Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

Jack Straw abused the truth

Jack Straw, Britain’s former foreign minister, has done it again. He sided publicly once more with his Turkish friends in an article published in the Independent ‘Only a partitioned island will bring the dispute between Turkish and Greek Cypriots to an end’ (October 1). It reminds me of the story with King Solomon and the two women who each claimed a child as their own. He offered to cut it in two and give them half each. The fake mother agreed.
Cyprus’ accession talks with the European Union, though progressing very well for many years, had made joining the union elusive because accession was subject to finding a solution with the Turkish Cypriots who, of course, were under the complete control of Turkey. So, no solution, no entry. Cyprus was hostage to the Turks.
It took many years and much effort to convince the EU to see the cornered position Cyprus was in. Mr Straw called this the “worst strategic decision”. Cyprus according to him should continue being captive of Turkey even though Cyprus closed all its accession chapters with almost flying colours.
Furthermore, he falsely claims that the recent talks to unify Cyprus failed because of the Greek Cypriot (sic) government’s rejection of an imminent deal! As it happens, the UN secretary-general’s report on the talks that just came out doesn’t say that. An agreement that the Turks wanted to allow them to keep permanently troops on the island coupled with the right of intervention, the right to veto all decisions of the central government by the Turkish Cypriots and a rotating presidency, plus the right of 80m Turkish citizens to come work and live on an island  of 800,000 is hardly an acceptable deal.
I wonder, would the Turks offer this deal to their Kurdish minority, roughly of same size as the Turkish Cypriots, that they champion for Cyprus?
His reference to the ‘’Annan” plan that gave Cyprus over to Turkish control and was rejected by 75 per cent of the Greek Cypriots says nothing at all of the deficiencies of the plan.
He said there were no incentives for the Greek Cypriots to solve the problem after they joined the EU. He conveniently forgets that it’s Greek Cypriot land that the Turkish troops occupy; the refugees, like myself, are Greeks who want to go back to their homes and the land of their ancestors.
In addition he castigates us for not conceding political equality to the Turkish Cypriots. He does not say that the Turkish side insisted on it even from 1878 when the island passed to Britain, in order for them to show that the situation here is not 18 per cent Turkish Cypriots and 82 per cent Greek Cypriots, ie a minority and a majority, but two separate distinct people who like Spain and Portugal want to create an Iberian Peninsula in the Eastern Mediterranean. Something no Greek Cypriot leader or citizen will ever accept.
It is sad that a former minister who had all the facts at his disposal, who knows why Turkey invaded and why it brought settlers and changed the names of all cities, towns, villages and mountains, etc to say what he says without regard to history and the truth.


Christos Rotsas, former MP, Nicosia

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