My teachers often used to say that it’s a virtue to be able to apologize, as during the middle education process, I was shaping up in their hands like a young tree. As is said, we are all doomed to make mistakes. In backward or less developed countries, particularly in those countries where politicians are bad, manipulative and corrupt, making premeditated mistakes and asking God for redemption probably might be a routine. Apologizing publicly, on the other hand, demonstrates a high level of self-respect, courage and wisdom.
During the Geneva and Crans-Montana processes, Mustafa Akıncı, the Turkish Cypriot leader of the time, generously gave whatever the Greek Cypriots wanted. Moreover, he agreed to make serious land concessions without waiting for a response. And even worse, he gave a map showing the possible Turkish Cypriot territorial concession even without asking for the opinion of the TRNC government or consulting Ankara, let alone getting their consent. He agreed to reduce the territory to remain under the Turkish Cypriot control to 28.2 percent from the present around 35 percent. Akıncı could have comfortably told Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades that “What did you want, and I didn’t give it to you?” Everything the Greek leader wanted was given to him, yet he walked out because at the time he was more interested in the “Golden passports scheme” than a Cyprus settlement.
The Anastasiades administration has now been rolled into a web of shame called the “Golden passport incident,” trying to meet the desires of “foreigners” who want to become citizens of a European Union country – similar to the race of some of our leading families to become Maltese citizens – with an “affordable price and tip.” Foreigners allegedly had to “invest” around 2.5 million euros in the Greek Cypriot territory in order to be granted EU citizenship. In November 2020, amid pressure from the EU, Anastasiades was forced to stop this shameful citizenship trade and population abuse.
Until now, Anastasiades has always said that what was done was legal, that there was no wrongdoing, but that there might be some inaccuracies. Somehow inspired or ashamed, he suddenly said last week that the “golden passport scheme” was the most painful event of his 40-year political life. The scheme continued between 2007 and 2020 and stopped only after the EU officially objected and the issue was referred to a judicial process in Cyprus. How many people benefited from this “golden passports” scheme? How much money was paid in bribes? Moreover, who shared the bribe? These are just some of the questions that have not yet been answered or cannot be answered clearly. What is known is that that in order to benefit from the scheme, a non-EU citizen is required to invest around 2.5 million euros in Cyprus.
Anastasiades must know something that compelled him to make a public apology. Perhaps he might be trying to distract attention from something more important. Or, probably he might be receiving some blackmailing threats, very much like those used by the British against Makarios to convince him to sign the Cyprus Republic foundation agreements in 1959.
It’s not important who says what. It is of course important what the EU, the U.N., or the Greek Cypriot has said, but what’s more important is what the Turkish Cypriot people wanted to say or said on any issue. If it’s been over 50 years since that much-desired federation didn’t happen, with all due respect, we can’t pretend as if we are fools willing to wait for the Greek Cypriots for another 50 years to agree to establish a bizonal and bicommunal federal Cyprus based on political equality and effective participation in governance. It’s okay, or we’re on our own.
The EU sent a message to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan requesting him to avoid a harsh tone on his visit to North Cyprus on July 20, the anniversary of the 1974 Turkish intervention. Why? In order not to harm the Cyprus process. What process? God willing, a new process might begin soon. But if failure is guaranteed, then why should we have yet another round of federation-targeted empty talks? So that pressures on Turkey could be sustained.
We should all understand, a settlement on the Cyprus issue must come through talks. Fine. But empty talks can serve no purpose other than giving the Greek Cypriots time to further consolidate their hijacked regime. A process is wanted so that Turkey’s hydrocarbon activities in the eastern Mediterranean remain derailed with ships docked at Antalya bay or sent to a mission in the Black Sea. A process is wanted for Greece to continue its expansionist designs, so Ankara remains paralyzed even to the blatant violation of international agreements and remains silent to Aegean and Mediterranean island armed to the teeth by Athens.