New Greek PM no less a nationalist than former ones
The new Greek prime minister’s visit to the Greek Cypriot part of the island was hoped to serve as some sort of a catalyst to bring Nikos Anastasiades back to the negotiating table. It was a wrong expectation, but there was anxiety in the Greek Cypriot sector that Greece might join the list of countries prodding them to abandon adamancy and adopt a reasonable and pro-settlement stance.
Alas, the young, atheist, leftist premier of Athens proved to be no less nationalist, blind and demanding than any of his predecessors.
Greek Cypriot colleagues and readers often burst in anger, as if this writer ever failed to point at the grave mistakes made by Turkey, which indeed helped consolidate the Cyprus problem. It is a fact that the Cyprus problem is far bigger than Cyprus. If there will ever be a sincere effort made to resolve it, besides the two Cypriot parties required to be “equally” represented, Greece and Turkey, as well as Britain, must be engaged and a way should be found to get the European Union, the United States and Russia onboard as some passive form of observers.
Irrespective of whether it might be acknowledged or not, the Cyprus problem is one of the last remnants of the Cold War period. The involvement of Archbishop Makarios, who is indeed becoming one of the three leading figures of the now-dead Nonaligned Movement, Greek Cypriots constantly flirting with the “evil communists,” the Turkish element on the island becoming some sort of a guarantee of Cyprus not drifting into the “red”… are these new for anyone familiar with the recent history of Cyprus?
Greeks must explore what contribution “external elements” or the “Greek Gladio” had towards the Colonels’ Junta, which undertook the July 15, 1974, coup against the archbishop’s government and had already eliminated its Turkish partners, thereby de facto achieving full Hellenic governance of Cyprus.
Did the Americans, as had happened in the 1960s, tell Turks an operation on Cyprus was too far beyond the red line, or did they pat the backs and say, “You guys know how far you should go… Don’t overdo it!” Could it be possible for Ankara to undertake and continue either the first operation or the second a few months later, when Greek Cypriots and Athens proved to be as adamant as ever at the two rounds of talks in Geneva?
The Cyprus story is a very complicated one because the island is far more important than what it indeed appears to be. One reason for that is of course its geopolitical place on the world map. Why did the British Empire agree to withdraw from Cyprus but retain two “sovereign” bases there? Why is the island the host of one of the most advanced listening and monitoring stations on the world? Why is the island often claimed to be the place with the highest number of agents from intelligence services from all over the world?
The island might become a paradise and an engine for peace and tranquility when and if Greek Cypriots realize the island is not the farm of their father and they have to share it with Turkish Cypriots on the basis of “equality” as the two fundamental and primarily equal founding elements. Another sine qua non for a resolution is it must be welcomed by both Turkey and Greece, while at the same time must receive the blessings of the United States, Russia and the new and deficient global power, the European Union. For now, China is not much interested in the Cyprus issue, except for showing some degree of “solidarity with the socialist brethren” mentality, but if a resolution is further delayed, it will be interested as well. After all, the Middle East will not be a haven anytime soon, and Cyprus – to the astonishment of those blind strategists who claim with the advance of the ballistic age the island has lost its strategic importance – will remain a strategically very important place for Western global ambitions.
The Pacific has become far more important for the Americans, but at the end of the day the security of Israel and the oil wells and gas potential of the Middle East are still valid cards that must be protected.
Well, can we have a Cyprus deal with romantic calls from the rostrum of the “Greek Cypriot occupied” House of Representatives in southern Nicosia without taking into consideration that Turkish Cypriot members of that house were removed from their seats at gunpoint back in March 1964?
Everyone has his own share in this prolonged Cyprus quagmire and throwing mud at each other won’t bring about a resolution. If a settlement is wanted, there ought to be some degree of self-criticism, awareness of the need for empathy and of course to be able to say “Sorry guys, we were wrong?” If an atheist and socialist leader visits the graves of EOKA murderers and lays wreath praising their “achievements,” someone must tell him, “Those beasts killed our people in cold blood, come on, we cannot have peace with this mentality.”