Varosi, the once cosmopolitan beach of the eastern Mediterranean, is today the most tragic end of the “long-term” struggle of the Cypriots. The news of the last few days is causing a sensation among all the Greek Cypriots who are realizing the cost of their leadership elections. “The Turkish Cypriot businessman bought three hotel units from the (desperate) Greek Cypriot owners of him.”
The businessman plans to renovate the hotels to receive tourists in two years! Other private acts of buying and selling may have occurred in Varosi and surely many more will follow after the announcement of this development. What does all this mean for Cyprus? Game over! The game is over, now also for Varosi. It’s almost over for all of occupied Cyprus…
Cyprus needs a thorough review and a change of course as soon as possible. Many confirm the dangerous descent into division. The Greek Cypriot leadership can hardly hide behind its finger. In Crans Montana in 2017, a historic opportunity for resolution was missed. If Nicosia had the will, the return of the Varosians would be a given, among many other benefits, as part of the settlement agreement.
Crans Montana was not, however, the only opportunity. The history of the Cypriots has a long and painful past. In 2004, Karpasia was lost, everyone knows that. In 2017, Morphou was on the now-defunct Akinci map. Now Varosi is also lost.
Cities, towns and areas that would form part of the Greek Cypriot state, with property recovery and great prospects for development, first for the Greek Cypriots. Cyprus would once again be a united island, a member state of the EU. It would be a small return for those refugees who are still alive, now, in their old age…
In 20 years, the Varosians fade away, watching their leaders, one after another, act sometimes with cynical denial, sometimes with unbridled patriotism, and all of them, regardless of the consequences.
Three presidents, T. Papadopoulos, D. Christofias and N. Anastasiadis, did the exact opposite of what they were supposed to do: take responsibility as leaders, shoulder the burden and regenerate Cyprus, together with the Turkish Cypriots, of course. , firmly stepping on the greatest achievement that Cyprus has ever achieved: the integration of the island into the EU
The current president, N. Christodoulidis, knows, as a close associate of Anastasiadis for so many years, that his own tenure could prove fatal. The Cypriot’s tombstone can fall on him, ending the games in time.
Varosi opened up to the settlement when he was foreign minister, in 2020. Since then, the ghost town has gained thousands of visitors. Paths have been built, its beach attracts people again and public spaces are embellished. When private property also changes hands, it means that the sand in the hourglass is running out.
ex officio meetings
The news caused meetings at the Foreign Ministry and an uproar in the media. However, the Greek Cypriot leadership no longer convinces anyone. Sometimes awkwardly and sometimes with complete pretense, he condemns, pretends to be angry, pretends to study ways of reacting.
In practice, you just want to look like you’re doing your duty. Those who speak of appealing to the Security Council only provoke despair. Anastasiadis said it again in 2020 and did nothing. Guterres raises his hands: I warned you a long time ago…
However, for six years, Anastasiades played at the UN, exceeding all limits of excess. What he had left to do to his great-granddaughter, Nikos Christodulidis, no one knows…
The new Cypriot president found nothing to say about Varosi. He covered the unfavorable development by going to Paris, where he met up with Em. Macron and TOTAL officials. But Cyprus needs something much more than what N. Christodoulidis proclaims to get the country out of the quagmire.
He is also responsible for what happened at Mont Peleran and Crans Montana. There he stood out, among those surrounding Anastasiades who were reacting. He even rejected Akinci’s map. How will this change?
The Inclusion Catalyst
Two decades after joining the EE on May 1, 2004, Cyprus is still finding its footing. The example of the Varosians demonstrates how tragically the cycle of missed opportunities closes. The accession catalyst was not used and Cyprus was stuck in its past.
In the pessimism that Varosi is causing these days, there is something comforting. Very few people are proudly upset by Tassos Papadopoulos’s “outright no” in 2004. Hardly anyone believes the fairy tale that he “saved the Republic of Cyprus” and “did not hand over the community…”. The silent majority of Cypriots distances itself from this hymnology.
The only thing that matters today is what can be done to prevent the country from partitioning. It is hard but not impossible. The United States. become a “catalyst” for solving the Cyprus problem, suggests N. Christodoulidis. Are you serious? What are you willing to do to achieve it?
The word “catalyst” entered the Cypriot diplomatic vocabulary from discussions held in the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since the late 1980s, by Theodoros Pangalos and Giannos Kranidiotis. The first “time for Cyprus” (“Cyprustime”) meetings are often remembered by Professor Panagiotis Ioakeimidis, who lived through the entire effort step by step.
Few people today know the reaction – bordering on hostility – that they found in front of them from Cypriot politicians of the “resounding no”. And yet, Cyprus achieved a diplomatic triumph in the Attalos Lodge (April 2003) by signing the Accession Treaty. How, it can become a guide for the new Greek Cypriot leadership to see how it will destabilize Cyprus.
However, on the occasion of that historic moment, Professor Ioakeimidis wrote 20 years later (4/16/2023): “I was in a “pit” together with the late N. Themelis with K. Simitis, Z. Sirak, T. Blair and T. Papadopoulos, where the latter assured that “there will certainly be a solution to the Cyprus problem at the time of accession”! (No doubt the Cyprus question will be resolved upon accession…) We know the aftermath…”
* The article is republished in the Cyprus newspaper “Politis”