Andreas C Chrysafis
There is euphoria in the air on resolving the Cyprus issue this year; come rain or shine there will be a solution – so insist all the major players including a Nobel Prize winner! What kind of a solution? No one is talking and it’s a well-hidden secret! Most probably it will be presented in May (Parliamentary elections) as a fait accompli with all the trimmings; spin, rhetoric and promises of great prosperity and security – just like EU membership and the poisoned Troika Bail-in did for Cyprus.
A referendum may then be offered to the people for approval and again, it may not be! The latter is more than likely. The government will insist that: all the public has to do is to say “yes” and trust the wisdom of the politicians. However, there are risks attached to a referendum that big powers and the government would prefer to avoid in case the result jeopardizes their plans, as the 2004 failed Annan Plan did.
Ironically, while the charade for the demise of the Republic of Cyprus continues, no one mentions Turkey’s complicity to the entire farce; not even the government of Cyprus does! Instead, it bends over backwards to accommodate the wishes of the EU, international bankers and western powers. The fact that not a single word was mentioned by Mr. Anastasiades to condemn Turkey at Davos World Economic Forum 2015 for its 41-year occupation of Cyprus, says plenty.
Instead, he chose to reduce his status from an elected President of Cyprus to a Greek “community leader” by inviting the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Akinci to participate and meet heads of states as his equal.
Ancient countries like Cyprus are a living proof that strong ethnic roots are the substance of continuity and to forget one’s past, one simply has no future. Cyprus’s Hellenic heritage – language, culture and religion – has survived more than three thousand years irrespective of how many tried to eradicate them – Turkey has been one of them. That ethnic endurance is not only amazing but also incredible how a small island such as Cyprus managed to retain its Greek identity intact against so many odds throughout its history.
Today – and for the very first time ever – that cherished heritage and identity are both in serious jeopardy. Hellenism in Cyprus is threatened like never before! It is gravely threatened by Sultan-Erdogan’s theocratic rule and ever-increasing Muslim exports to the island. A Cyprus BBF “solution of sorts” would open the floodgates for the Islamization of the island. Meanwhile, the secular Turkish Cypriot minority living in the occupied area of less than 100.000 continues to decline (most have migrated abroad) swamped by mainland Turkish settlers – one million is the figure being envisioned by Ankara!
It is however prudent to say that in fact nobody stops the Turkish Cypriots of reuniting with their counterparts and living as free and equal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. The myth of irreconcilable differences between the two communities remains a myth peddled by political opportunists but especially by Turkey. Strangely enough, as citizens of the Republic they already enjoy EU membership privileges and EU structural funds, freedom of movement and settlement throughout Cyprus and across the EU, as well as medical facilities and education similar to their Greek counterparts enjoy. The Republic of Cyprus made sure those EU privileges also covered TC citizens of the Republic.
Every citizen on the island (including the last remaining cat) desires a fair and just solution. The ideal scenario would have been to unify their efforts and formulate a common front of resistance and as Cypriots work together through the UN and the EU to get rid of the Turkish occupiers of their country.
So what stops the Turkish Cypriots today from wanting to reunite the island as one modern multicultural EU member state on the basis of rule of law and equality? The problem lies not with them but with an intransigent nationalistic T/C minority elite in cahoots with Ankara that demands a separate Turkish Cypriot State of the North. Once that is recognized as a fact of life then the Cyprus problem can be seen in different dimensions.
Obsessive nationalism held by Turkish terrorist groups financed and supported by the Erdogan regime such as the ultra-national terrorist organization “Boz Gourde” (Grey Wolves) and the “Ottoman Hearths” youth movement, are both ready and able to instill fear, intimidation and punish those that hold a different view other than Turkish nationalism. Turkish Cypriots are often intimidated by them as in the case of a young couple that dared to fly a Cyprus flag outside their shop in Famagusta. They faced incarceration by the pseudo-regime and also death threats by the Grey Wolves.
All considered, if an agreement on the basis of Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation (BBF) were to be proved wrong Cyprus would find itself in a compromising position; migration, demographics, birth rate, democracy and majority rule would contribute to the ultimate abolition of Cyprus and its secular culture.
Years ago, that was never the case but neither was Muslim fundamentalism! As the Muslim population increases through demographics and more Anatolian settlers arrive on the island, so the Greek and Turkish Cypriot population will decrease due to cultural clashes, religion and non-conformity. Migration will then trigger an exodus of Cypriots unable to cope with the metamorphosis of their country but primarily by the presence of fundamental Muslim theocracy in their midst!
If ethnic cleansing becomes a reality by the sheer volume of ethnic variances then Sultan-Erdogan’s ambitions using demographics and democracy would provide him a means to his objectives. The BBF would be the perfect platform to do so.
The discovery of natural gas on the other hand has also transformed the geopolitical map in the region. The western powers are now ready to influence the “type of a solution” they desired to see adopted on the island. They are certainly euphoric working with the Anastasiades government who has proven to be a willing partner on signing a UN-sponsored BBF – a two-state apartheid-style solution that does not exist elsewhere in the world.
One has to admit that Cyprus’s woes are self-inflicted due to an ever-increasing intransigent political-party incompetence and obsession for control. To the detriment of everything else, the results of such obsession can no longer be swept under the carpet!
EU-Troika’s economic colonization of Cyprus was one of those bad results that opened up the floodgates to the ruin of the country. Cyprus has now become debt dependent to an international cleptocracy that has established deep roots on the island. If a BBF is finally agreed and “reunification” costs are added – using Germany’s reunification experience – those debts would amount to billions or even trillions.
To service such a massive debt it would be met through austerity programmes, cutbacks of public services, rising unemployment, poverty and selling off the nation’s assets. Such a process has already begun with the Harbour, Telephone and Electricity Authorities going under the hammer to service the current EU-Troika loans of nine billion Euros plus!
Experience of similar sell-off practices in the UK proved to be disastrous for the consumer and would not be any different in Cyprus but with one difference; Cyprus is a small nation with a tiny economy in comparison and a ripple would trigger a tsunami across the nation.
The perceived panacea from gas revenues may in fact end up being a nightmare. Instead of generating prosperity, those precious revenues would be gobbled up by the massive unsustainable loan payments to service IMF crippling loans – just like in Greece! The irony of it all, the government has already authorized IMF Bankers and the Neocons of Greed, to handle all its banking transactions of the gas proceeds.
Since the government has chosen to negotiate a BBF (without public consent) that endeavours to abolish the Republic of Cyprus in lieu of a Cyprus solution, it is essential that transparency must shine so the electorate can at least make a well-informed decision.
The current spin by officials will not do but it does create more questions than answers because the government was elected to protect the Republic and not to dismantle it with another strange constitutional entity. If so, time is of the essence and yet except for promises, the public is not well enough informed to make a rational decision to either approve or reject the BBF Agreement.
The other area that has been conveniently ignored by the government is the thousands upon thousands of Cypriots in the Diaspora, who are excluded from casting a vote “for” or “against” such a crucial issue as the BBF Referendum. Those Cypriots living abroad have an equal right to determine the fate of their ancestral homeland. Deprived of the chance to decide, it’s not only wrong but also dictatorial and undemocratic!
Everyone’s euphoria to reach an agreement this year raises suspicions; suspicions as to why the urgency to sign a BBF solution before any mutually agreed feasibilities and other crucial studies were conducted by reputable Think Tanks (not politically affiliated) ahead of starting negotiations of partitioning the island.
Has there ever been a long-term demographic study of what will happen to the nation in the next twenty or fifty years? Is there a study of how much it will actually cost for the “reunification”? Are there hidden plans for another “Bail-in” to finance the reunification process? Are there plans to deal with a “democratic threat” that may alter secularism in Cyprus?
If the proposed BBF proves to be a failure is there Plan B in place to avoid future conflict? Can both sides guarantee that the adoption of Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation is in the best interest of the country and not in the interest of others? Would the foreign nationals that make up one third of population of Cyprus also be eligible to vote?
Such matters demand a Revolution of the Mind and if any of the above have not been seriously taken into account or dealt with beforehand, then, why negotiate a Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation at all?
Andreas C Chrysafis
February 6, 2015