Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Shafting the Famagustans

Greece versus church - Greece Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias with lawyer Costas Velaris (with cigarette) outside court last Monday

SEVERAL newspapers and television stations turned up the melodrama in their reports on the visit of a group of MEPs to the fenced area of Varosha last Tuesday.

The delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee for Petitions, accompanied by two Cypriot MEPs and local dignitaries, were greeted at the legendary Constantia Hotel by a couple of hundred refugees from Varosha/Famagusta/Ammochostos that spoke of their desire to return to their town which has been kept empty and left to rot by the Turkish army since August 1974.

“Hearts broke for Ammochostos,” said Phil, describing the visit as “emotionally charged”, and reporting that the “picture of the deserted town ‘broke’ the hearts of the MEPs and sent very clear messages to the heart (sic) of Europe, not only of a symbolic, but also of a political nature.” Politis said “the refugees conveyed to the head of the committee Cecilia Wikstrom the decades’ old pain and bitterness of seeing their town from so close but not being able to live there.”

You had to feel sympathy for the town’s refugees, who had to confront a dozen or so Grey Wolves waving Turkish and ‘TRNC’ flags, but you can’t help thinking that their protests should be staged in the free area – perhaps outside the presidential place – and directed at our own politicians and not the heart-broken MEPs.

It is our wise and far-sighted politicians who have patriotically rejected close to a dozen proposals for the return of Famagusta, every time passionately supported by Phil.


THERE was an excellent article in Wednesday’s Alithia by Bambos Charalambous, a long-serving aide of Prez Nik whose employment at the presidential palace was recently terminated, listing all the proposals for the return of Famagusta that we rejected in the last 40 years.

There is not enough space to list all of them but these are a few. In July 1978 the Turks, eager to have the arms embargo imposed by the US lifted, proposed the return of 35,000 Famagustans to their town as a show of good will, but then president Spy Kyp rejected it. At the time it was reported that Kyp was pressured by the Limassol lobby to reject the proposal because this would allow the development of Limassol which was a provincial backwater compared to Famagusta.

Four months later, Charalambous wrote, the Anglo-American-Canadian plan was submitted and it envisaged the return of refugees to the town, regardless of the success of the peace talks. We turned down that offer as well. In 1981 the UN proposed a mini-package for the return of Famagusta and the re-opening of Nicosia International Airport. We rejected that as well.

There were subsequently plans such as the Perez de Cuellar ‘Indicators’ (1985) and the Ghali ‘Set of Ideas’ (1992) which proposed the return of Famagusta but were also rejected. All the above, except the ‘set of ideas’ were rejected by Prez Kyp, a Limassolian midget in size and intellect, who deserves a statue in a prominent part of Limassol for everything he has done for the town while ensuring Famagusta remained under the Turks.


THEN there was the Satanic A-plan of 2004 which provided for the return of Famagusta, Morphou and countless villages, but this time it was not just the idiot politicians that rejected it. The overwhelming majority of the people (76 per cent), including a lot of Famagusta refugees voted ‘no, the Turks can keep the town and everything else they hold.’

And finally we came to Crans-Montana, at which another Limassolian prez who is working on turning Limassol into a Russian-owned and controlled Dubai of the Mediterranean, backed by his Paphite close aide now serving as foreign minister, saw off the danger of Famagusta’s return, by ensuring the collapse of the talks.

He considered sharing power with the Turkish Cypriots, which would also end the thriving passport business, too high a price to pay for Famagustans to return to their derelict, rat-infested town. What do we need the Famagusta ghost-town for when we have a thriving Dubaigrad where most Cypriots can no longer afford the house rents?


WITH Prez Nik now following in the foot-steps of Spy Kyp, it was no surprise he sacked Charalambous who was too pro-settlement to have a place in the rejectionist presidential palace. There was no issue of loyalty even though Charalambous had been Nik’s aide since his days as Disy chief, writing his speeches and announcements.

But the prez no longer needs a pro-settlement speechwriter like Bambos who, according to our palace mole, was sacked because he was privately undermining the prez’s new Cyprob positions, which are best-promoted by super-patriots that will agree to the return of Famagusta only if Kyrenia is given back as well.


MEANWHILE the municipal council of occupied Morphou are also getting worried that, like the Famagustans, they will never return to their town. They issued an announcement expressing big concern that there “are no prospects of an immediate resumption of the talks”, noting that “the rampant construction” in their town “eliminates every hope of a possible solution”.

This is a bit of a turnaround bearing in mind that in the 2004 referendum, the overwhelming majority of Morphites, led by their then mayor Andreas Pittas, patriotically voted for the Turks to keep Morphou, a point often made by the late and greatly missed Loucas Charalambous in his Sunday Mail columns.

The municipality, which will meet prez Nik later in the month to tell him their concerns, concluded in their announcement that “time waits for no-one”, which also happens to be the title of Rolling Stones song released in 1974. It was not the only Stones’ song to offer sage, if ignored, Cyprob advice to our idiot politicians – there was also “You can’t always get what you want” from 1969.


THE YPSONAS shoot-out last weekend inspired classically over-the-top headlines in the Akel mouthpiece Haravghi which seized the opportunity to blame the government for its failure to tackle criminal activities.

“Wild West and the government is looking for measures,” shouted Monday’s front-page headline, reporting: “Wild murders, armed robberies, bombs in cars, shops, houses. Drugs, gunfire in a residential area with a policeman being seriously wounded…. The sense of insecurity of citizens is at its peak.” The next day it said the government was “Sleeping while crime rages.”

Phed Express claimed Paphos cops had stopped carrying out narcotests so as not to highlight the town’s high drug

THE WILD West needs a sheriff and Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos seems perfectly suited for the role. Strangely for once the auditor-general did not try to take over the proceedings – he did not even undertake an investigation of the shootout to establish whether the firing of bullets by officers in self-defence was a waste of public money– leaving the Phed Express of Paphos an open field.

He was in his element, ranting and raving against the police force which included “perjurers, corrupt and incompetent officers that encourage criminal elements… instead of being thrown out of the force these officers are given promotions and stars.”

One of those wanted for the Ypsonas case (he was speaking on Monday before the arrest), the mayor said he had reported publicly at least 10 times in the past and gave information about his activities to the police. This person led a big drug ring with a turnover of many millions of euros, while two shops in Kato Paphos “were converted to supermarkets for hard drugs and dangerous narcotic substances”.

Drug use in Paphos had taken dramatic dimensions, Phed Express warned, and claimed the cops had stopped carrying out narcotests so as not to highlight the town’s high drug use among the young. Apparently the positive tests were disproportionately high for the size of the town. This is what happens when you have two supermarkets for hard drugs in the town and the police do nothing about it.


IF ANYONE expected Greece’s foreign minister Nikos Kotzias to act like a normal witness in the court case between Kykkos monastery and the Greek state, regarding a dispute over prime real estate, would have been disappointed on Monday when he made his appearance.

The chubby, red-cheeked minister did not give testimony but made long-winded political statements which the judge was too polite to stop. “Even the Turks treated us better,” he declared referring to a plot given to Greece by Kemal Ataturk in the 1930s. “Not even during the Junta years was Greece vilified in this way,” he lamented.

Kotzias even played the patriotic card, reminding the court of the great battles he had given in Crans-Montana, in his role as national saviour of Kyproulla. Famagustans and Morphites should take note that he also helped to ensure they would never return to their towns.


WHAT is difficult to understand is why there was a court case now? There was a court ruling in 2017 ordering the Greek state to return the land to Kykkos monastery. The land had been donated to the Greek state on condition it would build its embassy there 20 years earlier, but this never happened.

When the Kykkos Bishop Nikiforos heard that Greece was trying to sell the land to a third party for big bucks, he went to court to prevent the transaction from taking place and succeeded. Now Kykkos has found a buyer, but the Greek state is refusing to transfer the land back to the monastery despite the court ruling of 2017.

The devious Kotzias meanwhile tried to create the impression that the whole case was the work of the monastery’s greedy lawyer, Costas Velaris, who was only interested in money and was pursuing the matter against the wishes of the bishop. The Bishop Nikiforos was a “God-loving man” who loved Greece and had “tears in his eyes” when speaking about the Greek flag flying opposite the monastery, said Kotzias.

Kotzias’ ploy is unlikely to work. Of course Nikiforos loves Greece but not so much that he will sacrifice the sale of a piece of land that would fetch the cash-strapped monastery close to €10 million. There would not just be tears in his eyes but tear-filled buckets if this deal fell through.


PREZ Nik and his twin brother Bambos were sat next to each other in the church during the funeral service for their mother who passed away aged 94 this week. It was interesting to see that Bambos, in stark contrast to his twin brother, has white hair strengthening our suspicions that Nik has his hair dyed. There is of course the alternative theory, that the handsomer of the twins, Bambos, also has black hair but dyes it white because he feels it gives him gravitas. If this is the case we would be happy to apologise to our prez.


INCREDIBLE that our authorities are actually considering amending the constitution so that the blatant deception of the voters by Dr Eleni Theocharous in the 2016 parliamentary elections is allowed to stand. Even more absurd is that almost all the parties actually support this insane idea that was put forward by an otherwise sane person – AG Costas Clerides.

Theocharous stood in the parliamentary elections, only to boost her party’s showing, with no intention of giving up her seat in the European Parliament which pays its members lot better that the Cyprus parliament. Of course her decision was not about the money but rather because by staying at the European parliament she could fight the many battles regarding the Cyprob that would take place there. Alas, her fierce fighting abilities were not required in Strasbourg.

Instead of amending the constitution, Clerides should consider taking legal measures against Theocharous who demanded the people’s votes and then refused to represent them.

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