Article by Nikos Ioannou – former Secretary of the AKEL Famagusta District Organisation and member of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL
Sunday 12 May 2024, “Haravgi” newspaper
On June 9, the lawful inhabitants of Famagusta are called upon to vote first for their city and subsequently for their Mayor. By participating in the elections they will first of all declare that the people of Varosha do not give up the struggle and that they do not forget. The local authority elections are not just an electoral battle, but a test of whether we are still continuing the struggle, whether we are still asserting the future of Famagusta, the future of Cyprus.
Of course the election of a Mayor cannot reverse the given situation [in occupied Famagusta]. But a Mayor can keep the flame burning and at the right moment can play a catalytic role.
This is precisely what Famagusta Mayor Simos Ioannou has tried to do over the past 7 years through various actions that were taken in Cyprus and abroad. The Mayor of Famagusta is contesting the vote of the lawful inhabitants of Varosha with the support of AKEL and of forces that put the liberation, the solution and reunification of our country and people above everything else.
Simos Ioannou did not receive support from certain political forces because he dared to invite the Turkish Cypriot mayor of occupied Famagusta to attend the annual ANTI-OCCUPATION event held at the checkpoint of Deryneia.
He didn’t receive their support because he organised a bicommunal event within the walls of the occupied city calling for a solution of the Cyprus problem and reunification with the Turkish Cypriots.
He didn’t receive their support because he didn’t oppose the opening of the Deryneia checkpoint as the Democratic Party DIKO, far-right ELAM and social democratic EDEK wanted. As even the then Mayor of Ayia Napa and later Anastasiades’ Minister, Mr. Karousos and various circles did too who felt their financial interests were being threatened.
Anastasiades felt the wrath of the Famagusta people, booed by the few people present at the 2022 anti-occupation meeting, because instead of thinking about how to come closer to a solution, reunification and the return of Famagusta, he was more interested in the construction of towers and the ‘golden’ passports scheme. There is an attempt to hide and cover up the internal DISY rivalries (as with the former DISY President Averof’ warning about a “tsunami” of negative developments on the Cyprus problem and Anastasiades’ subsequent angry reaction) in the run-up to the elections.
However, the responsibilities of DISY party are not absolved. First and foremost because their handlings brought Erdogan to Famagusta to celebrate that under his presidency the fenced off area was being opened while they watched developments unfold in shock.
The Foreign Minister back then – now the current President N. Christodoulides – was claiming that Turkey’s threat to open up the fenced-off area of Varosha was nothing but a “bluff”…A policy which no one but the Left has dared to denounce, not even the current candidate of DISY, Mr Vrahimi, the declared spokesman for a policy which has raised the barbed wire even higher.
In the midst of all this, the extreme right, the descendants of Grivas and EOKA B, have the audacity to contest the post of Mayor of Famagusta with their own candidate, insulting the memory of those who perished defending Famagusta and our homeland. The “good guys” [the former Archbishop’s reference to far-right] who salute Nazis are a different breed, but they have the same political DNA as those who in 1974 were the ones brandishing their Kalashnikovs but were the first ones to run far away from the battle fronts when the Turkish army invader was entering the betrayed city of Famagusta.
It is their characteristic feature to engage in “national-mindedness” rhetoric and sloganeering on the one hand and to open the back door to Turkey’s invading army on the other. Just as back then. They were boastful lads until the moment the Turkish ships landed in Cyprus – until the moment they had to go to fight but sent others to fight in their place.
In front of them, Famagusta was silent, betrayed by them, tis destruction was their own doing, they had committed an unforgivable crime. Next to them, the road that passes through Pertzena orchard fields [the scene of a massacre committed by a Turkish army ambush of Famagusta inhabitants who were told they could return in safety], which still smells of blood, the blood of those who thought they would return to Famagusta, a double crime, twice of their own doing.
On the contrary, the Left has every reason to feel proud of the history and contribution of left-wing Mayors. Famagusta became an example because it was served by people’s Mayors and Municipal Councils, such as Adamantos and Pouyuros, Famagusta was built by workers and toilers. Small and large infrastructure projects and radical policies which were built with a social dimension were the work of the Left in Famagusta, which became the pride of every inhabitant of Varosha. This pride is a legacy, a conviction and a conscience. And we shall continue it.

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