FEARING that their defiant but hollow rhetoric is no longer taken very seriously the so-called parties of the centre brought a US-based Greek academic to address Monday night’s occupation anniversary gathering they co-organised. Professor Emeritus of Political Science Van Coufoudakis was tasked with articulating the do-nothing message of high principles that DIKO, EDEK, Greens and Alliance have embraced for years.
It was appropriate that the parties brought a man from a profession that specialises in intellectualising and theorising about issues rather than in offering practical solutions to long-standing political problems. Coufoudakis, repeating the rhetoric of Papadopoulos, Lillikas, Sizopoulos et al, spoke about the “utter contempt shown for the result of the referendum (of 2004),” by the last two presidents and described the Eroglu-Anastasiades joint declaration of 11 February 2014 as “tragic” because it repeated the mistakes of the past.
With this declaration Turkey had “achieved substantive negotiating targets before the new negotiations began.” The professor’s advice was to preserve the Cyprus Republic at all costs, which is the coded language used by all the above-mentioned parties for maintaining the status quo. Preserving the Republic, rules out any possibility of a settlement, but Coufoudakis fully supported this option, telling the crowd that “no president is authorised to sign the dissolution of the Cyprus Republic.”
Like the party leaders that applauded his speech, he refused to see the bigger picture. He was so concerned about Turkey achieving “substantive negotiating targets” through the joint declaration he could not see that by preserving the Cyprus Republic, Turkey would realise a much more valued objective – turning the occupied north into a Turkish province. We will have preserved the Republic as a Greek Cypriot state by surrendering almost 40 per cent of its territory to Turkey.
As we have written in the past, if this is what the Greek Cypriot party leaders want they should speak openly to the people about it. The maintenance of the Republic via partition might have the support of the majority of the Greek Cypriots and no more time would need to be wasted on negotiations about governance, power-sharing and property. Greek Cypriots might not want to share power with the Turkish Cypriots; the target of the majority might be the maintenance of the Cyprus Republic, as Coufoudakis said.
Forty-two years have passed since Turkish troops first set foot in Cyprus and the dividing line drawn on 16 August 1974, after the second Turkish offensive, remains unchanged. The situation most definitely suits Turkey which has turned the north into its province, but it also seems to suit our uncompromising party leaders who want to preserve their hold on the Cyprus Republic at all costs.