Interview with Giorgos Loukaides AKEL Political Bureau member
“If we exert acute political-diplomatic pressure on Turkey, we can hope for a revision of its stance”
No solidarity from Cyprus’ EU partners – what’s to blame?
24 October 2021, “HARAVGI” newspaper
QUESTION: If the EU is not willing, then who can we expect will put pressure on Turkey to return to the talks and with what motives?
GL: The role, in general, of the international community on the Cyprus problem has always been more related with serving their own interests. However, it was in parallel and at the same time, also in conjunction with the stand the parties took on the Cyprus problem and, in particular, with the impression they created with regards the responsibilities assigned for the lack of progress in the process of resolving the problem. Consequently, whenever we had a deadlock and this was accompanied by the responsibility being assigned on the Greek Cypriot side as well, the way was paved for Turkey to promote new, unacceptable and illegal fait accompli against Cyprus and the Cyprus problem.
This is the situation we have been in for the last four years. The criminal handlings of Anastasiades and the international disrepute he has fallen into have to a great extent facilitated Turkey in implementing its adventurous plans against Cyprus. For that reason, despite the unprecedented scale of Turkey’s provocative actions, Cyprus hasn’t received the required practical solidarity, not even from the Republic of Cyprus’ partners in the European Union, who – if they really and sincerely want to – clearly have the ability to exert their influence on Turkey so that the latter will reconsider its aggressive, provocative behaviour towards Cyprus.
It is obvious that only if permanent and acute political-diplomatic pressure can be exerted on Turkey, can we have any reasonable hope of a revision of its attitude and general behaviour.
We can achieve this provided that: firstly, we regain our international credibility through the correct handling of the Cyprus problem. Secondly, if we promote a multi-dimensional foreign policy, without exclusions and dogmatism, as the DISY-Anastasiades government is currently doing. Thirdly, and most importantly, by building a common front of struggle with those Turkish Cypriot compatriots who are also struggling for a solution and the reunification of our homeland and people, within the framework of the solution of bizonal, bicommunal federation.
QUESTION: If the British interest is the only one at the moment, why is the President of the Republic afraid that “pressures” will be exerted on him to accept sovereign equality as a precondition for the talks?
GL: If Nicos Anastasiades has abandoned his flirtation with a two state solution and confederation and if, consequently, he has put forward the need to respect the body of work agreed in negotiations, then nothing and no one can force a change in the agreed and internationally accepted framework for a solution of the Cyprus problem.
However, if the President persists in pursuing the same erratic, contradictory and delaying tactics, openly and in various ways challenging the agreed body of work of the negotiations, even going as far as questioning the form of the solution, as he did with his position for a return to the 1960 Constitution, then it is to be expected that Turkey, first of all, but also third parties, known “well-wishers”, will be facilitated in seeking a change in the framework of the solution of the Cyprus problem.
QUESTION: The recent letter of the Republic of Cyprus addressed to the UN Secretary General reiterates the two proposals that had been submitted in the past too for a settlement of the disputes with Turkey regarding the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), despite the fact that it is known that Turkey will reject them because both presuppose recognition of the Republic of Cyprus (prior to the solution) and the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. AKEL’s proposal has a different approach. Why it wasn’t also presented as an alternative by the government?
GL: The President of the Republic has never seriously discussed the proposal submitted to him in writing by AKEL a year ago, which aims to break the deadlock and resume negotiations from the point where they were interrupted at Crans Montana. On the contrary, the President seeks to exploit various opportunities to demonize the proposal AKEL submitted to him, pitilessly distorting it and attributing to AKEL motives that it only by glancing in the mirror can reveal.
The proposal we have submitted is the only one, in our view, which, while being realistic, at the same time does not cross any of the “red lines” the Greek Cypriot side has set. On the contrary, it will hold Turkey accountable and remove the pretexts it invokes to “kill” the basis and the agreed body of work of the negotiations.
Only through such a tactic will we be able to achieve the resumption of negotiations or, to the extent that Turkey remains uncompromising and intransigent, will Turkey be assigned the full responsibility. This is also the most effective way to make it more difficult for Turkey to impose its illegal actions in Famagusta and in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus.