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We’re digging our own graves

By Loucas Charalambous

THE REACTION of the government camp to the controversial issue of properties serves little purpose other than to highlight, yet again, the scale of its political hypocrisy.

We are often told by the contractors of partition: ‘Before the referendum, you supporters of the Annan plan had been alarming everyone, claiming that a rejection of the settlement would have devastating consequences for Greek Cypriots. But we said ‘no’ and nothing has happened to us.’

But as regular readers may recall, the main concern and fear of this column was that, with a ‘no’ vote, Greek Cypriots properties in the north would be lost for good. A year after the referendum, these fears are proving well founded. And the worst thing is that Messrs Christofias, Papadopoulos, Omirou and their associates, who have brought closer the prospect of partition so as not to let go of power, instead of acknowledging their responsibilities for the situation, have now started playing with the pain of their victims.

Papadopoulos is tacitly encouraging the misguided trend of taking legal action against Turkish Cypriots, because the cultivation of confrontation and hostility suits him. He is not interested in the very real possibility that this confrontational tactic could lead to the Turkish Cypriots [of Northern Cyprus] taking back all their properties in the south, while also holding on to all the Greek Cypriot properties in the north.

Christofias, on the other hand, has started issuing patriotism certificates, dismissing his victims as thoughtless and lacking conscience. These are citizens who, disappointed with what they regard as the permanence of partition brought on by Christofias’ call for a ‘no’, have decided to sell their land in the north. And AKEL now never tire of slamming Mehmet Ali Talat for the development of Greek Cypriot properties, forgetting that they are, to a large extent, responsible for this.

Apart from their hypocritical ranting and raving, there is also common sense, which, we should occasionally use to look at things. On the property issue, we should consider the following: more than 50 per cent of Turkish Cypriot [of Northern Cyprus] properties are in the south. About 78.23 per cent of land in the north belongs to Greek Cypriots. Where the hell are Turkish Cypriots [of Northern Cyprus] going to build, bearing in mind that Christofias chose partition? Will they build in the sea or live in tents? Or perhaps they should live and work in boats so as not to use our land? If these are the solutions Papadopoulos and Christofias have in mind, they should have the guts to say so.

The property issue would have been resolved in the best possible way with the implementation of the Annan plan. Greek Cypriot property in the north and in the buffer zone amounts to 1,512,000 donums and Turkish Cypriot [of Northern Cyprus] property in the south to 426,000 donums. In rounded numbers, with the solution, Greek Cypriots would have been given back 400,000 donums with the return of territory, 200,000 with the provision for the return of one third of properties as well as 400,000 in the south through the exchange of properties.

In essence, Greek Cypriots would have received two thirds of their properties back and would have been compensated for the remaining third. In addition to this, with the provision for a second home in the north, all Greek Cypriots who so wished could have had a holiday home in Kyrenia, Famagusta or the Karpass. If we take into account also the fact that Turkish Cypriot [of Northern Cyprus] properties in the south are prime real estate, in terms of value, one begins to understand how the refugees were taken for a ride by Papadopoulos and Christofias.

However, it should also be mentioned, for the sake of fairness, that the majority of those people crying today about their properties are also responsible for losing them. They should have thought about it when they were voting in the presidential elections and the referendum. But the fact that even today, they allow Papadopoulos and Christofias to take them for a ride, in the name of patriotism, shows that they have not yet understood – nor will they in the foreseeable future – that they have dug their own grave.

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