As President Nicos Anastasiades wrestles with a long-term economic crisis and said that talks with Turkish-Cypriots to reunify the island are dead for now, Archbishop Chrystostomos said the country’s biggest problem is Turkey.
In in annual Christmas message he called on the government to punish those responsible for the economic woes – no banker has been prosecuted for bringing their institutions near ruin with bad loans and big holdings in devalued Greek bonds, but said that Turkey poses a bigger danger, according to the Cyprus Mail.
“Rampant unemployment, the inability of a lot of people to meet the challenges of life, corruption in public life and demeaning concessions to the Troika of lenders, that put our sovereignty in danger, discouraged many people and drove them to despair. Our current tragic financial state is a reality check for all,” said the Archbishop.
He was referring to the deal Chrysostomos made with the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) for a 10 billion euro ($13.67 billion) bailout that brought confiscation of 47.5 percent of bank accounts over 100,000 euros ($137,000) and harsh austerity measures.
But the financial crisis was not the island’s biggest problem, he said. Chrysostomos accused Turkey of wanting to take over Cyprus while he also accused refugees who appealed to the north’s Immovable Property Commission of “selling out” and “guilty of high treason”.
“We need to regroup. We need to heed the voices of our ancestors. As a nation we have been through a lot and we have survived. Not only did we survive but we thrived throughout the ages. Our heroic actions shocked the world. With such a history behind us, we aren’t allowed to give up and abandon the fight,” the Archbishop said.
Chrysostomos told Anastasiades not to back down to Turkey. “Today’s holiday reminds us that we ought to fight to protect our freedom and dignity, traits of our “made in the God’s image” creation. Our fight is one of obligation to God and country,” Chrysostomos said.