Andreas C Chrysafis
In preparation for this week’s visit to Mont Pelerin resort in Switzerland for a bit of “horse-trading” the President spoke on national television to the nation (4th of November) and tried to “inform” his people of the progress of the negotiations on the thorny issue of Cyprus.
It has become apparent that even the President does not know where these talks will lead to and in fact he is gambling that maybe something good will come out of this meeting. Meanwhile, the TC representative Mr. Mustafa Akinci announced publicly that he would not agree to a solution unless a rotating presidency is carved in stone as a part of a settlement agreement. On his way to Mont Pelerin, he stopped to meet his boss Mr Erdogan for strategic consultation and receive his instructions.
What can one make out of such an attitude and blackmailing tactics insisting that a minority leader of 18% of the TC population should have the right as part of a settlement agreement to be a president and govern Cyprus simply because he’s Turkish Cypriot? In no other country in the world such political nonsense exist or tolerated! Yet, the government insists to carrying on with the talks knowing they are a farce.
The President in his own misjudgment may have good intentions, but his government seems to have lost the plot. During the broadcast he appeared to be quite euphoric and insisted that a solution is possible this year – hence the urgency to Mont Pelerin resort. One wonders what such optimism is based on?
During the broadcast, the President attempted to answer questions put to him by a well-respected journalist-panel. Judging from the expression on their faces, they seemed very disappointed as to why they were asked to participate in the first place. The President failed to answer serious questions put to him instead he replied with ambiguity in his familiar spin, dismissiveness, and elusiveness but also became defensive when a journalist tried to insist on an answer, which he avoided giving.
From the night’s revelations, it leaves little hope that a viable and just solution is in the making or even possible on the basis of a Bi-zonal, Bi-Communal Federation (BBF). A devout advocate of BBF, he was certainly not convincing!
Actually, he gave the impression that, even he was not sure where those talks were leading to or of how things would actually turn out given the fact that Turkey does not play ball and keeps on provoking the Republic to this very day.
In fact he was daydreaming that things would work out for the better but actually he is playing Russian roulette with people’s lives by gambling with the territorial and national integrity of the Republic of Cyprus. People were not persuaded by his presentation.
He revealed that he did not know how much it would actually cost for this mythical BBF reunification adventure; or where the money would come from; or who would pay for it (there are estimates of 100 billion euros); not sure about Morphou; not sure if Turkey would be obliged to pay for the cost; could not confirm how many Turkish illegal settlers would remain in Cyprus; he was not clear about UN, EU and NATO commitments to protect Cyprus; did not provide answers when and how the Turkish occupying troops would be removed but he did say that 100.000 refugees (50%) will return back to their homes etc.…etc.…etc.…!
The entire BBF principle is a time bomb in the making. In fact the President’s broadcast gave the impression that he was not in control but he was very dismissive and not actually sure where the Switzerland talks would lead to, yet he was most euphoric that panacea would materialize from the very first day of signing a settlement agreement. Still, he could not provide answers on how was that achievable.
When he was asked: “since Cyprus is in such a mess financially while operating under one government, where would the money come from to run three governments?” He did not know, but offered a well-orchestrated spin.
In the end, he was not convincing and the current political ambiguity without clarity poses grave dangers for the country and the people of Cyprus. Under the present political environment it is wiser to stop the negotiations now. Or, at least when better conditions present themselves for meaningful negotiations and Turkey decides to negotiate in good faith to let the Turkish Cypriots make their own decisions as equal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.
It is very naive to believe in fairyland! Without one-man-one–vote, equality and one citizenship based on the Rule of Law all else are simply Band-Aid solutions; everyone knows what happens to a Band-Aid – it comes off to expose wounds and just like peeling onions, brings frightful tears into one’s eyes!
The President did try to convince but he certainly did not succeed and the reason for that? He was not transparent with the people or about his BBF pet project!
Andreas C Chrysafis
November 7, 2016