“Talk about a new ‘long term’ struggle is “patriotic” sloganeering”
- Should we enter into α dialogue or not? Who does it suit when there are no talks underway?
Interview with Aristos Damianou, member of the Political Bureau of AKEL and MP
20th October 2019, “Haravgi” daily newspaper
“It’s the first time”, as the Cypriot Foreign Minister stresses, that the EU is taking measures against a candidate for accession country and a NATO member. Are these measures sufficient to address and, in particular, to end Turkey’s provocative actions?
AD: Unfortunately, the government ruling forces are yet again engaging in communication games instead of exercising a meaningful policy. They want to forget what they were saying about Cyprus’ European partners and about the supposedly harsh measures that they would call for to be approved against Turkey. They do so by distorting AKEL’s clear positions.
Never mind that the substance of Foreign Minster Mr. Christodoulides’ reference to “the first time” is politically a historical. Tougher measures were indeed taken against Turkey, but not today. They were first approved with the decision to freeze Turkey’s accession chapters and then during the Demetris Christofias government in 2009 with the complete freezing – in essence – of Turkey’s accession negotiations.
Without underestimating their importance, the recently announced measures are well short of circumstances, but also well below the expectations that the Anastasiades-DISY government had been cultivating among the people. Nor can they be considered as sufficient to counter Turkey’s aggression, let alone put an end to it. This is what former Foreign Minister Mr. Kasoulides has also stated.
Of course Christodoulides’ argument is easily refuted, given that Russia and other non-EU states had much tougher sanctions imposed on them in the past. For that reason the EU should have been much stricter towards a candidate country such as Turkey indeed when Turkey was also being judged on its invasion of Syria, so there was a general resentment.
We are very well aware that it is interests that determine the policy of states, which explains the difficulty in decisions being taken for effective measures. The government ruling forces are sacrificing this truth when they exhaust themselves in engaging in communication tricks to portray a rosy picture of the situation and relieve themselves of responsibilities for their erroneous handlings.
Some forces and circles have raised objections as to whether we should go to negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem under the current circumstances, with Turkey situated within the Cypriot EEZ. They are concerned – they say – that Turkey is in a position of strength and will impose its own positions. What do you think?
AD: The unanimous position adopted by the National Council is that there can be no substantive negotiations when Turkey is continuing its provocative actions. Nevertheless, if we follow the logic that we won’t engage in any dialogue under the circumstances, we are in reality playing Turkey’s game, because the perpetuation of the partitionist status quo suits it. After all, precisely because Turkey will be in a position of strength for an indefinite period and as Cyprus will not – as the government ruling forces themselves were telling the people – become a “geopolitical lord of the Mediterranean”, the approach that refers to the waging of a new “long struggle”, which constantly seeks to find justifications not to resume the dialogue, is “patriotic” sloganeering.
No one disputes the difficulties because of Turkey. Regrettably after the collapse at the Crans Montana conference, the prospect of a solution has moved away, but we have to assert it. To assert liberation and reunification we must engage in talks. We have paid a heavy price because of expediencies, regressions, the passive inactive policy of following developments and a lack of insight.
Just last year and at the same time as Turkey was showing in a clear way its intentions to us, the Foreign Minister was declaring in Crete from the sidelines of the Trilateral Meeting held there that “we have nothing whatsoever to worry about from Turkey actions or statements”. They were telling us that as a result of the trilateral meetings (between the leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt), the government’s “multidimensional foreign policy” and the alliances forged with NATO countries they had shielded the drilling program and the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus. Judging by the result, we say to Mr. Anastasiades and his government that they have failed miserably.
The Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Akinci is coming under fierce attack for the position he expressed, namely that neither the invasion of Syria, nor the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was a peace operation. Why haven’t we seen similar support being expressed towards him on the part of the Greek Cypriot side or/and Greek Cypriot parties? Which forces and circles would the removal of Mr. Akinci from the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community at this juncture in the Cyprus problem suit?
AD: Besides the courage that characterizes Mr. Akinci’s specific statement, its content also represents a reply to all those forces and circles within the Greek Cypriot community who are leveling everyone and everything, equating Turkish Cypriot politicians who believe in federation and peaceful co-existence, like Akinci, Talat and Ozger Ozgur, with Eroglu, Ozersay or Rauf Denktash. They consequently didn’t welcome Akinci’s stand because it was exposing their own narrative.
Let’s face it. If, as a result of illegal voting in the occupied territories next spring we will be facing as our interlocutor a political offspring of Denktash and the chosen one of Ankara’s deep state, the prospect of reaching a convergence on a federal basis of the solution and on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem will almost be non-existent. For that reason, in reply to your question, we consider that Akinci’s removal suits the nationalist circles in both communities and the advocates of partition, but also all those who are flirting with the current status quo, calling partition as the “second best solution”.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
- Feb26 2015-02-26
- Nov13 2014-11-13