What has changed in the 48 years that have passed since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus?
A lot has changed. As it was expected.
To me, one of the biggest and most important changes that took place is this: That then, in 1974, tens of thousands of us poured into the streets, from all over the U.S., reaching Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, but also in other parts of the world, because we thought we could defeat the invasion. Because we believed that the international community, and especially the U.S., should and could force the Turks to withdraw their troops and that the situation in Cyprus would return to its previous form.
This, of course, did not happen. And we passed from the agony of invasion and the hope of freedom to the phase of disillusionment. Of defeatism. The abandonment of the liberating goal.
And we risk losing what we have left.
Why did this happen?
Because the endless UN resolutions had no response. Because the foreigners, on whom we relied, did not want to disturb their relations with Turkey. And why didn’t we prepare for the armed overthrow of the invasion in order to achieve even better terms at the negotiating table.
But the attacker never lost sight of his ultimate goal. And when we now rejected the Annan Plan, and indeed by a large margin, and they voted for it, they then found the opportunity they were looking for – just as 48 years ago they found the excuse of the coup against Makarios to invade – to open their sails for achieving their goal: The “solution” of two states.
And not only that. They are trying to export the successful recipe they used in Cyprus to the Aegean.
Future generations will not judge us favorably. We lived – and we live – for today, at their expense. We are handing over the country in a worse condition – much worse – than we received it.
We threw stones and ostracized the few voices of politicians who tried to advise us, who set high goals, as they should in a state fallen victim to invasion, who saw far beyond the next election battle.
And, of course, we all have a responsibility. But the biggest responsibility lies with the Hellenism of Cyprus, which submitted the flag of the struggle. Which elected, and I fear they will repeat it now, presidents not suitable for the magnitude of the national interest at stake…