By Loucas Charalambous
I HAVE in the past written about the tragic-comic state DISY fell into after the departure of Glafcos Clerides as leader, its main feature being the adulteration of its policy on the Cyprus problem. For an objective observer who knew the party in its first 17 years of life – until 1993 when Clerides moved to the presidential palace – today’s DISY is a bastardised version of the original. Apart from the name, nothing else reminds us of the party of the Clerides era, a party set up to fight demagoguery.
To be more precise, the bastardisation of DISY policy began in autumn 1992, while Clerides was still the leader. It was then that the party leadership betrayed its Cyprus problem policy when, in order to secure DIKO’s support for the Clerides candidacy, it took a stand against Boutros Boutros Ghali’s, the then UN secretary-general, ‘set of ideas’. As a result, Clerides won the 1993 elections and one of the best opportunities for a solution to the problem was lost.
What followed was incessant tampering with DISY’s identity. The next party leaders (Yiannakis Matsis, Nicos Anastasiades, Averof Neophytou) forgot that the party was established to pursue a Cyprus settlement and engaged in the signing of new players from the rejectionist camp. The objective was to satisfy their respective personal ambition, in other words, their desire to one day become residents of the presidential palace.
We only needed to recall a few of these signings. Matsis brought in Prdromos Prodromou, Anastasiades signed Eleni Theocharous, Chris Triantafyllides and Christos Clerides while Averof recruited Solon Kasinis and Elena Stavrou the war expert. These were all people that as fanatical exponents of rejectionist thinking should have belonged to DIKO, EDEK or Lillikas’ party. This is the bastardisation I referred to above.
The most glaring example is that of Chris Triantafyllides, who is no different in his Cyprus problem views from Sizopolous, Papadopoulos and Lillikas. Last January he mocked President Anastasiades by resorting to the idiotic football analogy (regarding the presence of Mustafa Akinci at the Davos World Economic Forum) that “in Davos we played defensively and Turks were attacking but the game did not end in a draw. We lost emphatically and our state is in danger.”
Subsequently he essentially backed Sizopoulos when he publicised the confidential minutes of the National Council meeting, by calling on the EDEK leader’s critics to focus on the substance of his alleged revelations. Now he has directed his fire on DISY’s parliamentary spokesman Nicos Tornaritis for his “unacceptable acquittal of Turkey” because he had dared to denounce those on our side who had in the past fought against settlement efforts.
Among them was Triantafyllides’ late father, Michalakis, an attorney-general whom former DISY deputy Dinos Lordos had once wisely dismissed as one of the many who had built personal careers on the perpetuations of the Cyprus problem. Chris Triantafyllides, who joined DISY 30 years after its founding, presumably had not heard that the party had come into being to confront the rejectionist policy of Spyros Kyprianou and the establishment of the time which included his father. For 12 years, DISY accused the Kyprianou clique of exactly what Tornaritis has now been saying – that it was torpedoing every attempt at finding a compromise solution (Anglo-American-Canadian plan, Perez de Cuellar initiative, etc).
No matter how incredible it might sound, the Triantafyllides I described above is today the head of DISY’s ‘Cyprus problem team’ and the party’s representative in Anastasiades’ negotiating team. This is the ultimate in absurdity. And there are still fools that think Anastasiades is earnestly trying to solve the Cyprus problem.
A few weeks ago, current leader Averof Neophytou gave a big bash in Acropolis Park in Nicosia, attended by Anastasiades, to celebrate DISY’s 40th anniversay. Their audacity is huge. Instead of celebrating, they should have been hanging their heads in shame for what they have turned their party into. They should feel gutted that they transformed what was once the most prudent and responsible party of Cyprus into a ridiculous ‘free for all’ run by Triantafyllides and Christos Rotsas.