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12° Nicosia,
28 May, 2024
 
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Unmasking Jack Straw's biased agenda in Cyprus problem

British Diplomat accused of promoting Turkish agenda in Cyprus problem

Opinion

Opinion

By Kyriacos Jacovides*

In an article published in Politico, former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw suggested dividing Cyprus. He argues that Britain, which guarantees the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, cannot achieve a two-state solution on its own. He calls on the international community to consider a two-state solution if negotiations for a new constitution for a united island fail once again. Straw also points to historical examples, like the peaceful split of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and the less peaceful dissolution of Yugoslavia, where new republics have a better future apart from a single nation.

If Jack Straw supports resolving issues through country partition, he should start with his own country. He could propose to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is of Indian origin, to meet with First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, of Pakistani origin, and address the Scottish issue by granting independence to Scotland. They could also consider granting independence to Northern Ireland. This approach might solve many problems, Mr. Straw, don't you think?

The former British Foreign Secretary adopts Turkish terminology and arguments when discussing Cyprus. He refers to the Republic of Cyprus as the Greek Cypriot Republic and the occupied areas as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). He also mentions the breakdown of the 1960 bicommunal, bicameral constitution upon Cyprus's independence from the United Kingdom, along with communal violence and Turkish Cypriots in fear for their lives.

However, he omits any mention of who provoked the intercommunal violence or the role played by his country. It's worth noting that in June 1958, British police arrested eight Greek Cypriots from Kontemenos suspected of planning an attack on the Turkish Cypriot quarter of Skylloura. These individuals were later killed by the TMT, a pro-Turkish organization.

TMT also detonated the offices of the Turkish press office in Nicosia and falsely blamed the Greek Cypriots. In 1959, after the conclusion of the independence agreements on Cyprus, Turkey sent a ship named Deniz to Cyprus loaded with arms for the TMT. The ship was intercepted, and the crew was caught red-handed. These facts seem unimportant to the former British Foreign Secretary.

Jack Straw also mentions that Cyprus was a significant foreign direct investor in Russia for much of the last decade, with Russian capital hidden offshore in Cyprus to avoid taxes and scrutiny, then reinvested in Russia. However, he remained silent when Russian oligarchs transferred billions of euros to the UK, bought castles, expensive houses in London, and even acquired Chelsea football team. These investments seemed acceptable to Mr. Straw.

Regarding the Cyprus Investment Program, Jack Straw claims that eligible foreign nationals could buy citizenship for €2.15 million and falsely asserts that "these applicants had criminal records." He also alleges that nearly 6,800 wealthy foreigners, mostly Russians, obtained EU citizenship from Cyprus between 2007 and 2020. However, not all applicants had criminal records, and the government revoked the citizenship of some of them. Furthermore, while 2,886 of the individuals granted ROC citizenship were Russians, they did not constitute the vast majority.

It appears that Jack Straw is driven by strong negative feelings towards Greek Cypriots. He has taken the effort to write a brief article blaming the Republic of Cyprus for a range of issues using false information and misinformation. Quite an unusual approach for a British diplomat, wouldn't you say?

* Kyriacos Jacovides is a Journalist/Political Scientist.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  diplomacy  |  government  |  Nicosia  |  Britain

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