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15 June, 2024
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Fodder for the beasts

An op-ed by Marina Economides on how Cyprus politicians remain silent to ''protect'' their careers

Marina Economides

Marina Economides

Last week, Nicos Anastasiades demanded through his lawyer the withdrawal of the books of Makarios Drousiotis, an apology and compensation. He warned the author about "deliberate distortions, contradictory claims, and self-contradictions," vowing to refute each "malicious and slanderous lie."

The emotional statement revealed Anastasiades' diminishing tolerance, despite the paradox that it took three years to discover the alleged lies. During this period, as excerpts circulated, creating the impression of a significant feud during his administration, he avoided pertinent questions and downplayed revelations.

"...while Varosha is being lost, illegal development in Trikomo continues and the fait accompli leads to partition, some, in order to maintain their political careers, play with words..."

Surprisingly, Anastasiades showed no similar reaction to revelations about the two-state solution in the last five years. Logically, if anything should offend his political dignity, it is the accusation that under his administration he led things one step closer to partition. Instead, a veil of silence followed those revelations. Was the rumor that the President was discussing left and right another form of solution, which in effect gives half of the country to Turkey, of minor importance? The suspicious might say that the difference between the books by Makarios Drousiotis and the two-state solution soundbite was that the former included testimonies of local politicians whose careers still depended on him and which could have easily been overturned, and also, the involvement of foreign officials in the latter, making denial challenging.

But the surprising thing is that Cypriot politicians were also on the receiving end of Nicos Anastasiades' new ideas. It was confirmed when it was publicly revealed by the former deputy chairman of the Civic Alliance, Panagiotis Savvidis, and Archbishop Chrysostomos II. Along with them, political leaders were apparently made aware of the proposal. None had the courage to reveal what was unfolding behind the scenes. Not to score opposition points, but to prevent betrayal.

Didn't Nicolas Papadopoulos, for example, not hear about the new ideas? Nicolas Papadopoulos who, downplaying the importance of the enclosed city of Famagusta and the struggle to save it, urged us to go to Google Earth to find that the enclosed Famagusta is but a part of Protaras, an area equal to the Larnaca Salt Lake. Marinos Sizopoulos also chose to remain silent in the face of the revelations. Marinos Sizopoulos, who, when there was movement on the Cyprus issue, undermined it by publicly leaking the minutes of the National Council.

While they remained silent on the exploration of a two-state approach, today, Nicolas Papadopoulos, Marinos Sizopoulos and ELAM believe that the damage to the Cyprus problem was done by Christos Stylianides, when he said from the floor of the Greek Parliament that half of Cyprus is already Turkish. Michalis Hadjipandela, who willingly accepted an appointment by Nicos Anastasiades after the infamous revelations, also reacted. Christos Stylianides immediately became a pawn in the hands of populists in Greece. He also became a pawn in the hands of the populists in Cyprus.

Today's critics, however, closed their eyes and mouths when Turkification was attempted through declarations. They only expressed their concern whenever there was any glimmer of hope for a solution. The supporters of progress and the continuation of the status quo were quick to deconstruct Christos Stylianides without listening to his speech. A speech that warned of the dangers of Turkification. A speech which, both in itself and in the extreme reactions it provoked, confirmed what is actually happening in Cyprus: That while Varosha is being lost, illegal development in Trikomo continues and the fait accompli leads to partition, some, in order to maintain their political careers, play with words, reproduce slogans and find new faces to throw as fodder for the beasts. Confirming that their existence is inextricably linked to fake fights. Fake struggles and patriotic crowns, unaware that in their country's critical moments, their silence was even criminal.

[This op-ed was translated from its Greek original and may have been edited for brevity and clarity]

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  problem

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