A response to Simitis

None of those who have so far endorsed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan have given us grounded reasons for doing so. What we have seen, rather, is scaremongering and generalizations. The article by ex-prime minister Costas Simitis in Tuesday’s Eleftherotypia daily was no exception. His commentary exemplifies all the ideas which prompt an entire political movement to say «yes» whenever a question undermines our legitimate national interests. According to Simitis, it all depends on the will of the two communities to cooperate. But that is metaphysics, not politics. This is not normative discussion about some abstract end but talk about the reality of Cyprus – a reality affected by the plan’s provisions that Simitis so lightly ignores. He wants us to focus on the momentum of European integration, disregarding the fact that the blueprint seeks to revoke much of it. Although the Greek Cypriots have made big concessions already and although they are being asked to accept Turkey’s indirect sovereignty, Simitis says that Greek Cypriots cannot expect to enjoy full sovereignty over the Turkish Cypriots. He is obviously after cheap sensationalism. So is he too when he says that there is no return to 1963 or 1974. Simitis said the Annan plan is our last chance – an unacceptable dilemma. True, the Europeans do not want to keep dealing with the Cyprus issue, but they will have to do so after May 1 as Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus will create big political and diplomatic complications. In order to overcome these, the EU will seek to settle the Cyprus issue by tying it to an EU date for talks with Ankara. Simitis stresses Turkey’s geopolitical role and indirectly urges Greece to adapt to to the expansionism of its eastern neighbor. Although Simitis admits that the Annan blueprint might not work, he frivolously disregards the likelihood of a regional crisis.

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