IT has become rather tiring listening to the daily exchanges about the Cyprus problem that the government engages in. If it is not the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci it is trading accusations with, as part of the fully fledged blame-game that is being played, it is responding to criticism by Akel about President Anastasiades’ handling of the Cyprus problem.
The overriding impression is that the government is not prepared to allow anything to go unanswered, which is not the smartest approach at least communications-wise. First, constantly defending the president’s positions shows a degree of insecurity and uncertainty about his choices and decisions. Second, it keeps the issues alive and does not serve the interests of the government because neither side emerges unscathed from these exchanges.
Admittedly, playing the blame-game is considered a national obligation whenever things are deadlocked or heading for deadlock. It is a tradition as old as the Cyprus problem that all presidents felt it was their duty to blame the other side so that the international community does not hold it responsible for the deadlock. Nobody seems to realise that the international community has no interest in who is to blame for each collapse of the talks, having much more important and pressing issues to deal with than two sides that for decades refuse to agree a settlement.
The government is fully aware of this, but engages in the blame game for its domestic audience and in order to answer Akel, which is now its only critic on the Cyprus problem. The rejectionist parties of the centre no longer attack the government, which in a way validates the Akel’s criticism. If Diko, Edek and the rest of the anti-settlement parties approve of Anastasiades’ handling, it is unlikely to lead to any agreement, which is the gist of what Akel has been saying.
Unfortunately, the government is resorting to the same rhetoric used by president Tassos Papadopoulos to answer Anastasiades’ criticism after the rejection of the Annan plan – that he was promoting the Turkish positions instead of backing the government of his country. This is what Anastasiades and his government spokesman are now saying about Akel. We have returned to the era when criticism of the president’s handling of the Cyprus problem is labelled unpatriotic and dismissed for promoting the Turkish positions.
In other words, even the arguments used in the daily exchanges have become tiring. The question the politicians should be asking themselves is whether anyone is listening to them or has the Cyprus problem become the plaything of a couple of hundred politicians and journalists?