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Attempted Turkish coup a ‘lost opportunity’ to reclaim north, says former MP

Christos Rotsas

Had the Republic of Cyprus been prepared, the attempted coup in Turkey would have been an opportunity to capture the north back, former DISY MP Christos Rotsas claimed on Monday.

Following the events in Turkey on Friday and Saturday, when army forces tried to oust the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Rotsas posted on his social media accounts on Sunday his conviction that Cyprus had lost a great opportunity.

“If the enslaved Cyprus was not sitting cross-legged and idly for 42 years, last night could perhaps be its night,” Rotsas had tweeted.

Speaking on Monday on Politis Radio, Rotsas, a certified accountant and a former DISY MP between 2001 and 2003, claimed that if Cyprus had been prepared, taking back the north would have been feasible. Rotsas was also running as candidate in May’s parliamentary elections.

“If we were a people that was interested in what we lost, our freedom, we would have been prepared for a day like this,” Rotsas said.

The division between people in Turkey on July 15, was similar to that in Cyprus in July 1974, he added.

Apart from military hardware, preparations would have had to include a moral and practical preparedness: “… the people, where to go, for the army to know that if anything happened to them, their children would be taken care of, the hospitals to be ready to receive this many (wounded)”.

“The front is so small in Cyprus, that it would be a done deal within a few hours, if we were prepared,” Rotsas said. “If we don’t acquire a deterrent force, we cannot take advantage of such opportunities.”

Commenting on how the Greek Cypriot side would be able to overwhelm the around 43,000 Turkish soldiers stationed in the north, Rotsas said the attempted coup would have been a great opportunity because the Turkish military would not have known who was attacking them.

“…If we are Turks or Greeks, if we were the coupists or the pro-government forces. It is this we would take advantage of, their fear and confusion,” he said.

He also explained his contingency plan for the next day, and possible retaliation measures from Turkey.

“If we had 43,000 Turkish soldiers as war prisoners, if I was in charge, I would take most of them to the Paphos airport, the Vassilikos naval base and other places to keep them and my territory safe,” he said. In addition, Rotsas said, if Turkey had suffered such a loss, “the last thing they would want, would be to bomb Cyprus no more than a day or two.”

In cases when a country’s army is taken as prisoners, a procedure through the Red Cross follows, “for the exchange of war prisoners and the end of warfare”.

He added that this scenario was the outcome of years of speculations. Rotsas also ruled out the possibility of Turkey sending in troops to recapture the lost territory.

He added that his scenario should not be judged with today’s mindset where “we are on a different planet”, preoccupied with “our frappe iced coffees”.

“If we were making preparations for 42 years, it would have been 100 times feasible,” he said.

Rotsas’ radio interview, in Greek, can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/107-6-eu/18a-5

 

 

 

 

 

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