Cyprus emancipated

Tomorrow is 30 years since the collapse of Brig. Gen. Dimitrios Ioannidis’s dictatorship and the restoration of the pre-1967 coup political life – with the exception of the former king Constantine, who was held accountable for all the disasters which fell upon the nation. The restoration of democracy might not have come about were it not for the military coup against Makarios and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus which resulted in the island’s partition. Common decency dictates that celebrations marking the restoration of democracy should be connected to that tragic event and the so-called national center’s responsibilities for the catastrophe. In previous years, the now-departed government of Costas Simitis took hasty steps to settle the Cyprus issue on the basis of a plan that would have held the free section of the island to ransom, legitimized the presence of Turkish troops for an indefinite period of time and prevented Cyprus from functioning smoothly within the EU context. This scenario was averted as Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan blueprint with a comfortable majority while the Greek prime minister should be credited with not having attempted to influence the popular verdict. Today the Republic of Cyprus is a full EU member and this means that any solution will have to be in line with the acquis communautaire, giving people the right to move freely and buy property on the island and fulfilling all other Community stipulations. A certain group of people tended to treat Cyprus as a «burden» – but no more, as the island’s accession marks its full political emancipation. This is a very significant achievement which must not be undermined. And it is a major responsibility for the post-1974 political world.