General Makriyannis (Note: one of the leading figures of the 1821 Greek national independence struggle) learned to write as he said himself at an advanced age so that he could write his memoirs. From the very first lines of his text, he explains that he learned to write in order to tell the truth. But the truth, he continues, is bitter. Those who harmed the country don’t like it when the truth is revealed about their actions because they both sought to do harm and to see their interests served, as well as wanting us to call them good patriots, something which is impossible.
Indeed, the truth is bitter. But the truth must be said especially when we honor the important anniversary of our homeland’s independence.
We owe it to our people to tell the truth, both about the past and today.
We owe it to the future generations to tell them the truth so that they can draw conclusions and move forward guided by the lessons from them.
Unfortunately we did not all wage the struggle together against colonialism. We did not struggle united, but neither did we manage to rid ourselves of dogmatism, ideological obsessions and narrow-minded approaches so that we could liberate our homeland from the colonial shackles.
The majority of the Cypriot people in the years before independence lived in misery, humiliation and the repression of the British colonialists and the elites who were living as parasites against it. Big capital and elements of the hierarchy of the clergy sought to strengthen their influence and economic power by remaining subordinate to the colonialists. It was therefore to be expected that none of them had any reason to want to see Cyprus liberated from colonialism. The then Greek Consul in Cyprus wrote while reflecting on that and predicting today’s developments: “The material interest, which is the overriding belief of the Right-wing faction, doesn’t want the English to leave Cyprus (…). The word ‘betrayal’ would be lenient for one to characterize what is uttered within four walls by… the fanatical advocates of Enosis (Note: union of Cyprus with Greece) of the Right faction to the English rulers,” continues the Greek Consul.
In contrast, AKEL mobilized the people. What the English colonial Governor wrote in his reference to the beginning of the last century wasn’t at all incidental, namely that the only dissenting voice opposing the colonial regime was AKEL. The Communist Party of Cyprus and subsequently AKEL mobilised thousands of Cypriots in strikes and mass demonstrations in the streets demanding freedom and self-determination. From the arrests of the Mayors of the Left (Servas, Partasides, Christodoulides and Adamos), the imprisonment of militants of the Party right up to the submission of the well-known Memorandum to the United Nations under the title “The Cypriot people accuse Britain”, AKEL was at the forefront and vanguard of the struggle for the freedom of the country. This was also the reason why the British colonialists targeted our Party and mass organizations of the Left and threw our militants and trade unionists in prison. That is precisely why AKEL, the people’s organizations and the Party newspaper were outlawed in 1955 and its leading cadres were imprisoned. Sometime later, Grivas himself admitted, “The National-minded newspapers are more interested in serving their own economic interests…And yet the Communist newspaper “Democrat” is dynamically waging a militant struggle against the Government.”
It is striking that official History propagated today suggests that the anti-colonial struggle of the Cypriot people is confined only to the period 1955-1959; that AKEL was merely following developments indifferently, while in its more advanced narrative, it attributes to the Left a “suspicious role”.
It is striking because if one studies a little bit of history one will conclude that the truth are completely different.
AKEL was the pioneering force in the anti-colonial struggle. The “suspicious role” attributed to it was almost certainly played by people who EOKA itself trusted. I am not only referring to the confession made by Ourania Kokkinou (Note: a prominent and leading member of EOKA and later close ally of Makarios) that there were indeed traitors within the ranks of EOKA and in fact they were all “national-minded” persons. But I am also referring to the writings of Grivas himself, who often makes references to traitors with whom he is cooperating with, to cowards who he is scared will betray with the first opportunity, to people who, given that they are “inhumane” and “cowardly” as he calls them, will become traitors as well.
British, and later on NATO imperialism, considered AKEL as the only serious obstacle to their plans because they knew that it was the only serious and organized force that could ruin their plans for securing sovereignty over or the domination of Cyprus.
Our Party embraced the whole Cypriot people and was appealing to both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to mobilize them in the struggle against colonialism.
The Right stuck to a dogmatic approach that divided and excluded. For the Right the Communists were undesirable, as well as the Turkish Cypriots. The only way for the Right was armed struggle. The political immaturity of its leadership, its rush to attain immediate and spectacular results, and its aim to prevail completely in the internal struggle of political and social forces, led it to take the erroneous path of armed anti-colonial struggle.
The Left disagreed with this tactic of armed struggle, considering that it was not the appropriate and correct choice in the concrete conditions and given situation of Cyprus. It warned that the use of arms would lead the struggle of the Cypriot people to deadlocks and adventures. It advocated the continuation and intensification of the mass political struggle, combined with a proper internationalization of the Cyprus problem. Instead of reflecting on the Left’s positions, the Left was demonized. AKEL was accused of treason and targeted by Grivas, fanatics and extremist elements, who even reached the point of murdering and assassinating militants and members of AKEL and the mass organizations of the Left.
Historical events are judged by their outcome. Glafcos Clerides himself (Note: the historical leader of the Right and founder of DISY party), decades afterwards, admitted that the armed struggle was a mistake. At this point we should recall the assessment our Party made even since 1959, at its 9th Congress, which stressed that: “Our Congress believes that the tactics used by EOKA and the forms of struggle it used were out of place and time and had nothing whatsoever to do with the revolutionary Marxist tactic of self-determination. Regardless however, our Congress pays tribute to all the humble fighters who sacrificed their lives in a holocaust in the struggle for self-determination.”
The armed struggle eventually led to dead ends and adventures. The British colonialists exploited the intensity of the armed struggle, implemented the policy of “divide and rule” and instigated and cultivated the first inter-communal clashes. The Cyprus problem was transformed from an issue of Cyprus being liberated from British colonialism into an issue of inter-community conflict in which the British began to play the role of an arbitrator, also involving Turkey in the Cyprus problem now as an interested party.
Archbishop Makarios, foreseeing the dangers, attempted to prevent them by making a turn to independence. But he didn’t manage to. The NATO conspiracy was already under way. Its aim was to give such an outcome to the Cyprus problem that it would ensure that British and more broadly NATO imperialism would remain in Cyprus. This was achieved through the Zurich-London agreements. Makarios, under the threat of greater bloodshed being shed and the imposition of the Macmillan plan, was forced to accept them.
It is well known that AKEL disagreed with the Zurich-London agreements, because they granted military bases, so-called “sovereign”, to Britain. These agreements bound Cyprus with the system of guarantees and the presence of foreign troops. They also imposed a given, divisive and undemocratic constitution. However, after these agreements were accepted (in a referendum), AKEL called on the people to support independence as a great gain. AKEL called on the people to look to the future; to wage the struggle so that gradually and consensually Cyprus to rid itself of the negatives of the agreements; to work for the completion of Cyprus independence.
Unfortunately we didn’t manage it. It isn’t bad luck that is to blame, nor is it because God hates us. The Republic of Cyprus wasn’t cherished – neither by its children, nor its elders.
Imperialism wanted a Cyprus that would be useful in its plans and subordinate to its objectives. As a result, a peaceful, independent and united Cyprus that would be seeking its demilitarization would be of no use to imperialism.
In serving NATO’s interests, Turkey also wanted to serve its own geopolitical interests. And that’s precisely where their aspirations coincided.
The far-right of both the Turkish Cypriot community and the Greek-Cypriot community were both recruited and used. Subsequently, the Greek Junta too, in order to undermine the Republic of Cyprus from within. On the internal front, the Greek Cypriot community saw independence as a stepping stone towards Union with Greece and the Turkish Cypriot community as a stepping stone towards partition. It was a matter of time before we were led to clashes and from there to the twin crime committed in the summer of 1974.
Decades later, Cyprus hasn’t seen any respite. The survival of our people on the land that gave birth to it is not given. Our people hasn’t lived the days of peace it deserves after so much blood having and so many tears have been shed.
Right now, on the verge of partition, we should all demonstrate our patriotism. We should put the future of Cyprus over and above all else; over and above petty-party goals and any interests.
For the past two years, the Anastasiades Presidency and ruling DISY party have repeatedly accused AKEL of supposedly adopting Turkish positions and of unjustifiably attacking Mr. Anastasiades’ handling of the Cyprus problem.
But who is the one actually paving the way for Turkey’s pursuit of the partition of Cyprus?
Is it AKEL which adamantly persists in supporting the agreed framework of the solution or is it those forces and circles who with their contradictions and regressions are facilitating Turkey? Who are not forcing Turkey to take a stand on burning issues and in doing so either reaching a compromise or being exposed before the eyes of the international community?
Every policy is judged by its outcome. That’s the basis upon which we judge Mr. Anastasiades – without fear and passion. The results of his handling have been recorded. Everything that has taken place since his election in 2013 right up to Crans Montana has fully confirmed AKEL’s assessments and predictions. We found ourselves today, six years onwards, with Turkey escalating its aggressive actions, violating the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus, with the international community watching and keeping its distance, while many both inside and outside of Cyprus wondering what the government wants to achieve and what Mr. Anastasiades’ ultimately goal is.
Of course we did not expect the truly immersive moves we all saw with impromptu discussions held in corridors in front of TV cameras to be informed virtually to hell and back from which Mr. Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Christodoulides had passed our strategic goal.
For two years now they have been shifting positions coming and going from bi-zonal bi-communal federation to decentralized federation, to a parliamentary democracy and the submission of “new ideas”.
For two years now, various press reports have been suggesting that Mr. Anastasiades has been sounding out innermost thoughts about a solution of confederation. It appears that only now, due also to the refusal of the European Union to accept such a development, has he managed to realise how damaging is this perception of the country and how unacceptable it is to the international community. But the damage has been done and it’s enormous. An enormous effort is required to reverse the damage that has been done.
We are now directly being threatened with the final partition of Cyprus; a partition that is approaching with Turkey’s escalating aggressive actions in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone, the fait accompli it is attempting to impose in Famagusta and with the prolonged stalemate in the talks.
When AKEL was warning about all these dangers they were mocking us.
They were telling us that they had safeguarded the Cypriot EEZ, that Cyprus would have the support of its partners in the EU. They then began talking about Turkey bluffing and about securing sanctions which would force Turkey to cooperate. Now the government is telling us that sanctions aren’t needed, at the same time as Turkey is escalating its aggressive actions and intensifying its threats.
We are now also in danger of new fait accompli. Many owners of properties in the occupied areas are compromising with the crumbs paid to them by the Property Commission (in the occupied areas). They are selling their properties to meet their obligations. Others are slowly passing away in the refugee settlements, that is the generation that lived in a united Cyprus is gradually disappearing together with the yearning of return.
It is therefore understandable that if Cyprus is not reunited, it will be portioned and subsequently perhaps Turkified. Turkey is systematically colonizing our homeland and loading it with troops. If the Cyprus problem is led to a stalemate, developments will soon take their course. And developments will not be what certain circles and forces think will be with the Greek Cypriots on one side and the illegal formation on the other. At some point, Turkey, which will have permanently established its presence in the occupied territories, will want to expand to the rest of Cyprus as well.
All these dangers will only be effectively tackled if negotiations resume, through effective negotiations that will be based on the agreed framework and aim for a speedy solution. This opportunity is clearly before us. We wish that the meeting Mr. Anastasiades had with the UN Secretary-General and the one Mr. Akinci will have too will convince Mr. Guterres to continue his endeavor. Turkey’s attitude will of course also be decisive. If negotiations resume the path won’t be an easy one at all. It will be very difficult. Continuity and consistency are demanded, as well as a clear mind, free from obsessions and expediencies, together with Determination and a very clearly defined goal.
We therefore all need to reflect on developments. We, as AKEL, will not cease struggling for the solution of the Cyprus problem; for the reunification of Cyprus.
For a solution that will end the occupation and colonialization of the occupied areas.
A solution that will restore the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus.
A solution based on the United Nations Resolutions, the High-Level Agreements, International and European Law.
A solution that will demilitarize Cyprus and exclude any guarantees or intervention rights in our country’s internal affairs by any foreign power.
A solution that will reunite the territory, people, institutions and the economy within the framework of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality as outlined in the texts of the UN.
A solution that will lead to a united state, a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus.
We will not stop struggling so that our people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, can live as they deserve. With dignity and a perspective for the future. In peace and friendship.
The picture portrayed by the Anastasiades Government and DISY about the supposedly “robust” Cypriot economy that is recovering as a result of the construction of luxury towers and the “golden passports” scheme has already begun to crack.
The consequences of their economic and social policies are reflected in the coffins of the homeless people, the suicides and the people who have been left to scramble to make a living and are drowning in their problems.
They are reflected in the conditions of the majority of Cypriot society who are struggling to live on 700 euros a month, struggling to save their property from foreclosures, of young people who cannot make a living, who cannot hope.
They are reflected by what any objective observer can identify: a huge economic and social crime is being committed in Cyprus today.
Profits are rising, but they are going into the pockets of the privileged few. For the first time in Cyprus, in contrast to all previous years, according to a recent study, the conditions of working people is disconnected from economic growth, as their wages and share of income aren’t in line with GDP growth. We should also add to this situation, the bad name the Anastasiades administration has made for Cyprus internationally. It is noteworthy that according to the data released by the World Bank, as regards the indicators on the combatting of corruption and the Government’s effectiveness have been falling dramatically during the last five years.
In the face of this situation there is a constantly growing section of society that believes that AKEL is the only force that can lead and fight for the vindication of Cyprus.
It is the only Party that can effectively resist the government’s anti-social policies.
It is the only Party that addresses the people with seriousness and sincerity.
With a history of almost a hundred years of struggle, AKEL is the only Party that can take the country forward.
That is precisely why we and so many others need to continue and intensify our work, both inside and outside Parliament, inside the social movements, society in general, at the workplace, together with young people, scientists, farmers, women, artists, pensioners and single parent families. We need to be on the side of all those struggling for Cyprus, for dignity, life and the People. So let’s work for a successful upcoming Congress so that we can take AKEL even higher, to vindicate the struggles of those who made so many sacrifices, to build the future of those to come!
Next year our Party celebrates its 95th anniversary. 95 years full of struggles and sacrifices. And yet History awaits!
Let’s march ever onwards, for Cyprus and the people!

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