Archbishop Chrysostomos has called for the replacement of UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide following the latter’s interviews, published during the weekend, which drew the ire of the government and political parties with the envoy being called a liar and a supporter of Turkish positions.
In an interview with state broadcaster CyBC on Sunday, the archbishop said that the settlement talks must be terminated and start over in a different format.
The dialogue, he said, must be about the creation of a “functional, viable and proper state, without any vetoes”. The Archbishop was referring to the right of veto of the Turkish Cypriot vice-president, which it was deemed as problematic by the Greek Cypriots, who felt that the minority had the right to overturn the will of the majority.
“If the settlement solution will include vetoes, then it will not function properly,” Chrysostomos said.
He also urged the Turkish side, “if it truly wants the establishment of a proper state (in Cyprus) to work toward that end, otherwise, there will be a construction that will collapse and we will be in chaos”.
Chrysostomos also wondered if a federal solution based on what every Cypriot government agreed to at the talks, would be viable, even if Turkey said it would give up its intervention rights and said yes to everything that has been agreed at the talks by the government and if the occupation troops left the island.
He said that if he asked the President whether this federation would be viable, he believed that he would get a negative answer.
As for Eide, the archbishop said that the government ought to ask for his replacement and referred to the statements of the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias who accused the UN official of lying over what happened at the talks earlier in the month in Switzerland.
The official Greek Cypriot position is that it was Turkey’s insistence on maintaining guarantees, troops and intervention rights that led to the collapse of the talks, whereas Eide said that it was possible for all to agree on an immediate termination of the rights of intervention upon entry into force.
The archbishop also criticised some Greek Cypriot politicians on the way they present “historical facts”. “In 1963, we had a Turkish uprising in Cyprus. I am sorry to say that some people and even some who have high positions in the government, say that we have slain the Turks without shame and that what happened was intercommunal riots,” he said.
He reiterated that, in 1963, it was “a Turkish uprising”.
“If some are historically illiterate, then they should read a little history. We have lived those events. Those who did not live them, they ought to, at least, read history, and learn before speaking,” he said.
The dominant narrative on the Greek Cypriot side has been that in 1963 the Turkish Cypriots mounted an insurrection, effectively seceding/withdrawing from the Republic which they sought to undermine.
The Turkish Cypriot official narrative holds that the Greeks in the majority never regarded them as equal partners and provoked the conflict by attempting to scrap the 1960 Constitution and that they were the victims reacting to the violence initiated by the Greeks.
After the intercommunal strife of December 1963, the 15 Turkish Cypriot Representatives withdrew from the House and their seats have since remained vacant. All Turkish Cypriots holding public office or working in the civil service also withdrew from their posts.