Partition is now inevitable because the world has finally realised that the Greek Cypriot side is being dishonest when it claims its readiness to share power with the Turkish Cypriots, said former Greek Cypriot agriculture minister Costas Themistocleous.
The former minister, who is a passionate supporter of a federal solution to the Cyprus problem which includes political equality and power sharing between the two Cypriot communities, told Cyprus Mail that President Nicos Anastasiades has defrauded those who voted for him in the hope that there would be a solution to the Cyprus problem and instead, has triggered efforts for the permanent partition of the island.
Themistocleous, who was the south’s Minister for Agriculture between 1998-2003, said “We have repeatedly had the chance to prove our willingness to create a shared state with the Turkish Cypriots, but we opted instead to send the message that we are not interested.” It is Anastasiades who must shoulder the responsibility for the likely outcome of partition, he said.
Citing a list of failed attempts at reunification Themistocleous said it began in 2004, when the Greek Cypriots voted ‘No’ to the Annan Plan. When the talks were led by President Christofias and President Mehmet Ali Talat in 2008, they produced no convergences in the negotiations, “for which only Christofias is to blame,” said the former minster. This led to the downfall of Talat and brought in a hard-liner – Derviş Eroğlu.
Lastly, in July 2017, when, “regardless of what we say, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reported that it was not Turkey’s stance that led to the collapse of the talks,” he said. Once more the Greek Cypriots had given conveyed the message that the Republic of Cyprus must prevail.
With yet another collapse of the talks, President Akinci is unlikely to stand for re-election, since he only came out of political retirement because of his strong belief in reunifying Cyprus, said Themistocleous.
“Both were elected on a single promise: the possibility of a solution,” he said.
“When Talat failed to deliver he was replaced. My sense is that Akinci will not even stand for re-election. He decided to run even after having retired from politics for a single reason: to solve the Cyprus problem. I personally doubt that he will run again – and if he does, he will share Talat’s fate.”
“We are now facing the search for a way to legitimise the de facto separation into de jure partition. It is no coincidence that we are not even talking about confidence-building measures, let alone pursuing them. We have entered a period in which separation and partition are finalised,” said Themistocleous.
The ex-minister referred to a string of decisions undertaken by both sides which only served to damage any trust and goodwill that was shared by the two sides.
“These are the result of the collapse not just of the talks but of the last shreds of any prospect for a solution,” Themistocleous maintained.
Greek Cypriot side:
- Requested the discontinuing of deliberations between Turkish Cypriots and European Commission delegations for the preparation of the community to implement the European legal order (acquis communautaire) after a solution
- Ordered the immediate freezing of activities by the bi-communal technical committees
- Issued instructions for non-EU tourists arriving in Cyprus and stating their intention to stay at Greek Cypriot-owned hotels in the north to be sent back. The order was rescinded in September.
- Discouraged Cypriot Maronites from returning to their Turkish-held villages without a solution to the Cyprus problem, after the authorities in the north decided in late July to open up all the Maronite villages for settlement
- Ruling Disy and a handful of other right-wing parties on the Limassol municipal council approved the construction of a monument dedicated to Georgios Grivas, the leader of Greek Cypriot paramilitary groups Eoka and Eoka B – a man seen by Turkish Cypriots as personifying Greek Cypriots’ nationalist tendencies.
Turkish Cypriot side:
- Censored books sent by the government to Greek Cypriot pupils living in Karpaz
- Opened Derinya beach only to Turkish Cypriots and Turkish nationals
- Denied permission for Greek Cypriots to hold church services in the north
- Called for more funding by Turkey for the Immovable Property Commission
- Sought to impose tariffs on non-medicinal aid sent weekly to Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the north.
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