by Andreas C Chrysafis
No sooner the Crans-Montana fiasco come to an inglorious end that the Cyprus government entered into a nasty blame game and has chosen to ignore the danger signs from that conference.
The political parties on the other hand criticized the President including each other like rabid hyenas sniffing the pungent scent of blood in a game of political point – scoring during the current election fever. Pathetic lot indeed!
In contrast, Erdogan was more explicit: “it’s too bad the Greek side did not want a settlement,” he announced publicly, “Turkey will now proceed with its plan B and C for Cyprus.”
And so he did! As always, the Greeks were caught napping… again!
Erdogan’s announcement and his introduction of Plan B was not only a propaganda success for Turkey but also a cunning political manoeuvre; it sent a signal to the world that Turkey wants a solution and not the Greeks – albeit its own kind of a solution!
As a first step of the plan, the Cypriot Maronites community was offered to take possession of their villages and properties back in the occupied area. The invitation was also extended to Greek Cypriots (only 16.000 so far) from the fenced off town of Varoshia – on a condition that both groups would be under Turkish administration. This clearly indicates Turkey’s plans; segregation but also total control over the entire island!
A very clever tactical move; a move the Greek side stubbornly refused to consider or to encourage Turkish Cypriots to do the same in the past. For sure a number of Greek Cypriot refugees and Maronites feeling betrayed by their own government would respond favourably and return back to their ancestral homes and properties lost during the Turkish military invasion 43 years ago. This is the first time Turkey has ever made such an offer. One’s own loyalty to the Republic would certainly now be tested!
Out-foxed and out-manoeuvred the Cyprus foreign minister announced that, “he could not stop anyone from returning” but he “would launch a complaint to the United Nations.”
Unbelievable – that’s the best he could come up with!
This demonstrates a political vacuum without a powerful national policy in place to deal with Turkey. Normally an incumbent president would draft a plan, which suits his own party-dogma, and dropped by the next president in office. Sad situation indeed – a rollercoaster of failures one after the other! There never has been a long-term strategy carved in stone in the interests of the nation. That’s the problem facing the island; lack of a strong leadership!
Under the current developments, shutting all the crossings between the two sectors and the revocation of EU-Cyprus citizenship of the TCs – among other ground-breaking measures – would be a good start in putting strong political and economic pressure on the Turkish Cypriot administration including Ankara to start negotiating in good faith and not play games with people’s lives.
However, to the dismay of most people and political parties, the government has chosen to continue its existing submissive and flawed policy that has failed to bring about reconciliation results between the two sides.
In the next while, Greek Cypriots will soon discover what Erdogan’s Plan B and C it’s all about.
What a mess –from one frying pan straight into another because of ineptitude!
Andreas C Chrysafis
August 1, 2017