Facing realities in Cyprus

First of all, it is worth mentioning that any misgivings in Greece and Cyprus over UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan are legitimate and could, potentially, even prove useful. They are legitimate because a diplomatic compromise based on a 28-year-old fait accompli in the wake of the Turkish invasion in northern Cyprus is inevitably painful for the defeated side. They could prove useful for they reflect a considerable segment of the Greek and Greek-Cypriot public opinion which the local political elite will invoke during the ensuing negotiations. For reactions to remain legitimate and useful, they must be kept within bounds. The UN plan is neither an «historic opportunity,» as the Greek premier said, nor a trap aiming at fully eliminating Greek Cypriots as the Church of Cyprus claimed. At this stage, any overreaction can do great harm to Greek-Cypriot positions. In particular, the various «patriotic citizens’ movements» such as the one set up by PASOK and DIKKI deputies, former diplomats and military men, are bound to produce hyperbole and untimely arguments. We are once again faced with the usual confusion. Those who denounce the plan merely tell us what they don’t want – they avoid saying what they do want and, most crucially, they avoid saying whether we could actually achieve something more than this. Unfortunately, the real dilemma from 1974 until today has been whether we would try to reverse the precedent set by the Turkish invasion via military action or whether we would seek a diplomatic solution. Greece’s past governments have opted for the latter. Therefore any reactions to it should have emerged a long time ago. What is more, if these groups actually favor armed struggle over diplomatic bargaining, we should instead call them «patriotic fighters’ movements.»