Speech by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL S.Stefanou at the March for Solution and Reunification
3rd October 2021, Deryneia, Famagusta Cultural Centre
Standing before you in this symbolic area – so close and so far from our beloved Famagusta – I keep thinking of a paraphrase of a verse written by the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet that scarred all those of us who lived through that horrific summer of 1974:
“If half of my heart lies, doctor, here, the other half lies in Varosha.”
I am certain I feel even more overwhelmed – like all of you too – given that for some now Turkey, violating relevant resolutions and decisions, has opened part of the sealed off area of Famagusta, revealing the skeletons of buildings, the overgrown with grass roads, the hanging signs and the houses that have been looted. This picture of abandonment encompasses all the pain and losses spanning almost half a century in our homeland.
Normally we say that time stopped still together with the heartbeat of the occupied city, but time proves to be merciless as the years go by swallowing up our hopes for a solution.
But today we didn’t come here to weep over the ruins.
- We came here to strengthen the hope for a solution, which we must not be allowed to fade away.
- We are here to reaffirm once again our will to continue the struggle for a solution and reunification.
We have gathered here today to redefine what unites us.
What makes us determined!
What inspires us!
We are united, determined and inspired by the prospect of seeing our country united again, without barbed wires of division.
The path towards our country’s permanent partition finding us passively following developments undisturbed is tragic. Also tragic is if we permit memory to fade as we submit to forgetfullness and oblivion.
Varosha is ringing the alarm to us, but the messages are coming from everywhere, from every corner of our occupied land and from every area of free Cyprus: Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should join our voices and demand a solution, reunification and peace.
We want this March for peace and reunification we are holding to show the way again to those who persist in struggling to fulfill the vision for a common homeland within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as described by the UN.
We want this March to show the way again to all those who know that the only way to secure the future of our children and grandchildren is to live again in a free, common homeland that will be managed together by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
The Cyprus problem is at its worst phase and believe me, this is not a figure of speech. It is the stark and nightmarish reality.
A reality that is being shaped by the prolonged deadlock and absence of any negotiations.
By the insistence of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership on a two state solution.
By the illegal opening of part of the sealed off area of Famagusta and the imposition of new fait accompli there.
Even the reluctance to issue a communiqué on the trilateral meeting in New York and the appointment of a UN Special Envoy reflects the magnitude of the impasse on the Cyprus problem.
It is very easy for me, but also perfectly honest, to talk for hours on end about the unprecedented intransigence and the partitionist behaviour in general of Turkey and Ersin Tatar. AKEL does not miss any opportunity or occasion to do so, because the causes of the problems and illegal actions should be denounced. Besides, today’s march has this character and content as well.
However, to break the deadlock and achieve a solution, it isn’t enough for us to be denouncing Turkey and its illegal occupation. It is imperative that we underline how the Greek Cypriot side must handle the situation and what specific initiatives it should take things move forward, as far as it depends on it, to break the deadlock.
Our position, confirmed by the latest developments, is that we must continue to persistently seek the resumption of the negotiations from the point where they were interrupted in 2017, on the basis of the Guterres Framework and safeguarding all the convergences recorded. This was and is the position of the Secretary General of the UN for four years. This is the common ground that is currently being sought. If we do not insist on this position the deadlock will be further entrenched given the major differences that exist between the two sides.
It is known that AKEL disagrees – and criticizes – Nikos Anastasiades for his handlings and the so-called “new ideas”. These “new ideas” annul core convergences and clash with the position for a continuation of the negotiations from the point they were interrupted at Crans Montana.
Our view is that the President’s policy leaves room for Turkey without political cost to promote partition and refuel the deadlock. This situation gives the opportunity to external powers to also promote “new ideas”, derailing the solution towards confederation.
Our criticism of N.Anastasiades does not stem from any oppositionist intentions.
It is a responsible patriotic stand towards our homeland and people.
It is a cry of anguish about the developments on the Cyprus problem and the gloomy prospect that is being formulated.
Yes, we are worried. Others may be comfortable with the gradual slide towards partition.
We will never compromise with partition because we know that partition represents a permanent source of danger.
We do not want – and have no right – to leave such a legacy to the future generations.
Comrades in the struggle for a solution and reunification,
With half of our hearts here and the other half behind the checkpoints, we marched together on the path of hope for a just and viable solution. Together we will continue to march on the same path.
This country belongs to us and it is ours.
We are entitled to envision – and want it – as a whole!
Long live our Cyprus!
Long live our people!