Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistCyprus TalksOpinion

Non-solution more costly than a solution

The closed area of Famagusta

THE RAID campaign unleashed by the rejectionist front against the president and the talks procedure is fascinating. Faced with the prospect of there being an agreement and settlement (personally I do not see it), the rejectionists have literally gone wild.

Sadly, we have reached this new low. Instead of everyone being terrified of the perpetuation of partition, they are shaking with anxiety at the prospect of a deal being reached. They “have taken off the masks” as the popular saying goes. A while ago they were saying they wanted a settlement, but with the “right content”. Now they are not interested in the content. They are making it very clear that all they are interested in is that no solution arrives.

They want partition to continue and have no problem that this is made blatantly obvious by their behaviour. As part of their campaign they have resorted to exactly the same rhetoric of 2004, a rhetoric featuring lies, hyperbole, abuse and hatred with the clear aim of alarming the public. One of their common, basic arguments is the “unbearable” financial cost of a settlement.

Diko, Edek and the owner of the Dias media group, Costis Hadjicostis – the Suslov of the rejectionist front – have been going on about this in the last few days. Hadjicostis, the one-time theorist of ‘surrender’, is now leading the propaganda in favour of the continuation of partition, claiming that a solution would cost too much.

Last Wednesday, he wrote in Simerini:

“The president of the republic is incapable of answering, or is hiding it from the people, who will pay the cost of a solution…. He even announced that ‘the solution of the Cyprus problem would be, admittedly, the biggest step, the most important reform for economic development of the country in the next decades.’ We ask him: ‘Have donors been found and the cost of the solution covered? What was brought in from the tours of Eide and the president of different countries and the circulation of the begging bowl?’ Final and certain conclusion: with the solution there will not only be legal and political chaos, but also economic chaos. And the new state will dissolve just after it is established because of the daily legal and political clashes that arise while the Cypriot people will be financially ruined by the new, worse memorandum which they would be called on to pay.”

For the sake of debate let us accept for a moment that a settlement would have a big economic cost. This raises the following question: because the solution involves an economic cost, do we prefer partition? Their answer, based on the above, is a very clear ‘yes’. This is exactly what Simerini and all those resorting to this argument are saying.

They would rather we were left with partition as a settlement and for Famagusta and all other areas that would have been returned to remain in Turkey’s hands. They would rather 40,000 Turkish troops remained on the island and for the number of settlers to keep rising until Turks become the majority in Cyprus, because, as they say, the settlement would have a cost and we do not want to pay it.

This is, confessed in the clearest way, the appalling stance of the super-patriots of Simerini and the parties that cite this argument. But they should also answer the following question: what is your valuation of Famagusta? I mention only Famagusta because it certain to be returned in a settlement. The value of Famagusta for Papadopoulos, Sizopoulos and Hadjicostis is smaller than the economic cost they claim the solution would incur. That is why they would rather donate it to Turkey.

Of course, the truth is that the cost of a settlement would be drastically smaller than the cost of a non-settlement that we are paying every day. I had written some time ago, as an example of the economic benefits of a solution, the huge new prospects for tourism just from the addition of the Famagusta beach-front. If we just took into account the tourist income from Famagusta, after its reconstruction, the ridiculousness of the economic cost of a settlement argument becomes apparent.

But there are other reasons why Papadopoulos, Sizopoulos, Simerini and the rest of the super-patriots prefer partition which they believe suits them. The real motives are pretty transparent to any rational person.

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