaringly obvious.

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