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15 July, 2024
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From 'Yes' to 'No' in the Annan plan saga

Political maneuvering results in misleading portrayal of 'Yes' vote as betrayal

Eleni Xenou

Eleni Xenou

When we talk about the Annan Plan, we're not just referring to another proposal that was presented to us and rejected. We're talking about a significant historical moment that was incredibly favorable for various reasons (support from the international community, endorsement through European institutions, the strong response from Turkish Cypriots against Denktash, etc.) to resolve the Cyprus issue, the momentum of which we completely lost.

At the same time, we're talking about one of the darkest periods of manipulating public opinion, with the demonization of the "Yes" vote taking on dimensions that restricted freedom of expression. Therefore, when Mr. Kyprianou decides to reveal for the first time that the AKEL party's "Yes" transformed overnight into a "No," he must simultaneously urge his party to take the significant responsibilities it bears towards the nation and personally apologize for not clarifying his stance back then, prioritizing the country over the party. So, what did Mr. Kyprianou reveal to us? He revealed that the circumstances were constantly changing during those days, and they needed to assess where the AKEL's "Yes" would lead. And they concluded that it would lead to a deep division since EDEK had already decided to vote "No," and a substantial portion of DIKO was rumored to lean towards voting "No."

Why they didn't work harder to defend the "Yes" and provide the world with fair, comprehensive, and objective information to prevent the division, he didn't explain. However, he revealed that the threat was looming that Papadopoulos would resign if the "Yes" was adopted and, in such a scenario, Christofias would be asked to sign the plan as the Speaker of the House, a plan he didn't negotiate himself. So, due to a looming threat and the political timidity of AKEL's leadership to rise to the occasion of that historic juncture, the "Annan Plan" became a hostage to Tassos Papadopoulos and the prevailing atmosphere, which depicted any voice in favor as a product of betrayal or bribery.

Mr. Kyprianou admits in his interview that there was no tolerance for a different viewpoint, and the demonization of it was a dark page in the history of Cypriot politics. However, for this dark page, both he and the rest of AKEL must take responsibility. They not only did nothing to prevent it but also washed their hands, allowing citizens to be divided into "traitors" and "patriots" in an environment that hardly resembled democracy.

And as for the rest, according to Mr. Kyprianou, AKEL decided to vote "No" because, among other reasons, they feared that a "Yes" would cause national division. However, they were already tolerating the deliberately cultivated division, triumphing through it emotionally manipulating public opinion to reject the proposed Plan. Mr. Papadopoulos, a guest on "Pints of Politics," even cited the removal of Alvaro de Soto from RIK as an example of this manipulation when he suggested explaining the plan's content.

So, why did AKEL tolerate this political manipulation, and why, even after Mr. Kyprianou's admission, hasn't his party called for a mea culpa? Even if we accept AKEL's justifications about the entrenchment of the "Yes" vote, there can be no excuse for tolerating the demonization of the "Yes," which potentially contributed to the plan's rejection. On the contrary, AKEL must, especially after Mr. Kyprianou's acknowledgments, be held accountable.

Instead, they maintain silence, hiding behind their political inaction.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  AnnanPlan  |  akel  |  politics

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