Hypocrisy at work
Greek Cypriots demonstrated hypocrisy once again this week when the House of Representatives voted to mandate schoolchildren to commemorate the 1950 “enosis” or “union with Greece” plebiscite, which was suggested by the socialist Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) and supported by the Cyprus Church. The draft was sponsored by the marginal National Popular Front (ELAM), which was objected this time by AKEL but supported by both two conservative parties, the Democratic Rally Party (DISI) of President Nikos Anastasiades and the Democratic Party (DIKO). Could it be possible to claim to be pro-settlement and ready to embrace the Turkish Cypriot community as political equals in a federal resolution while at the same time start commemorating the start of the “enosis” campaign in schools? Who claimed that “enosis” had become irrelevant and Greek Cypriots no longer supported such utopias, that they have become friendly with Turkish Cypriots and that there was no need for Turkey’s guarantee?
If there was anyone else but Mustafa Akıncı in the seat of the Turkish Cypriot presidency, he or she would have most likely walked out last week if not before the incorrigible Cyprus talks, a process which has been long confined to its deathbed. Akıncı, unfortunately, will again develop empathy with Greek Cypriots and will not move an inch that might upset them, but this latest development has further condemned to failure all prospects of a Cyprus federal resolution. Would the Turkish Cypriot people buy any agreement that Akıncı might sign with Anastasiades, whose DISI was among the supporters of the law that would legalize the commemoration? Well, some people might raise eyebrows and claim DISI deputies did not vote in support, but they just abstained in the vote. Technically correct, but abstentions do not count, and the combined 19-approval vote from ELAM and DIKO benches were enough as with DISI abstaining, the votes against the hostile draft was condemned to remain at 16.
As the house was voting to legalize the contentious proposal, Akıncı was meeting to discuss the establishment of a common federal future with his Greek Cypriot counterpart a few hundred yards away from the U.N. premises within the Nicosia airport area of the green line, which is dividing the island from east to west into southern Greek and northern Turkish zones. Was it not like a very bad joke?
Saying the DISI abstained and was not part of the hostile move cannot be an acceptable excuse for Anastasiades. Not only DISI was established by members of the EOKA gang in the first place, the failure of the DISI leadership to at least convince its deputies to vote against the contentious proposal was a serious blow to the pro-settlement claim of Anastasiades. Why could Anastasiades not use his influence on DISI deputies and convince them to vote against, like the deputies of AKEL, the original sponsor of the plebiscite together with the Cyprus Church? With DISI deputies opposing no such draft, might become law. Did Anastasiades advise his friends to mind what they were doing? Or, did he tell them to go ahead as Akıncı, in his traditional empathy attitude, would understand why the enosis plebiscite was important for Greek Cypriots to celebrate 67 years later - at the expense of antagonizing Turkish Cypriots?
Even many diehard supporters or spoon-fed journalists who were committed to support whatever the Turkish Cypriot leader did were very critical of this drastic development, demanding Akıncı to declare his withdrawal from talks until the remembrance law was withdrawn by the Greek Cypriot parliament. Indeed, that was not the only enosis resolution adopted by the Greek Cypriot parliament. After Turkish Cypriots were expelled from the common legislature in 1964, an enosis motion was voted and accepted unanimously. An enosis declaration was enacted unanimously in 1967 as well.
Now it is high time to be serious. Akıncı must shrug off that empathetic and pathetic attitude, realize that he was elected to defend Turkish Cypriot interests and tell his Greek Cypriot counterpart that not only the latest enosis commemoration law, but all such hostile legislation must all be declared null and void by the Greek Cypriot parliament in demonstration of their resolution to a negotiated bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on the political equality of the two peoples, and of course declare he would respect a moratorium that the two sides agreed back in 2014 on hydrocarbon research, exploration and drilling off the island before federation talks would continue.
Will that be the case? Unfortunately, no… Akıncı will still act in empathy and succumb to Greek Cypriots’ sheer disgusting and insolent behavior.