Thursday, 8 November 2007

Charlie Charalambous on Anglo-Turkish Strategic Partnership

What if the tourists stop coming?

By Charlie Charalambous

Nothing is going the government’s way at the moment but the polls still remain kind to the President.

And if he does manage to get something right, then ever-popular Tassos would most probably win the US primaries as well.

A true conspiracy theorist would argue that the international community - led by Britain, of course - is colluding to give Tassos a bad name.

To be precise, Cyprus is now under siege from a host of countries wanting to crush our spirit and facilitate Turkey’s global domination.

Okay, I’m slightly overstepping the mark but it’s a hugely convincing argument that wins votes among the converted.

There are so many bad omens travelling on the Syria ferry route to and from Famagusta that it’s no surprise that the Brits and the Swedes are joining the fray. And only god knows who else will join the Cyprus-bashing bandwagon.

Nevertheless, why has it come to this? What has government been doing on the awareness campaign to convert our enemies into Cyprus problem believers? Not a lot, we must assume, judging by the state of deadlock on July 8 Avenue.

The latest nail in the coffin appears to be the strategic partnership that Britain and Turkey have co-signed. Its mission is to facilitate direct political, economical and cultural contact between the EU and the Turkish Cypriots.

London insists there is "nothing new" in its policy towards the north, saying the UK does not recognise the "TRNC" in any shape or form. Cyprus is not convinced.

Why prepare a document with Ankara that specifically targets the north if it has been standard practice for some time?

Meanwhile, the government is blaming dark forces for resurrecting the Annan Plan from the dead.

What else could it be? Having said that, there is a tendency to get hysterically xenophobic about the Brits when there is a perceived slight against the Cyprus Republic.

There is a long-running love-hate relationship between the former master and servant.

Although the government should refrain from publicly flogging itself as a show of defiance.

Fanning anti-British sentiment would do more harm than good. Resolving these types of thorny issues is why we have diplomats - although most of them were fast asleep in London as the dreaded document was unveiled.

So, where does this leave the euphemistically termed "structured dialogue" aimed at mending broken Cyprus-Britain bilateral fences? Two years of road safety seminars and anti-hooligan training doesn’t seem to have improved matters.

There was so much positive dialogue going down that nobody in London mentioned a deal would be done with the Turks, despite Greek Cypriot sensitivities. Basically, unless the island is turned into a NATO base, Cyprus will always be sacrificed at the altar of international politics.

That’s how the wider world works. The big guys trample on the little guys all the time, doesn’t matter who you are, unless you’ve got oil - actually, you still get shafted, Iraq style.

Yeah, I can hear you say EU members are supposed to be cordial to one another and must avoid triggering conflict within the harmonious bloc.

As long as Brussels believes Cyprus earned its EU status by default, there is going to be a lot of surprises in store for Nicosia from many unsuspected quarters.

For now, Cyprus is in a sulk and refuses to play ball with London but what if the tourists stop coming?



british strategic partnership turkey greek anglo cyprus relations unity sovereignty TassosPapadopoulos CharlieCharalambous CyprusWeekly

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