For Cypriots, October 1st is a holiday with a bitter sweet taste. We are proud of our people’s sacrifices and struggles for freedom and democracy. We are proud of the gains our people have achieved all these years. But this all diminishes when we see before us the barbed wires dividing our homeland, when we reflect that Independence Day is a day of celebration for all countries, but not for Cyprus.

 

We consider that today it is more necessary than ever before to think about the modern history of this country, to reflect on the bitter conclusions that stem from the our people’s turbulent course towards independence and the bloody events that subsequently followed up to the invasion. The anniversary of Cyprus independence will assume a real meaning only when we understand how we arrived at the events of 1974 and what we need to do to prevent the nightmare of partition.

 

Cyprus gained its independence at a time when the peoples of the world were fighting to rid themselves of colonialism. But Cyprus paid a heavy price for its independence. The anti-colonial struggle developed from two poles.

 

The Right rallied and formed an alliance around the Ethnarchy and the respective Archbishop. The people’s movement of the mass organisations of the Left rallied around the Progressive Party of the Working People, AKEL. Although both sides had a common goal, it was not possible for them to struggle together to achieve it. The reason was the Cold War climate, the delusions cultivated by the Right about “Greek-British friendship” and the notion of irredentism. As a result, at a time when the peoples throughout the world were waging anti-imperialist, anti-colonial struggles, in Cyprus the Right was projecting its nationalism, excluding the Turkish Cypriots from the struggle. In addition, it saw Enosis (Note: the union of Cyprus with Greece) as the principal and immediate goal.

In contrast, the Left integrated the struggle of the Cypriot people into the broader context of the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples and developed strong ties with the popular masses of the Turkish Cypriots.

 

The Right considered AKEL’s position for the necessity of waging a common struggle of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots against colonialism as a cardinal sin. Driven by the anti-communist hysteria that prevailed at that time, it sought to exclude AKEL from any field of action, from the struggle in general. AKEL was targeted because of its position for the forging of waging a united anti-colonial front, while the Right was insisting on an armed anti-colonial struggle. AKEL had warned that this form of struggle would end in a dead end, but they didn’t listen to us. The intolerance and fanaticism that the Right systematically cultivated against AKEL led to the murder and assassination of the militants of AKEL and the mass organisations of the Left who were accused of “treason” by the hooded masked men of Grivas. Thus, the British colonialists found the pretext they were looking for to outlaw AKEL, imprisoning and exiling dozens of its militants.

 

Every political position is judged by its outcome and end result. The Right’s insistence on armed struggle resulted in the deadlock that followed, something that was eventually pointed out by Grivas himself, but also decades later by Glafkos Clerides (Note: the historical leader of the Right, late President of the Republic). Despite the unparalleled heroism of the fighters of EOKA and their sacrifices, which AKEL honored and will always honor, we must acknowledge that EOKA did not achieve its goal. On the contrary, with Grivas at the helm – who considered Communists and Turkish Cypriots bigger enemies than the British colonialists – the armed struggle led to deadlocks and adventures for the people. Worse still, the armed struggle gave Britain the opportunity to exploit the tension that was created, to incite inter-communal clashes so as to appear as a mediator in the intra-communal conflict.

 

In other words, the armed struggle gave Britain a golden opportunity to appear as a peacemaker and to involve Turkey too as a player on the Cyprus problem. Their goal was obvious. Namely, that Cyprus must remain tied to the war machine of NATO imperialism. They fulfilled this goal through the Zurich-London agreements. Threatened with new bloodshed breaking out and the imposition of the Macmillan plan, the agreements were accepted by Makarios.

 

It is well-known that AKEL disagreed with the Zurich-London Agreements, because they granted “sovereign” bases to Britain, bound Cyprus with the system of guarantees and the presence of foreign troops. They also imposed a given, divisive and anti-democratic constitution. However, AKEL did not remain in denial. We proposed, if the agreements were rejected, that the armed struggle should be terminated, a united front should be forged without any exclusions and with the equal participation of all the political forces and the continuation of the struggle by political means. Our proposal was not accepted. The agreements were approved.

 

AKEL found the courage to turn the page and look ahead. It stuck to its assessment of the agreements, but called on the people to support independence and struggle for its completion, to lay the foundations of the reconciliation of the people and to build on them a common future of prosperity and progress. Furthermore, AKEL called on the people to struggle to rid itself of the negative provisions of the agreements.

 

Unfortunately, developments took a different turn. And there are specific reasons why this was the case.

 

NATO imperialism never gave up on its goal of making Cyprus submissive to its interests. A truly independent, sovereign and demilitarized Cyprus would be an obstacle to NATO’s aspirations in the region. All the conspiracies against Cyprus, which reached a climax in 1974, aimed to serve this goal.

 

Turkey, a major NATO player, knew that the Alliance’s interests in Cyprus coincided with its own. That is precisely why it used the extreme-right leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community to promote its plans. Decades later, Turkey confessed through Erdogan that even if there wasn’t a single Turkish Cypriot on the island, it would again want Cyprus under its control.

 

The Greek junta played a vile and at the same time catalytic role in the drama of Cyprus. The more patriotic rhetoric the junta employed on the domestic front back then, the more our homeland was being sold out abroad. The findings of the “File of Cyprus” commissioned by both the Greek and Cypriot Parliament are an irrefutable proof of this conclusion.

 

Last, but not least, are the forces and circles who fought Cyprus independence on the domestic front. That is to say, those Cypriots who served the plans of imperialism and Turkey. Nationalism and chauvinism in both communities were the scourge that was tearing away at the soul of Cyprus leading to the bloody events of 1963, 1964 and 1967. Nationalism and chauvinism were the hand that finally opened the door to the invading Turkish army in 1974. The fanaticism for Enosis on the one hand, and for Taksim (Note: partition in Turkish) on the other, the intolerance, hysteria of nationalism and violent fury opened the tomb of Cyprus. One day they will all have to look themselves in the mirror and recognise bitter truths.

 

The betrayal occurred because traitors did exist.

 

Crimes were committed because there were murderers.

 

Unfortunately in this country they baptized all of them as heroes, leaders and Generals.

 

AKEL will never stop saying things by their real name and recalling the past so that we shall have a compass to guide us to the future.

 

Every time we point out the truth about what happened, every time we talk about what needs to be done for Cyprus to have a future, the Presidency and the ruling DISY party demand that we either simply be silent or accuse us of “serving Turkish positions”.

 

The cause of Cyprus is at such a critical juncture that it would be criminal if we remained silent. It would be criminal if we stopped saying which positions and tactics will lead us to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

 

The possibility of partition is now directly threatening Cyprus. The only way to avoid the nightmare scenario of partition is to be consistent to the agreed framework. By being consistent to what the UN Secretary-General is calling on us to do, we can keep the hope (for a solution of the Cyprus problem) alive. Unfortunately, it is Mr. Anastasiades’ inconsistency and regressions that are facilitating Turkey in constantly slipping out of its responsibilities and not AKEL’s positions and policies.

 

The results of the Anastasiades-DISY policy over the past seven years are there for all to see. The stagnation that prevailed has permitted Turkey particularly after the collapse at Crans Montana to intensify its aggression and violate the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It has enabled Turkey to threaten with the imposition of fait accompli in Famagusta, while Cyprus doesn’t appear capable of reacting effectively with tragic consequences for the future.

 

There is one thing that Mr. Anastasiades and ruling DISY party are right about. It’s that Turkey has become much more provocative and aggressive than ever before. Whilst Turkey behaves in this way, the international community is not only not reacting effectively, but is seeking to find consensus solutions with it.

 

The government ruling forces are wondering why? It isn’t just a matter of interests involved. It is also because the government has not convinced of the clarity of our goals and intentions, because the vacillations and regressions of Mr. Anastasiades and the amateurisms of Mr. Christodoulides are provoking many questions. The sooner they realize it, the quicker they will address it.

 

They accuse us of supposedly adopting Turkish arguments. They should be ashamed of themselves!!! We have repeatedly challenged Mr. Anastasiades in the National Council to take a position on this issue. He rejected the assertion with minced words. However, he and his associates are accusing AKEL in public. They are deliberately and not accidentally telling lies.

 

They know that our people are justifiably afraid of and disgusted with Erdogan. They want to defame and discredit our Party in the people’s minds. To achieve this goal they are tearing down every wall of political culture and political ethos. We reply that they will not succeed.

 

AKEL is a patriotic and responsible political force. It has proved whenever our homeland and people needed it. It has proved it in practice, not in words and nationalist sloganeering and rhetoric as Mr. Anastasiades and DISY are doing. Whenever they don’t have any arguments, they engage in rising “patriotic and nihilistic sloganeering rhetoric”.

 

We remind them when they accused the people of AKEL of being “zeros”? We recall what they say about the Turkish Cypriot AKEL candidate in the European elections?

 

Of course, they have no difficulty whatsoever the day after launching such attacks to portray themselves as champions of rapprochement and the struggle for a solution.

 

The damage they cause with these intentional contradictions is incalculable. We reply to them that with regards their handlings we take into account what the UN Secretary General and the European Union are saying who they called a “capable, experienced and objective diplomat”. Their friends and partners (in the EU), whom they were telling us they could convince. What does the UN Secretary General and the European Union say about what happened at Crans Montana? He completely refutes the narrative of Mr. Anastasiades and those around him. He exonerates Turkey and states that Mr. Anastasiades did not have the political will to go to the very end. What was the reaction of Mr. Anastasiades and his associates at the time? Deafening silence!!!

 

Instead of delivering lessons on patriotism to AKEL for internal consumption purposes, they should respond to everything that exposes our country internationally. Unfortunately for Cyprus, this is the only thing they are interested in on all issues. That is to say, how they improve their image for communication purposes at home, not caring about how much damage Cyprus is suffering abroad. And they call this patriotism. If it wasn’t tragic, it would be funny!

 

They ask us cunningly “What do you propose”? We could answer them simply as they did “You are in power, you tell us”. We will not do that because we are not opportunists.

 

We remind them that AKEL had warned about all the negative possibilities.

 

That Turkey would seek to provoke in the EEZ.

 

That Turkey would promote a two-state solution.

 

The government ruling forces replied that they were “shielding” the EEZ.

 

That Turkey could not secure drilling rigs or exploratory vessels to proceed to provocative actions in the EEZ.

 

The results of their policies were completely refuted. However, it is the Cypriot people that is paying the price of their mistakes. Instead of apologizing, they are waving their finger at and threatening AKEL.

 

There is no more time left to lose on communication tricks and games and on pursuing policies that are reminiscent of amateur magicians. Anastasiades and DISY have trapped Cyprus in dilemmas and deadlocks with the stand they have adopted. Even more worrying is the fact that they do not seem to be concerned about the zero results of the tactics they are pursuing. At the recent EU Foreign Affairs Council, Cyprus was alone in its position on sanctions. Instead of worrying about this fact, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs leaks to the mass media that Mr. Anastasiades will also follow the “Spartan” hardline tactics of Foreign Minister Mr. Christodoulides.

 

For several days before the convening of the EU Summit of Ministers, Mr. Christodoulides was going from one TV channel to another to convince the people that severe sanctions would be imposed against Turkey that would supposedly hurt it. At the critical moment, however, Foreign Minister Mr. Christodoulides remained on his own. He didn’t even manage to convince Greece either. We will not tire of repeating that sanctions are a tool, not an end in themselves. Our primary goal is the solution of the Cyprus problem. The utilization of the natural wealth that we have in our EEZ. We therefore reply to them that all our actions must serve this purpose. It is unwise to limit all our efforts to imposing ineffective sanctions. Everyone should have recognised what we as AKEL have been saying for years. That is to say, the European Union has a different character than what many were imagining. It operates on the basis of interests, on the basis of double standards and stations and on the basis of the philosophy of consensus.

 

We will yield benefits if, making use of sanctions too, we pursue a policy that will de-escalate the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and pave the way for dialogue. For a resumption of the talks from the point where they had remained at Crans Montana, based on the Guterres Framework and the convergences that have been recorded up till now, as they were also confirmed at the Berlin meeting.

 

Our goal must remain unwavering: to arrive at a solution of the Cyprus problem, to bequeath to our children a free, reunited, sovereign, independent and demilitarized Cyprus.

 

We as AKEL will not stop struggling for the solution of the Cyprus problem, for the reunification of Cyprus.

 

For a solution that will end the occupation and the colonalisation (of the occupied areas) that will restore the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus.

 

For a solution based on the Resolutions of the United Nations, the High-Level Agreements, International and European Law.

 

For a solution that will demilitarize Cyprus and exclude any guarantees or intervention rights in the internal affairs of our country on the part of any foreign powers.

 

For a solution that will reunite the land, the people, the institutions and the economy within the framework of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as described in the texts of the United Nations.

 

For a solution that will lead to a united state, the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus.

 

We will not stop struggling so that our people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, will live as they deserve – with dignity and a perspective, with peace and friendship.

 

Our every initiative, every action and every position must be focused on fulfilling this goal.

 

Sixty years after the declaration of Cyprus independence, a gain that our people achieved through many sacrifices, we must speak with sincerity. We need to confess the bitter truth.

 

That the blood shed by and sacrifices made by our country’s heroes will have been in vain if Cyprus is mutilated by partition.

 

That the sacrifices and struggles of our people will have been in vain if we permit Cyprus to be “Turkified” because Cyprus will indeed be “Turkified” if it is not reunited.

 

We will not tire of saying it and struggling to prevent it.

 

If the political force that created the Cyprus problem has learnt something from the modern history of our country, then it needs as a symbolic apology to our people for all the suffering it has caused with its ideological obsessions, fanaticism and petty-factional expediencies, to work sincerely and with consistency for the salvation of Cyprus.

 

If it does not do so, if it chooses intentionally or unintentionally to put its signature again for the destruction of our homeland, then it can be sure that History will be merciless.

 

We will always be at the forefront. For the continuation of the historical path of almost a century fighting for the future of Cyprus. For the Cyprus of tomorrow. Thousands of hands united and determined to tear down the checkpoints, to break down the barbed wires of division.

 

On the side of AKEL – always on the front line!

 

Cyprus will win!

Speech by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL Kyprianou at the event on the 60th anniversary of Cyprus Independence

“Peace Square”,

Ayios Athanasios Municipality, Limassol

 

 

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