Who Are Anorthosis?
Hopefully Timour will teach them a lesson (or two)...
may our friends be merry and our enemies brake...
...Cyprus has an elected President and decisions on the national issue are the responsibility of the government and the National Council. The Archbishop, as any individual, has a right to express his views, of course. But siding with one candidate or his positions in order to denounce and attack the views of the other two, is an unwise move on his part.
Greeks are famous for feuding among themselves. We in Cyprus have paid dearly for mistakes and quarrels of the past.
We saw the feuding after independence, the fight between Makarios and Grivas, the "revolt" by the bishops against Makarios, the criminal actions by Eoka B against the government, and ultimately the treacherous coup by the Greek junta and their henchmen in Cyprus.
Then, easily, we put all the blame on Kissinger and the plottings and designs of the imperialists, for the calamity that befell Cyprus.
With Turkish troops still occupying our lands, we should focus on trying to avoid similar quarrels, or at least learning from mistakes of the past. Archbishop Chrysostomos could help in this direction, urging Greek Cypriot politicians to overcome their differences and speak in one voice. Siding with one party and attacking the others does not promote unity.Andreas Hadjipapas
QUESTION: Mr. Gallegos, any respond to the -- yesterday's pending question on oil exploration by the Republic of Cyprus in its own economic zone?
MR. GALLEGOS: Besides the taken question that I posted and then one of my staff handed to you, I'd be happy to go into that.
QUESTION: Just for the record.
MR. GALLEGOS: Yes. The Republic of Cyprus has announced the results of bids to obtain oil and gas exploration licenses in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone. An American firm is among the bidders. The Republic of Cyprus is a sovereign nation with the right to request bids for oil exploration within its own economic zone. The involvement of U.S. firms in such investment is a business decision, not a political one.
QUESTION: Thank you.
An opportunity for change in Greek Cyprus may emerge if presidential elections in February 2008 produce a more pro-reunification president than the current hardliner, Tassos Papadopoulos. It is worth remembering that the hostility between Ankara and Athens dissolved when a new Greek government decided its strategic interest was to bring Turkey into Europe. Some Greek Cypriot officials say they believe the same. For now, however, there are few signs of impatience in Greek Cypriot society for reunification with neighbours who are three times poorer and one fifth their number, yet demand political equality.
New Greek Cypriot leadership, nevertheless, could allow Cyprus to follow the Greek example. The Cypriot communists, Akel, urged a “no” in 2004 because they were locked in a ruling coalition with Papadopoulos. They split with him in July 2007 and may field a candidate with a new approach in 2008. AKEL, the largest Greek Cypriot party, polls about one third of the vote and is traditionally the most receptive to Turkish Cypriot concerns.
Turks still support a bicommunal, bizonal solution, Greeks a unitary one, but compromise is possible. Most Greek Cypriots do regard a bicommunal, bizonal plan as at least tolerable, and only one third of Turkish and Greek Cypriots reject a federal solution outright. Only small minorities on both sides feel comfortable with the status quo; majorities want more inter-communal contact. Yet, the status quo continues, and 90 per cent have no contact with the other community, subtly hardening the division of the island as the years go by. While younger Turkish Cypriots tend to be more hopeful of a reunified solution, younger Greek Cypriots show no interest in a common future. Overall, neither side is optimistic about a settlement.
The Greek Cypriot idea that “osmosis” can produce a unitary state is unlikely to work. Turkish Cypriots are applying for Nicosia’s passports to take advantage of EU privileges, not to embrace the Greek Cypriot state. The new settlers, probably half the Turkish Cyprus population, are mostly excluded and have little ability to integrate into the unitary state. The longer the stalemate lasts, the more the balance of the Turkish Cypriot population shifts towards newcomers. Similarly, the longer it lasts, the more likely is an expansion of the creeping international recognition of the self-declared Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. Both these long-term outcomes are exactly what the Greek Cypriots say they wish to avoid.
The Cypriot Blame Game: Playing With Our Future
By Alkan Chaglar
Every day Greek and Turkish Cypriots attempt to analyse the Cyprus problem. Most attempts normally involve a trip down memory lane, but although history can be useful to help us understand what is done and dusted, most who are unaware of the experience of the ‘other’ grow angry when thinking of the past and never get out of the past. So entrenched in their interpretation of the past are some that any attempt to encourage us to be responsible for our own past, while planning the future are dismissed without trial. Attacking out of desperation, the blame is routinely attributed to the ‘other side’ with the hope that one can simply be proven ‘right.’ But, how far has the quest for being ‘right’ contributed towards reconciliation and peace to date? And what effect is this having on the future generations of Cypriots?
HATE AND THE BLAME GAME
Last week I argued that for us to invent peace as a possibility, Turkish Cypriots need to drift away from exceptionalism but towards responsibility by dealing with our interpretation of past events. In response, one reader argued that: “Turkish Cypriots suffered first,” “Turkish Cypriots suffered more” and that they the “Greeks” actually hate the Turks and Turkish Cypriots and therefore cannot find it within themselves to live with us or share power. Justifying collective punishment and claiming the Greek Cypriots secretly harbour centuries of enmity towards the Turkish Cypriots and have discriminated against Turkish Cypriots, the reader went back in history some 500 years to try to prove his point. Referring to ‘them’ as one as if all Greek Cypriots are carbon copies of each other, as if they think identically and act identically, he was actually discriminating against those from whom he claimed to be the victim of discrimination.
In a bout of finger-pointing, the reader launched into a historical lecture, chronologically and meticulously describing events in Cyprus up to 1974, with the Greek Cypriots as instigators of every event. I must admit I admire his historical knowledge. The reader spoke of “Greek Cypriot aggression,” “non-wavering demands for enosis” and then reminded me: “don’t forget they voted against the Annan Plan.” Convinced that he knew these people so well that he even expressed surprise that I had not noticed it before, taking the time to call me a traitor and recommending that I change my name to a Greek name.
While I respect anybody who reads history, what is important is not to use history to pin blame in an unsolved ethnic conflict, experience has shown no community responds to being accused, in fact it has the opposite effect. Instead one should strive through history to understand all parties in a conflict to invent the possibility of peace. As for the charge of enmity, I confess I have not noticed this hate from Greek Cypriots before – the Greek Cypriots I know have the exact hot-blooded, hospitable, and kind qualities as Turkish Cypriots, they are a mirror of us. But what troubles me more is the philosophy behind the reader’s generalization, which preaches that: “we hate the Greeks, you are pro-Greek, therefore you must be Greek and because Greeks are our enemies we hate you.” The reality is, I am not pro-Greek or pro-Turkish and it is these very people who complain about Greek Cypriot discrimination against them who are themselves discriminating against Greek Cypriots. Similarly, the same philosophy exists among certain Greek Cypriots.
The tone of argument, which this reader presented, is far from alien to me. I have heard it time and time again in both communities, sometimes expressed politely, other times not so politely. Personally I find it really quite sad and demoralizing. I genuinely feel for these unfortunate people who have convinced themselves that 640,000 Greek Cypriots are out to get them. I feel truly sorry for those whose daily existence is so consumed with hate and anger that they feel they cannot break from their interpretation of the past, forever convincing themselves with the same interpretation.
COMPETITION TO BE THE VICTIM
By assigning each community to the role of sole victim and seeking a five minute pity from the entire world, one will not achieve any steps towards rapprochement, a prerequisite to peace. A brief five-minute pity from Bolivia, Czech Republic or Malaysia will make little impact to their lives. Besides, who can say that a woman who loses her son who happens to be a Greek Cypriot suffered less than a Turkish Cypriot woman who lost her son? Can we not just accept that we as Cypriots have all suffered from the past conflict?
Self-victimisation is a terrible way to live; it is hardly inspiring and from what I can see it will only lead to feelings of helplessness and self-pity. Is it really healthy to raise one’s children, constantly reminding them that as Greek or Turkish Cypriots they are victims and preparing them to hate the ‘enemy’ who made them a victim? Who wants to live the life of a victim to their dying day?
WHO IS RIGHT? WHO IS WRONG?
Always presenting a one-sided historical lecture, there are those in both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities who seek to prove the ‘other’ side wrong as if such an action would change anything. Rather than encourage reconciliation, their mission is to convince young Cypriot people into believing that Greek and Turkish Cypriots cannot live together, by selectively recounting history and accordingly distributing their compassion to their fellow man based on their ethnicity. So consumed with their own past suffering that they cannot imagine the experience of the ‘other,’ nor do they care to. Hearing what they want to hear, reading what they want to read and speaking to who agrees with them, they believe they are right until their dying day.
But supposing they are right. Supposing Greek Cypriots did inflict greater suffering and pain on us Turkish Cypriots. What good will come out of being right? Will it ease the pain families still suffer from the effects of war? Will it being justice? Will it change anything in the status quo and bring us closer to grasping peace?
My own view is that the concept of right and wrong has little to do with the dimensions of the Cyprus problem. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, the human pain of those who suffered from 1974 and before will always be there. A mother who lost her son will always remember her son to her dying day; nothing will ever alter her feelings for her son. Being proven ‘right’ will not influences the status quo, as a solution requires a political settlement, which involves negotiation and agreement between all parties. Legal justice too can only be achieved through the appropriate law courts, so even if you convince 180 countries in the world that you are right, ultimately you have to make your peace with those with whom you share your island home.
MAKING PEACE TAKES RESPONSIBILITY
To achieve peace is to take responsibility for own your past and to deal with your own omens before expecting the same from those with whom you seek peace. Until we can do this, there is little hope for peace in Cyprus. The trend in proving to be right or wrong amounts to wasted energy, as the bottom line is nobody cares if we Greek or Turkish Cypriots are right or wrong. There is no judge or jury to convince and neither Greek nor Turkish Cypriots will stop and realize: “Hold on! You’re right and I’ve been wrong all this time.” This is just wishful thinking of a ‘some day’ that will never come.
Failing to acknowledge that you need to be responsible to find peace, the effortless never-ending blame game that is used to justify any attempt to prevent meaningful dialogue between Greek and Turkish Cypriots will only fuel and prolong the current cycle of hate that persists among both communities. As usual those who will suffer from this are the future generations of Cypriots.