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Kotzias accuses Eide of creating opposition to Nicosia and Athens in new book (Updated)

Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias with former United Nations Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide

Greek Foreign Minister, Nicos Kotzias has accused former UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide of creating opposition to the positions of Nicosia and Athens on the Cyprus issue by cultivating close ties with journalists in both capitals, and implied they were traitors.

In a new book written by Kotzias on his experience on the Cyprus settlement negotiations over the past three years, which is expected to be launched within the next few weeks, the Greek Foreign Minister said Eide had not tried the same ploy with Ankara.

The book, titled ‘Cyprus 2015-2018 covers a three-year period that changed the Cyprus issue, according to Kotzias, who focuses on “the struggle for regularity without [Turkish] intervention rights and ‘guarantees’’.

Kotzias also includes among other things, unpublished letters he had sent to Eide, reports said.

According to the Greek website news24/7, the book will also include a letter from Kotzias to the UN Secretary-General shortly before the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana, last summer, which was not sent, and also a text rejected by Turkey on the abolition of the guarantee system and a new friendship and security pact under a solution. The book will reportedly be published in Greek and English.

In it, Kotzias indirectly implies that some journalists in Greece and Cyprus who had connections with Eide, were traitors, referring to them as “Ephialtes”. The word refers to the man bearing the same name, who, according to Greek historian Herodotus, betrayed his homeland by showing the Persian troops a path around the allied Greek position at the pass of Thermopylae, which helped them win the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.

Today, the word ‘ephialtes’, which also means ‘nightmare’, is used to characterise someone who has betrayed their country or social group.

In the prologue of the book, published by Greek website news24/7, Kotzias makes extensive reference to Eide: “In the negotiations on the Cyprus issue, especially at the two international conferences, a special problem emerged: unlike the UN Secretary-General, his personal envoy […] had not helped in their good preparation, but he also did not understand the importance and the weight for the solution of the Cyprus issue, the question of the guarantees and the military occupation of Cyprus.”

In the process, Kotzias said, “he {Eide] did unprecedented things”, such as forging connections with journalists in Cyprus and even more so in Greece to create an opposition front to the two governments, something he did not even try to do in Turkey. “On the one hand, because the Ankara regime would not allow it, on the other, because Greece, and Hellenism in general, has a tradition in ephialtes.”

In his book, he said, one can read about the relations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots but also the Republic of Cyprus with the three guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey, the UK – and their stance during the negotiations.

Kotzias referred to Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, as “very agreeable”, and “a Turkish Cypriot who still feels Cypriot” but who “adopts uncritically Turkey’s perceptions.” He said that that was a negative point.

The most positive of these negotiations, he said, “was the acceptance by the UN and the EU of our key positions on the two treaties we had proposed to be abolished, the fact that even the United Kingdom, with the exception of a deputy minister, understood this need.”

The negative element, he said, “was Turkey’s obsession with terms and perceptions of an older age, of protectorates and colonies.”

Kotzias said that in the three years he has been a foreign minister, the Cyprus problem has been one of the most important points of reflection, and of shaping his policies and political action.

The Cyprus problem, he said, has been set by the current Greek administration on new basis, which put forward anew, “the new fundamental question that defines it”, the military occupation of a large part of the island.

Kotzias said that the way he had defined the Cyprus problem found strong resistance. “My views had become the subject of insults, and I personally have been the subject of provocative attacks, slander and a defamation campaign, both internally and abroad,” he said.

He said that his abusers, however, “lost this battle because the views I expressed were embraced by the overwhelming majority of Greeks and almost all Greek Cypriots. They were necessarily adopted, along the way, by many of those who reproached me. They were largely adopted by the UN, the EU and most of the members of the Security Council. The power of ideas when they are fair, structured, and right, conquer every well-intentioned person. When, through the battle of ideas, their correctness is confirmed.”

Kotzias also said that he had been attacked by many with fury and loathing when he set out to ask for “abolition of conditions used by Turkey as an alibi to invade Cyprus”, shaping of new agreements away from intervention and guarantee rights, and turning Cyprus into a normal state.

His critics said that if these issues are put on the table, there would be no solution to the Cyprus problem, Kotzias said. But the paradox here, he said, “was that these are the core of the international problem of Cyprus, its external aspect.”

He added that he had also put forward the issue of the rights of the minorities of the Latins, Armenians and Maronites living on the island. “The three are entitled in an evolving Republic of Cyprus to secure even wider rights.”

The book is divided into categories of texts, speeches, interviews, statements, and other texts.



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