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Our View: After 29 years, the Cyprus File may be an anti-climax

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

For years, Greek Cypriot politicians have been demanding the handover of the Cyprus File by the Greek Parliament, but for unknown reasons it has never happened. On Friday, however, a day before the coup anniversary, the file, which contains the findings of an inquiry by the Greek Parliament into the 1974 coup and Turkish invasion, will be handed over to the House of Representatives in a special morning session.

The big question is why it has taken so long. The inquiry was completed 29 years ago, in October 1988, but the testimony of 86 witnesses and 21,000 pages of minutes plus official documents have remained confidential. Every year since, on the anniversaries of the invasion and coup, Akel and Edek have demanded that the Cyprus File is opened, creating the impression that this will shed more light on the tragic events of July 1974. It has seemed as if Greek MPs unearthed some big secrets that could cause great harm if they were made public.

Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras said that after 29 years, “the Greek parliament will provide the full range of these documents to the Cypriot House in order to open an issue that concerns the Cypriot people and about which the Cypriot people are entitled to know.” Will the archives of the inquiry be of any value to the Cypriot people in 2017? Will they shed new light on the events of 1974? Will our deputies read through the thousands of pages to establish if there was anything that we did not know and make it public?

We doubt any of this will happen. The archives will have value as a new resource for researchers and historians, assuming there will be free access to them, but other than that, it is very difficult to see how they will be useful to the politicians that have been clamouring for their handover for years. The irony is that our politicians have dogmatic views about the events of 1974 and will never accept any information that diverges from the narrative they have been repeating for decades.

On Friday we will, at long last, have the Cyprus File and, after celebrations, the House of Representatives will have to decide what to do with it. We suspect the boxes of documents will be left to gather dust in some store-room in the House, but Akel and Edek will no longer be able to demand its hand over. Now it will be up to them to prove there was a good reason for their decades-long demand.


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