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Opinion

Presidential hopeful shows his 1963-era thinking

Presidential ambitions, Nicos Katsourides

Former Akel deputy Nicos Katsourides played a leading role in his former party’s rejection of the Annan plan

By Loucas Charalambous

IN OUR political edifice, it is incredible how far someone may go when seized by the uncontrollable desire to satisfy a political ambition.

Former Akel deputy Nicos Katsourides has been giving a demonstration of this. After being expelled from his party, he got the idea of changing camps presumably in the hope of becoming the presidential candidate of the so-called ‘parties of the centre’. Some are also encouraging him to do so.

Perhaps an angry utterance supposedly made by House president Demetris Syllouris as he left a meeting with the Akel leadership after he had failed to convince the comrade to back his candidacy for the House presidency, could have contributed to this. Syllouris had allegedly said: “I will show you. Tomorrow when I throw Katsourides, like a spanner in the works, as a presidential candidate, you will not know what to do.”

Katsourides is nursing hopes of being the rejectionist camp’s presidential candidate and has already begun his campaign to prove his suitability by publishing articles in Phileleftheros that are very similar to those penned by the late Tassos Papadopoulos in his newspaper Kyrikas 30 years ago.

In an article published on August 26, he indirectly proposes quitting the peace talks on the grounds of “what I hear” about guarantees and security. He asks: “What is the aim of the discussion on the part of the Greek Cypriot side, of one or the other formula for security and guarantees? If the withdrawal of Turkish troops is non-negotiable it is non-negotiable. End of story!”

Presumably to remind us of the leading role he played in 2004 in Akel’s decision to reject the Annan plan, he wrote that a small number of Turkish soldiers would remain after a settlement and asked the hypothetical question of whether we would arrest them if they acted inappropriately. He answered with more questions.

“With what force would we curtail their actions? With the Cypriot army of the de-militarised Cyprus Republic. In which, if it exists, Turkish Cypriots would participate? With the Cyprus police force, which will also be mixed, perhaps? Primarily, though, would Turkey consider a move against the replacement of Turdyk (Turkish force in Cyprus) as a move against it? History teaches that it would consider it an attack against Turkey and a pretext to intervene.”

What argumentation? It seems Tassos, when they became strong allies in 2004, managed to turn Katsourides into a supporter of the Akritas plan. Otherwise he would have known that history did not teach that the members of Turdyk were the first to act inappropriately in 1963. It teaches that it was his friend Tassos and the rest of Makarios’ henchmen that acted inappropriately and gave the chance to Turdyk to do the same. And this is the reason – regrettably – that Turkey insists on guarantees.

This is all well known to the Akel leadership which occasionally mentions it. Therefore, Katsourides should not worry like they did in 1963. We would not have to ‘restrict them’. However, the answer to the main question is positive. Of course, Turkey would consider any move against Turdyk as an attack on Turkey. If we are going to be so stupid and exhibit the brains of Tassos and Makarios in 1963 and try to ‘move’ against the other community again, then of course we would have trouble with Turkey. And in such a case it would need neither Turdyk nor guarantees to intervene.

“People that are not taught by their history are condemned to live through it again,” read the headline on Katsourides’ article. Surely he and his new allies, who seem to have 1963-era brains, should bear this in mind.

I hope Katsourides will allow me to reverse his question. Even if Turkey insists on the presence of 650 soldiers, as was envisaged by the Annan plan, and we reject the settlement, what will the result be. We are left with 40,000 Turkish soldiers. If they act inappropriately, how would Katsourides deal with them? With the ethnically pure police and army we have at present? That is when we would live through the history of 1974 again.

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