Revolution of the Mind Series
Article by Andreas C Chrysafis*
President Chrystodoulides has an uphill battle convincing the public they have not been duped by a slick election campaign to vote for his “independent candidacy”—after deserting his 10-year-old ruling DYSI Party—on the premise that he’s a free-minded candidate and no longer aligned with Politicocracy (Kommatokratia). Disenchanted by the endless skulduggery and corruption of the previous government, citizens voted for the talented and aspiring younger president that offered them a glimmer of hope of a fair new society.
His campaign slogan to reach out and “talk to the people” on the principle to “explore and listen to the people’s needs to help him formulate policies on tackling grass roots issues”, paid off handsomely! Citizens had forgiven him for playing a critical part with the previous Anastasiades government as his office secretary but also as his foreign minister!
Seven months in office, citizens are now questioning his tactics; they don’t actually see real changes but rather see a chip of the old block!
Current policies reveal a submissive government more eager to facilitate EU directives without any resistance; build a stronger relationship with the United States and safeguard the banking Institutions. The three are treated as sacred cows; god forbid they can actually do anything wrong in society– for they are sacrosanct!
In practice, one can never undo the past but with the right leadership one can certainly improve the future! While citizens are in waiting for the Chrystodoulides miracle to blossom, reality has come home to roost!
The current energy crisis and never-ending high prices of consumer goods aggravated by the spiralling interest rates and the war in Ukraine, have not only dampened aspirations but also emptied people’s pockets. Citizens are furious! They are facing financial difficulties with mortgage payments and punitive prices in foods and other living expenses while wages remain stagnated. The government insists that economic stability in the financial sector of the country takes priority – the exact same words used to justify Troika’s unforgivable 2013 Bail-in robbery of people’s bank accounts!
Borrowers unable to service bank loans—branded as non-performing loans (NPL)—have in fact reached in excess of 50% nationwide! Meanwhile, homes and businesses are at high risk while Loan Sharks, Banks and global Hedge Funds are making billions on the borrowers’ misery due to high interest rates. Those financial piranhas, are buying toxic loans as low as 10% of their actual value from the banks yet the banks refuse to offer the same terms to householders and to save themselves from becoming homeless.
Starting next month, home repossessions in Cyprus will become a fact of life. Under European Central Bank (ECB) directives, repossessions—as an inflationary measure to deal with EU-wide recession—have been sanctioned by the Cyprus government and rubber-stamped by Parliament (Vouli). None of those “elected representatives of the people” had the fortitude to say “No” or seek out another solution but instead; they bowed to EU orders by adopting the disgraceful “Yes man” policy of the previous Anastasiades government!
Out of the ashes of despair, reality is about to hit the country like a brick; homelessness! It would touch the most vulnerable sector in society that finds itself unable to cope with the phenomenon of modern-day poverty, social exclusion and homelessness.
The recent statistics by CYSTAT (Official Statistical Services in Cyprus) paints a grim picture of the economic and social situation in Cyprus. Years of government failure and negligence to encourage building affordable housing facilities to meet the needs of society, have now come back to cause social havoc. Yet to this very day, no official plan exists to provide inexpensive housing and rental accommodation to meet the tsunami of homelessness about to hit the country.
According to the Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2022, there are over 150,000 Cypriots (16.7%) living below the poverty line or are at-risk of-poverty threshold (AROPE Indicator). For Cyprus, such shocking figures are unheard of in a culture that has never experienced the ugly trend of homeless people. The deprived in this case are branded as persons that cannot afford to pay rent or utility bills; are faced with arrears; are unable to keep their home adequately warm; do not have a car for personal use or face unexpected expenses. These signs are now a common occurrence in most parts of the country!
As long as the Ukrainian/Russian war rages on with NATO and the EU continuing to pump billions of taxpayers’ money to keep their proxy war going, the economic mess will continue, “until Russia capitulates and loses the war” so it is claimed by Zelenskiy and western allies! The war in fact could carry on for years! Meanwhile, the high interest rates set by the World Bank and the European Central Bank (which indirectly finance the ugly war) have been “increased ten consecutive times this year with more increases on the way” warned Christine Legarde, the President of the European Central Bank!
The Bank of Cyprus for example last year accumulated 35 million six-month profits to June 2022 and yet under the current economic recession, this year’s profits jumped to 150 million for the same period, while the Hellenic Bank also reaped over 160 million in six-month profits. Those profits are the result of dubious bank practices but also aggregated by the high interest rates imposed on trapped customers.
The Minister of Finance Mr Makis Keravnos lambasted the Banks for not showing any sensitivity or doing enough to alleviate the economic plight of borrowers by insisting that, “they could have done much more to assist customers”. His ministry is considering—for the first time ever in Cyprus—taxing excessive bank profits. The Association of Cyprus Banks (ACB) vehemently objected to such a consideration.
Meanwhile, Italy’s new firebrand Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni showed leadership and rebuked the banks’ blackmailing tactics and did the unthinkable! Her government instead, dared to take on the banking industry and imposed a one-time tax of 40% on excessive bank profits to be applied specifically on social programmes! The fair-minded move, will in fact, amass billions in revenues to the government’s new initiative in social projects! Her sweeping action has now set precedence by sending shockwaves to the banking industry of things to come across the Eurozone. Most importantly, her action has send a message that Banks can no longer be treated as “sacred cows” and no longer can they abuse their privileged position in the name of profits.
Meanwhile, the EU/US sanctions against Russia have inflicted devastating results on the fragile economy of the island because Cyprus refuses to say “No” to EU—like Turkey and Austria did! A string of political sanctions ordered by the EU and the US, have destroyed Russian tourism on the island (over one million arrivals annually) but also ended billions-worth of commercial trading and triggered political isolation.
Russia now considers Cyprus as the one long-time friend that backstabbed another friend!
In retaliation, Russia ceased all grain exports and other essentials to Cyprus; cancelled tax incentives but also opened its first consular offices in northern Nicosia of the occupied area. Such a move sends a clear political message to the Cyprus government with serious political consequences for the future. Actually, a memorandum of understanding was agreed between the US and Cyprus to replace the Russian void.
Without a doubt, Cyprus is entering a new phase in its history! It has become so serious politically and socially at the fear of losing its ancient Greek Cypriot identity and culture. It would happen not through war but through a systematic demographic transformation and Muslim high birth rate that’s taking place under the very noses of a lame government. The floodgates are now wide open due to EU Schengen-associated agreement – Open Borders, to which Cyprus is a signed partner!
Frontex, the European Agency for the Management of the European Borders and Coast Guard has warned that in 2024-25 a massive exodus of migrants are expected to arrive in the Eurozone countries from Turkey.
The flood of illegal migrants would also affect the Republic of Cyprus being the “first EU landing state” which, among smugglers, has built a reputation for easy pickings. To land in the Republic means that refugees and asylum seekers can expect €400-750 per month as living allowance, accommodation and other benefits until the status of their application it’s completed. Under the current backlog—over 35,000 and growing by the day—it could take years to complete! Meanwhile, thousands roam idly across the island causing havoc, thievery and creating ghettos in many parts of the country!
The Minister of Interior Mr Konstantinos Ioannou has in fact revealed that 95% of all migrants entering Cyprus come from Turkey. Hundreds of young Muslim (mostly male) pseudo-asylum seekers arrive in the occupied north and like thieves in the night are smuggled across the Buffer Zone (under UN control) and into EU-Cyprus — the land of milk and honey!
The surge of thousands of illegals in Cyprus does not seem to be a coincidence but a well-orchestrated plan by Turkey to demographically change the Hellenic Cypriot ethnic character of the island. While exploiting the EU Refugee Human Rights loophole, religion has now become Erdogan’s latest line of attack to cause ethnic havoc between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots! This is not the first time such a tactic was used by the Turks to set one community against the other and will certainly not be the last!
Erdogan’s new Attila 3 demographic invasion of Cyprus is now in process! It is an invasion without the use of weapons but with cunningness, political trickery and the exploitation of “refugees” that are crossing borders at the risk of their own lives. Erdogan would not hesitate to activate dormant paid Islamic “sleeper-agents” living undercover among migrants to trigger racial conflict and dampen any ambitions for the reunification of Cyprus.
A time bomb is ticking and the ugly signs of violent racial clashes surfaced recently in Limassol and Paphos between Cypriots and mobs of migrants as another indication that religion, its now being clandestinely used by the Turks and extremists for ulterior motives. The recent clashes at Pyla where UN peacekeepers were violently attacked by Anatolian Turkish agents and Grey Wolves is not an accident but a well-planned provocation ordered by Ankara to send a message that Erdogan controls events in Cyprus and not the Republic, the EU or the United Nations!
President Chrystodoulides could display a more determined leadership demanding that the EU and UN take action on imposing sanctions against Turkey —as they did against Russia—rather than globetrotting collecting empty promises, playing politics and getting nowhere as in the case of his recent UN General Assembly humiliation where he was compelled to hear Erdogan’s demands for a two state solution and the partition of his country! He could have walked out, but he didn’t!
Cyprus is politically entrapped more so today than any other time in its history! If the EU continues indifference in supporting a member state—there is another option to consider: Cyprus could serve Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union for a voluntary and unilateral withdrawal from the EU!
As it stands, the Cyprus government has chosen to abandon the right to govern the country and today’s events are the result of yesterday’s mistakes. If Turkey’s Attila 3 cannot be stopped soon, the migrant problem could escalate out of hand with unforeseen consequences for the future and stability of Cyprus!
In the absence of Plan B in place, there are darker clouds looming ahead over the island…
*Andreas C Chrysafis is an Author/Artist/Writer