We’re lucky we were only invaded

WHAT A WEEK this has been. The only safe conclusion a detached observer could arrive at after witnessing the antics of our politicians is that Cyprus is an institution for political lunacy – and without any fencing to keep the inmates in. Let’s just take a look at some of the week’s happenings.

The week kicked off with an interview given by President Tassos Papadopoulos that was published in last Sunday’s edition of Politis. For this interview Papadopoulos decided to take off the mask he has been wearing since before February’s elections, confirming that he is still the man we knew, the man he always was. He has always been an unwavering opponent of a solution to the Cyprus problem, in the creation of which he played an important part as deputy leader of the wretched ‘Akritas’ organisation.

He also confirmed how right Turkish Cypriot politicians are in accusing him of acting as Rauf Denktash’s shield. Nobody can believe it was accidental that Papadopoulos decided to send Turkish Cypriot voters such a negative message, as regards the Annan plan, just a few weeks before the elections. His painfully clear message was along the following lines:

“Your efforts to sideline Denktash are in vain. Even if you succeed there would still be no solution or EU membership for you. Denktash is not the biggest obstacle, I am. You accuse him of torpedoing the peace deal in The Hague, but you’re wrong. If he had accepted the plan, I would have said no to it. Let Denktash stay in his position.” Is there anyone who still claims Papadopoulos wants a solution? Does anyone believe that Denktash could have found a better ally?

Papadopoulos asked in his interview: Is the staying on of settlers (after a solution) not confirmation of the conditions imposed by the invasion? (He had lambasted the Annan plan because it rewarded the faits accomplis imposed by the invasion). When, 20 years ago, we were pointing out this danger, stressing that the passing of time without a settlement would mean that tens of thousands of Turkish settlers would have made the island their home because nobody would support their deportation, Papdopoulos was the champion of the idiotic ‘let’s stay as we are’ policy.

When in 1978 the late president Spyros Kyprianou and the AKEL leadership rejected the western peace plan – at a time when there were hardly any settlers and the US embargo on Turkey was still in place – Papadopoulos applauded them, maintaining that “no solution is the best solution”. Yet today, with boundless audacity, he hypocritically protests because some 60,000 or more Turkish settlers would stay on after a settlement.

When I heard DISY chief Nicos Anastassiades stopping just short of congratulating Papadopoulos for what he had said, I was saddened at what had become of the party. Now that the policy that DISY had been supporting for the past 27 years had been proved completely right by developments, its leader did not have the guts to say so.

In midweek, we witnessed the outbreak of a crazy public squabble, sparked after Anastassiades decided to call a CyBC TV show on which the beleaguered mayor of Paralimni, Nicos Vlittis, was the guest. This was when he revealed that four years ago he had intervened to stop an investigation into Vlittis, describing it as one of his biggest mistakes. This was a cue for all the hypocrites and Pharisees of political life to attack Anastassiades. Green party leader George Perdikis took the most serious stance this time, saying: “They all have, at some time, dipped their finger into the honey jar and tried the sweet taste of illegality.”
Before this happened, we had Foreign Minister George Iacovou’s latest gaffe. After a meeting with the US envoy Thomas Weston, he publicly announced what had been said and even told us what the Americans’ evaluations about the elections in the north were.

The icing on the cake was provided by AKEL chief Demetris Christofias, who, adopted his mournful look to appear on television in order to remind us that Cypriot values and institutions were in crisis because cabarets were promoting prostitution. This man, who in co-operation with the president appointed Andreas Aloneftis, who was fined a hefty sum by a state organ for misleading investors, as chairman of the CyBC, is now selling himself as the guardian of our institutions and giving sermons about public values.

It is time to repeat what I have always believed: with people such as these in charge of its fate, Cyprus is very lucky that its misfortunes have only been restricted to a Turkish invasion. It could have suffered much worse.