Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Starters, main course, two states, dessert

What could Nik and Kudret have been talking about at a dinner that lasted more than three hours?

THE CYPROB is obviously not a hot topic of conversation at social dinners any more. In fact, it may have gone completely out of fashion a couple of years ago after Prez Nik found an excuse to bail out of the Crans Montana conference so he could focus his efforts on turning Kyproulla into a regional power in the energy sector.

Bringing up the Cyprob at a social dinner nowadays would provoke disdainful looks from the rest of the people at the table and earn the perpetrator the title of ‘Cyprob bore’ if he was in polite company. The epithets would be much nastier if he was in impolite company and he may have had a glass of Keo poured over his head to shut him up.

Secret, social dinners, like the one attended by Mr and Mrs Prez at the house of chandeliers and mirrors of the Maronite parliamentary representative Yiannakis Mousa, are a different matter, especially when the other guests are Mr and Mrs Ozersay.

What could Nik and Kudret have been talking about at a dinner that lasted more than three hours? Football, hairstyles, the rise of populist politics, Brexit, the difference in prices of agricultural products north and south, the latest trends in art or the effects of post-modernist thought on contemporary society?

The clever money would be on the Cyprob having been the main topic of conversation even if this went against social dinner etiquette. You can get away with this when the social dinner is held secretly, as nobody needs to know the Cyprob was brought to the dinner table.

 

MANY POINTED out that while Nik made no effort to see the pro-federation Mustafa Akinci, he was happy to meet up with the pseudo-foreign minister that was a supporter of the two-state solution, for which our Prez has developed quite a fondness and openly says so in private meetings.

Ozersay is Turkey’s trusted man in the north and the wily Nik believed that he could be the conduit for his messages to Ankara. At the beginning of June, when the social dinner was held, the Fatih had already invaded our EEZ and was preparing to start drilling, so there is a strong possibility the crafty Nik wanted a meeting with Ozersay, through whom he could send some compromise proposal to Turkey to help him save face.

The likelihood of Erdogan, who is going through a jingoistic high, backing down was non-existent but our man may still have felt it was worth a shot. The plan, obviously, did not work out but it was still an opportunity for him to repeat that he was willing to discuss the two-state solution with his fellow traveller, in between the main course and the dessert.

“I do not think I need to ask permission about who I will eat with or not, especially when it is a clearly social event,” said Anastasiades, who insisted this was a “dinner of a social nature,” and cited the presence of wives as emphatic proof of his case.

 

FEARING that nobody believed him, he recruited the help of his squeaky-clean, churchgoing foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides to support his implausible claims that the Cyprob was not on the dinner menu. Christodoulides is no longer government spokesman so why did he feel obliged to speak about the matter?

The prez probably calculated that more people would believe his yarn if it came from the velvet-tongued Nicos, who, had no qualms about lying for his president, a small sin for which he would be forgiven when he next went to holy confession.

“It was a social dinner, on no account secret, in the presence of their wives, at which nothing was said about the Cyprus problem,” said Christodoulides, repeating his boss’ narrative. How could he be so sure, what was discussed considering he was not present? And if it were not a secret dinner, why did we hear about it two weeks after it took place, only once Akinci was informed and made a public fuss about it? It could not have been any more secret if they tried.

Nik deployed Nikos’ Christian honesty only after Ozersay said that this type of meeting (social dinners) “are often much more useful than official meetings,” adding that there were new ideas on the Cyprob and it was good for these to be discussed.

Our Nik would have convinced more people if he said he never discussed the Cyprob on a glass dinner table, as a matter of principle.

 

THE EU sanctions that were to be imposed on Turkey at last week’s European Council will have to wait, despite Christodoulides’ tireless efforts to persuade our partners at last Tuesday’s General Affairs Council of the need to punish Turkey’s invasion of our EEZ.

In the end, all he got was a declaration that the EU would “closely monitor developments,” and that the European Council “welcomes the invitation to the Commission and the European External Action Service to submit options for appropriate measures without delay.”

Prez Nik improved the declaration, by insisting that the word ‘appropriate’ was replaced by ‘targeted’. It was explained to the media that the word ‘targeted’ meant that companies and countries that co-operated with Turkey on the drilling would also be subject to the measures that the EU would impose.

The Commission could be monitoring developments for another year before it submits options for measures that will not bother Turkey, because it does not want to piss off Erdogan, who is playing host to three million refugees that would otherwise flood European countries.

Christodoulides is said to have used the threat of vetoing the enlargement process in order to secure the vague promise of ‘appropriate measures’ – upgraded to ‘targeted measures’ by Nik – at some point in the future, from our partners, who were not keen on falling out with Turkey over the violations of our EEZ. European solidarity for poor old Kyproulla is limited to words that are targeted rather than appropriate.

 

THE LEADERSHIP of the school teachers union Oelmek gave a demonstration of its bigotry last Wednesday to foreign comrades who were in Larnaca for a conference on the ‘Effective completion of education of migrant children of refugees and immigrants’.

The conference was organised by the European Trade Unions Committee for education and representatives of Turkish Cypriot teaching unions were also invited. When the vice president of Oelmek found out, just before the start of the conference that the discussions would also be translated into Turkish he flipped his lid.

He would not hear of it, insisting there should be no Turkish translation. The Turkish translators were informed their services would not be required, only to be informed a little later they should go. On hearing that some Oelmek fanatic had decided there would be no Turkish translation because it offended him, the foreign organisers intervened and reversed his patriotic decision.

And we wonder why our public schools are becoming recruitment grounds for Elam.

 

COMRADE Tof passed away on Friday, and as expected the government went over the top in honouring him. There will be four days of mourning, with flags flying at half-mast until the day of the funeral, Tuesday, which has been declared a public holiday.

The state funeral will be the type afforded to a serving president, decided the council of ministers which met extraordinarily on Saturday to deal with Christofias’ passing. The only president to have died while in office was Makarios and the official mourning for him lasted some 40 days, or was it years?

I may be mistaken, but there was no public holiday for the funerals of other former presidents that passed away so why will there be one for Christofias? Is this Prez Nik’s idea of ingratiating himself to the commies?

Our establishment meanwhile has written a short poem to mark the passing of our country’s first (and hopefully last) communist president.

Demetris Christofias

So Farewell Comrade Tof,

You tried to create a socialist paradise in Kyproulla,

But despite your best efforts, it ended in bankruptcy hell,

The greedy banks, neo-liberalism and Nato were responsible,

But you were unjustly blamed,

Now you are rid of them,

In the communist paradise in the sky,

Where everyone is really free and equal.

 

MORALLY perfect auditor-general Odysseas spoke at a seminar last Wednesday on sound government and combatting corruption. In his speech, he revealed how incompetent public officials were being appointed. He had a specific official in mind who had a “very poor performance record and was suddenly appointed as leader and before long his total incompetence was revealed.”

Unfortunately, he could not name him.

Another suggestion he made was that a president should be restricted to two terms. He made no suggestion for limiting the term for the auditor-general who is accountable to nobody and holds his position until retirement that means he could be in his post for the equivalent of five or even six presidential terms. There is no danger of an auditor-general turning into a tyrant after 20 years in the job even though Odysseas has achieved it after just five.

 

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