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19 July, 2024
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Alive and kicking! Cyprus' political system under the spotlight

Exploring a stereotypical approach to the Cyprus issue in political discourse

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

The recent public debate in Famagusta Municipality has become a vital reality check on the state of Cyprus' political system over time. The decision to invite Suleiman Ulutsai, the so-called mayor of Famagusta and a Turkish Cypriot vocal about Turkish actions in Varosha, to an event condemning Turkish occupation holds significant political implications. This move, ideally, could have been a highly symbolic gesture, especially as Nicosia attempts to reignite dialogue on the Cyprus problem after six years of absence, amidst a series of fait accompli involving Famagusta.

However, the reaction from certain parties (EDEK, ELAM, DIKO) and a segment of society that has consistently maintained a tough stance on the Cyprus problem was predictable: "Do not invite him!" Beyond this specific debate, it is crucial to consider the broader implications and functioning of the political system.

The ongoing debate reflects a political system that handles the Cyprus problem in a stereotypical manner, influencing decision-making, policy formulation, and overall political discourse. The presence of a Turkish Cypriot at an anti-occupation event triggers various reactions - reinforcing EDEK's dismissive stance, sustaining ELAM's right-wing agenda, and echoing DIKO's discussions about a solution with specific content. Synagermos and AKEL, on the fringes of this political contest, are also trying to capitalize politically.

The crux of the matter is that grand gestures, international involvement, or prominent personalities will not solve the underlying Cyprus problem. The system is stuck in a cycle of political immaturity, slogans, and confrontation for the sake of confrontation. Meanwhile, in Famagusta, the political system is outpaced by the ongoing fait accompli on the ground, driven by Israeli businessmen selling Greek Cypriot property in the occupied territories.

Restarting talks faces challenges due to the inherent contradictions within the leadership coalition, particularly with the EPP opposing the unacceptable status quo of occupation. The coalition's future may be uncertain, and developments in the Cyprus problem could impact DIKO's position.

It is evident that the current political system is not functioning effectively. To drive meaningful change, active citizens must come together and create an unwavering agreement on how to address the Cyprus issue and reshape the political landscape accordingly.

[This op-ed was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  Turkey

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