Cypriot ‘semiotics’ observed

Nicosia and Athens are closely watching developments regarding Cyprus and agree that the decision by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Istanbul to refer to the Turkish-occupied part of northern Cyprus as the «Turkish-Cypriot state» is significant but does not imply its recognition as a state. «The pseudo-state’s aim to have its presence upgraded at the Islamic conference was not achieved,» Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday. The Turkish Cypriots attend the OIC as observers. Papadopoulos noted that the reference to the Turkish-Cypriot breakaway state by the name used to describe it in the UN reunification plan «has its significance.» Serdar Denktash, the Turkish Cypriots’ «foreign minister,» however, was triumphant. «We are leaving here as a state… This is an especially significant step for us,» he said. In Athens, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said that the reference «in no way constitutes recognition of a state nor any type of recognition.» He added: «The recent report by the UN secretary-general on the Cyprus issue, the resolutions and decisions by the Security Council and the General Assembly as well as Cyprus’s accession to the EU rule out the possibility of the northern part of Cyprus being recognized as an independent state. These international decisions have shaped a specific framework which is very strong.» But Koumoutsakos added: «Without doubt, the reference in the OIC resolution has its obvious significance. At the same time, though, it has a mostly semiotic dimension… There is no special concern over this development.» Dimitris Christofias, leader of the Greek-Cypriot AKEL party, said: «The situation is difficult. The question is, how does one deal with it?»