Speech by the member of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL Neoklis Sylikiotis to the Union of Cypriots in Britain
17 July 2019, London
Forty-five years have elapsed since the tragic events of the summer of 1974, namely the double crime committed against our country and people. 45 years since the fascist coup d’état of 15 July 1974, which opened the back door of betrayal to the invasion of Turkey and to the ongoing occupation of half of our country.
The coup is the greatest betrayal that has ever been committed against our homeland and people. The coup d’état of the Athens junta and Grivas’ EOKA B to overthrow Makarios was the climax of the plan that had been hatched by NATO aiming to impose the partition of Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus itself, President Makarios and AKEL were the obstacles to this fulfillment of this plan.
Cyprus was not only betrayed by external forces. No one, neither NATO, nor the CIA or Turkey could have realised their plans had they not had allies – nightmares and had they not had the cooperation of the Greek Junta, Grivas and EOKA B ‘.
In fact, the supporters of Enosis gave Turkey the opportunity it had been looking for on a plate.
So, Grivas, EOKA B and its members, who carried out their plans for the execution of the coup d’état, may have been claiming to have been fighting for supposedly “sacred ideals”, but in practice they were paving the way for the betrayal of Cyprus.
They may have portrayed themselves as “fearless patriots” and presented themselves as “humble warriors of the Nation”, but when they heard the sound of the sirens signaling the invasion they ran to hide in the Troodos mountains, sending the people to confront the invaders unarmed and betrayed.
The treachery of the coup was the pretext for the invasion of Turkey.
This was the only way the Turkish army could have invaded Cyprus and occupy – to this day – more than a third of our country’s territory.
This was the only way it could have driven thousands of Cypriots to their death, drowning Cyprus in blood and tears.
The only way it could have separated the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
The only way it could construct the barbed wires of the occupation.
The only way it could transfer more than 40,000 Turkish soldiers to the suffering and sacred lands of Cyprus.
It was the only way Turkey could continuously colonise the occupied areas, threatening the survival of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots on the land that gave birth to them. As a result, our people live permanently with the threat hanging over it in its own homeland.
For that reason, Cyprus will not be Turkified if it will be reunited.
Cyprus will be Turkified if it does not reunite.
The future of all of us will be threatened not if we solve the Cyprus problem with bizonal, bicommunal federation, but if we were to abandon this framework.
In Cyprus, we have suffered and continue to suffer from the results of the extreme right’s actions after the double crime of the fascist coup and the Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation. Today we see elements of the extreme right regrouping using the same slogans, with ELAM as the prime example which is the branch of the Greek “Golden Dawn” party in Cyprus. With attacks on immigrants and Turkish Cypriots, nationalist rhetoric and their nostalgia for Grivas and the revival of the activity of EOKA B, this reflects their miserable presence in Cypriot society.
At the same time, however, the government faction of DISY is making overtures to the far right. The events organised to pay tribute to the destroyer of Cyprus, Grivas, the events to honor the coupists who attacked the Presidential Palace, but also the inclusion on the election ballot of DISY of descendants of coupists are reconfirming the turn towards the extreme-right.
While various forces and circles are raising Enosis banners and with their battle cries trying to terrify the enemy, Turkey is continuing to pursue undisturbed its policy of integrating the occupied territories. It continues to violate the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, encircling us. It is threatening to open Famagusta in a way that will consolidate partition further. It continues to cultivate fanaticism in religion as a means of exercising greater control over the Turkish Cypriot community.
A section of the Turkish Cypriot community is resisting all of this.
But it will not withstand forever to resist and confront a powerful Turkey. If the Right and far-right in the Greek Cypriot community don’t understand this promptly, this time they will harm Cyprus irreparably.
Mr. Anastasiades inherited the Cyprus problem from D. Christofias with joint communiqués that were safeguarding our side’s long-standing positions with many issues agreed and convergences recorded, with convergences that resolve the chapter on energy with the solution of the Cyprus problem and the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus safeguarded, with the international community recognizing that our side was one step ahead in the efforts to reach a solution of the problem.
What did President Anastasiades do and to what stage did he lead the Cyprus problem to? He must reflect about it, even belatedly.
It must be understood by all.
Cyprus will not be saved by trilateral partnerships between Greece-Cyprus and Israel, by casinos, golden passport schemes and the construction of luxury towers. Cyprus will be saved if it is reunited. Mr. Anastasiades has to take initiatives, demonstrate consistency and determination so as to promote the goal of the solution of the Cyprus problem; to consistently highlight our long-standing positions and arguments.
We of course don’t relieve Turkey of its timeless responsibility for the non-solution of the Cyprus problem. What we are saying is that we ought to do everything we possibly can to make it clear to everyone that the Greek Cypriot side is seeking a solution to the problem. Unfortunately, right now, that is anything but the case. All of this at a time when Turkey’s provocative actions are reaching a climax in our EEZ, but also as regards Famagusta.
I would like to reiterate that as AKEL we will devote all our forces to the battle for the salvation of Cyprus. We will resist with all our might the nightmarish scenario of partition. We will not stop working for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as described by the United Nations. This is the only way to reunite our country, to reverse the fait accompli created by the invasion and occupation.
Today we honor those who resisted and sacrificed their lives so that fascism would not pass.
We honor those who fought at the front line of the battle to defend the freedom and dignity of Cyprus and our people.
We honor all those who did not yield; those who were bold enough not to bow their heads to the betrayal and crimes committed by EOKA B and the Greek Junta.
We honor today both the living and the dead who were vigilant and filled the squares to defend democracy.
We honor today both the living and the dead who courageously resisted the terror unleashed by EOKA B.
We honor today, the living and the dead, who at the critical time did not retreat, but rushed to the front line of the battle to defend Cyprus.
The simple common people, who at the critical time, became heroes defending democracy and the freedom of Cyprus.
But it is not enough to honor them. We have to vindicate their sacrifice. We must continue the struggle for reunification and peace.
We do not forget!
We do not forget those who ordered the extermination of Cyprus. Our homeland was only useful to them if it was subjugated to serve them, only useful as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, “a spying surveillance base of the free world” against the Soviet Union, as a launching pad for suppressing the Arab liberation movements and as a centre to control the flow of oil to the West.
They wanted our homeland subordinated to their interests, as they continue to do today too. That is the goal of the notorious Rubio-Menendez law, which the Anastasiades government supports and the governing DISY party has welcomed. They want Cyprus to become their tool in the US-Russia confrontation, putting our country and people in danger.
Back then the goal was to put Cyprus under imperialism’s full control. That is why Makarios had to be overthrown, Turkey to invade and divide our island. The Plans “Ball”, “Lemnister”, “Acheson”, Cyrus Vance and others all had same goal: the overthrow of Makarios and seizing control of Cyprus.
Forty five years onwards, our homeland is still bleeding with the barbed wires of division wounding its body. The refugee settlements are collapsing, while the state is coldly indifferent to the plight of those who have been there for years, waiting to return to their homes and properties. The black-and-white photographs of beloved ones are fading, turning yellow and the refugees waiting for an answer as to the fate of so many people and whether the sacrifices will eventually be vindicated.
It is a duty that does not permit us surrender.
It is a duty that does not permit us to accept the nightmare of partition, which unfortunately now more than ever before we see staring at us.
Turkey has always been the obstacle for the achievement of a solution with its intransigent positions. Turkey has always had as a priority the promotion of its own interests.
How can we make its goals unachievable?
How can we force it to either cooperate on the correct basis of the solution or expose it with Turkey paying the corresponding cost?
There aren’t many ways to do so. We will do it by sticking to the agreed framework of the solution. This is what the international community advises us to do. We can do it by taking advantage of the justice we have on our side, provided that we are well prepared and pool all the arguments that we have at our disposal. We should pursue this goal without contradictions, regressions and tactical games that simply make it easier for Turkey to promote its goals; without obsessions and racist perceptions. We should do so by working together with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots who want and are also struggling for the solution and reunification.
I am sorry to say that over the past few years we have not been doing so. Instead, the handlings on the Cyprus problem have made it easier for Turkey to remain unpunished, as demonstrated by the UN Secretary General’s reports from September 2017 onwards.
Turkey is escalating its provocations and attempting new fait accompli that are bringing us closer to the final partition. The prolonged stalemate, as AKEL had warned early enough, gave Turkey the chance to put the unacceptable demand for two states on the table.
Whereas the President and the Foreign Minister were telling us that they had shielded the EEZ, that we had established adequate and effective mechanisms to prevent Turkey’s provocative actions in the EEZ and that Turkey could not proceed to any drillings, what do we see today? Turkey is proceeding with drillings, while the sanctions announced by the European Union are not only ineffective, but are also far short of the expectations and declarations of the government and the statements issued by the Foreign Minister.
At the same time, Turkey’s machinations on Famagusta pose enormous dangers. Our side’s actions should have been aiming at ending Turkey’s provocative actions and the resumption of the negotiations. The President of the Republic, in simple and no uncertain terms, with the termination of the Turkish provocations as the sole precondition, should convince the UN Secretary-General that he is indeed ready to continue the talks in the way the Secretary General himself proposes.
That is to say, to continue the negotiations from where they had remained at Crans Montana, to reconfirm the acceptance of all the convergences recorded so far; to accept the Guterres Framework as the basis of the talks, as well as the procedure of cross-negotiation of the 6 key issues.
Even in his last letter to the UN Secretary-General, President Anastasiades is reiterating the “new” ideas for decentralized power, a parliamentary system, and the shrinking of the one positive vote, which are not only annulling the convergences achieved and not only are all the “new” convergences outside the Guterres Framework, but they are erroneous and substantive.
We are very afraid that the handlings and developments so far do anything but lead there.
We urge all political forces to understand the realities. We are not at the eleventh hour. We’ve past it.
If Cyprus is not reunited it will be Turkified.
If Turkey is left unpunished to colonise and fill half our country with its troops, it will at some point seek to expand to the other half.
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will only be able to count on the future if it is safeguarded that they will live this future together; that we will live it within the framework of a solution that will end the occupation and colonization; that will restore the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus.
A solution based on the United Nations resolutions, the High-Level Agreements, International and European Law.
A solution that will demilitarize Cyprus and exclude any guarantees and intervention rights.
A solution that will reunite the land, the people, the institutions and the economy within the framework of a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality as described in the United Nations.
A solution that will lead to a united state, a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus.
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