By Dr. Evaggelos Vallianatos *
It’s not easy to understand why the president of Cypriot democracy Nikos Anastasiades is about to sign off on the very disappearance of his country.
In a meeting in Geneva, January 12, 2017, between Anastasiades and Turkish leaders from Cyprus and Turkey, the division of Cyprus between Greeks and Turks will give way to a unified Cyprus. This expectation, however, is a deadly delusion.
First of all, the Turks invaded Cyprus in 1974, an aggression blessed by the US and the United Kingdom. The invading Turkish troops killed thousands of Greeks. Turkey still maintains an army of occupation in 40 percent of Cyprus it captured. Turkey then created an “independent” state in Cyprus, which no country save Turkey recognizes.
The Greek Cypriot state, however, is the Cypriot democracy recognized as the only legitimate state of Cyprus. This state, Cyprus, is also a member of the European Union.
With this reality on the ground, how could Anastasiades or any other Greek trust the Turks will not use the proposed union of the divided Cyprus to take over the entire island? No agreement has any value when one of the participants has a gun directed against the other participant.
General Demetres Alevromageiros, who fought the Turkish invaders in 1974, does not share the delusion and fear of Anastasiades. He warns that the proposed union of the Cypriot democracy and the illegal Turkish Cypriot state will form a Frankenstein state that will devour all of Cyprus. In addition, he is right that Cyprus is the last remaining “embankment of Earth and rock” between Greece and Turkey.
If the entire Cyprus comes under Turkish control, Turkey’s well-tested methods of genocide will obliterate the Greeks of Cyprus and the proud island of Aphrodite will cease to exist. Second, emboldened by such conquest, Turkey will then turn to Greek Thrace and the Aegean islands.
Considering these potentially catastrophic consequences of the planned Geneva meeting, why the rush days before America changes president? America is not a guarantor of Cyprus but America counts. President-elect Trump probably sees differently Turkey, the Middle East, Greece, the United Kingdom and Cyprus.
Trump has promised to finish ISIS or the self-proclaimed Islamic State. He probably knows the treacherous role of Turkey in the Middle East, now supporting ISIS, now pretending to welcome the end of the civil war in Syria. In an effort to cover up this ugly reality, the president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, has been accusing the US for promoting the cause of ISIS.
But the Achilles hill of Turkey is its treatment of the Kurds, the only reliable force in the Middle East against ISIS. Turkey considers the Kurds a deadly enemy, bombing them and calling them “terrorists.”
If Trump is serious about ISIS, he will have to rethink America’s cozy relationship with Turkey, which gives lease on life on an independent Cyprus. The present effort of the Cypriot president Anastasiades to give in to the perpetual bullying of Turkey becomes null and void.
The Geneva meeting should be cancelled. But if it takes place, Greece should have the courage to reject any decision that compromises Cypriot democracy and, therefore, Greek interests.
Yes, Greece is now weak and nearly a colony of the European Union and America, but then Greece draws from the inexhaustible courage and civilization of ancient Greece: the little and disunited country of the early fifth century BCE that defeated the mighty Persian Empire.
The Europeans and Americans should also wake up from their money slumber and rush to the assistance of Cyprus and Greece. Allowing Turkey to subvert Cyprus will be a knife directed not merely against Greece but against Europe and America founded on the ideals of Greek civilization.
- Scholar with a doctorate in history and long experience in environmental regulation and politics.