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Critical times for Cyprus

President Chrystodoulides decided to address the nation on March 5th with an American-style State of the Union speech and to provide the public with his government’s twelve-month performance but to also speak about his plans for the future – writes Andreas C Chrysafis

The multi-TV broadcast attracted a nationwide audience in expectations to hear the president’s message on policy matters and his plans to improve the morale and the economic plight of citizens; citizens that have been bombarded with punitive taxation; rising costs of essentials, poverty and the improvement of harsh living conditions facing the nation!

The public’s anticipation of hearing encouraging plans did not materialize and neither did they hear any new measures to ease citizen’s anxieties. Other than his recurring dismissive monologue, full of self-praise and blaming outside forces for the county’s problems, viewers were in fact curious as to why the president bothered with such a meaningless charade? The select panel of journalists seemed at a loss and did not receive answers to their questions but rather a well-orchestrated dismissive spin.

Citizens however, heard the president’s willingness to start negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar—Ankara’s puppet—and a man who refuses to negotiate anything less than a “two-state-solution”. Invigorated by Sultan Erdogan’s cunning plans of a global expansion to his Neo-Ottoman Empire, the stakes have now been raised to dangerous levels and Tartar is the man chosen to follow Ankara’s instructions to the letter.


At the same time, there are dangerous and suspicious claims by the Turkish army including government officials that “the entire island of Cyprus belongs to Turkey and were sorry they did not take all of Cyprus in 1974”. On the other hand, the Turkish Cypriot community leader, Tatar—a canny political opportunist—is making ridiculous claims that the British army bases in Cyprus pose a “military threat to his Northern TC Republic” and should be removed! Such statements are not meaningless but rather cultivate Ankara’s ulterior motives and appetite for the entire region— including the island—for the future!

Under the existing aggressive and bullying tactics, Mr Chrystodoulides is adamant to negotiate a Bi-Zonal, Bi-Communal Federation (BBF). He seems to ignore or refuses to accept realities that Turkey’s word of honour cannot be trusted—the very reason the Ottoman Empire lost Cyprus to Great Britain in 1878 and signing the Peace Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

A career bureaucrat, ex-foreign minister and secretary to the former president, Mr Chrystodoulides played a pivotal role in policy-making of the Anastasiades government. He played an integral part in the current problems facing Cyprus and those persons that caused them in the first place cannot solve those same problems!

Faced by Turkey’s intransigence, the president continues to dismiss Erdogan’s threats and persists to negotiate an apartheid-style solution for Cyprus. His obsession to negotiate a BBF offers room for speculation!

Old Tales

Meanwhile, there exists a political ethos and distortion that President Makarios III—and founder of the Republic—did in fact accepted a federation solution to the Cyprus problem. Today, thosewords of a dead leader have been misinterpreted to mean BBF and have been twisted to serve geopolitical dark motives.

Makarios’ lengthy interview with Oriana Fallaci in November 1974 makes his position crystal clear that he had never given his approval for a federation solution andstated as such: “I don’t accept it. Because I can’t recognize a fait accompli, I can’t legalize with my signature a situation created by the use of force. So-called realists advise me to negotiate “a geographical federation” with the Turks and they say, I should be less rigid. Instead of holding on to forty percent of the island— they repeat— the Turks might be content with thirty percent. So be flexible. I don’t want to be flexible.” Makarios said and went on to add: “Kissinger never clearly told me he was in favour of “a geographical federation”. He never told me clearly what he’s doing. He always talked about a “solution acceptable to both sides.”

Those two words, “geographical federation” have been construed and politically manipulated to accommodate geopolitical interests. The widely accepted UN “BBF with Political Equality” has now become the buzzword instead of dealing with Turkey’s 1974 of a “Military Invasion and Occupation” of Cyprus.

Yet, without public consent, the Cyprus government is determined to negotiate a BBF, which would ultimately dissolve the Republic; carve up the island in two ethnic states and introduce an apartheid system of segregation and discrimination on grounds of race and religion! Meanwhile, the general public are kept in total darkness about this mythical BBF that promises panacea! Yet, no government or the UN and neither the EU have explained what this mythical solution entails for Cyprus!

In fact the proposed BBF is none other than the re-introduction of the failed UN Annan Plan rejected by 76% of the Greek Cypriot population under a referendum in April 2004.  At the time, the plan called for partitioning the island into two “component states” not much different from the proposed BBF! On considering Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman threats that “the whole of Cyprus belongs to Turkey” a BBF could turn out to be the final nail in the coffin and bring about the end of the ancient Hellenic island of Cyprus!

Never in the history of Cyprus has a partition of its kind has ever been negotiated to accommodate foreign geopolitical interests! With the help of the newly appointed UN special envoy Maria Angela Holguin, the wheels are now in motion to come up with a special political brew to trigger the negotiations for a BBF.

Muzzling the Press

President Chrystodoulides seems very anxious to negotiate and has in fact embarked on gagging any opposition to his plans but especially the press. Action is being taken to stop any kind of criticism of negotiating the Cyprus issue but only as he sees fit; action that is reminiscent of despotism! As it happens, a president in Cyprus has more powers than the US president and is accountable to none; not the parliament nor the judiciary — a president becomes divine!

Inconsistent to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, the Chrystodoulides government has actually tried to introduce laws to constrain the Freedom of the Press under pretext of “national security”. The gagging attempt backfired due to a recently adopted EU directive calling that: “all member states are obliged to protect media independence and their sources of information and all forms of interventions in editorial decisions are banned.”

After twelve months in office, policy developments for sure reveal that the Chrystodoulides government behaves in an autocratic manner that Big Brother knows best!

The Audit

The president’s intentions to overturn the independent authority of the Auditor General Mr Odysseas Michaelides and replace the Audit Office with a politically appointed “administrative committee” are a clear indication of another example of an obsession by a government alchemy that demands submission without criticism to its authority.

Since his appointment in 2014, Mr Michaelides (AG) —the renegade maverick of the Republic—and his Audit Office, have become one of the most respected institutions in the country that enjoy the overwhelming praise and support of the population; a rare quality for Cyprus indeed! Subsequently, the Audit Office of the Republic with over 400 dedicated professionals has become a prickly thorn the present government —in line with its predecessor—wishes to prune!

Not a day goes by when the Audit Office does not expose high-profile corruption cases; the squandering of millions; bribes and devious behaviour by officials in power, institutions and authorities that abuse the system. All cases under scrutiny are passed on to the police or the Judiciary for further determination and prosecution. Such unprecedented behaviour and transparency by a Cyprus institution—which has become a nemesis to the status quo—are the reasons some would like to remove Mr Michaelides (AG) from office, whose only wrongdoing is to perform his job with dignity and protect the interests of the Republic!

Fortunately for the Auditor General, he is not accountable to the whims of a temporary president or a fleeting government but to the European Commission through the European Court of Auditors and he cannot be fired under the Cyprus constitution.

The next twelve-months will be critical for EU-Cyprus but most important of all if the Republic is to survive the onslaught of foreign interests and Europhile forces from within; forces that have decided to partition the island for a Bi-Zonal, Bi-communal Federation and become loyal “Good Europeans!”

Andreas C Chrysafis



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