Written by alex palamedes
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Topics: Government, Turkey

Thursday, 29 April 2004

image for Cyprus: Turks Praise, Greeks Attack Greek-Cypriot 'No' Vote
Disappointed Cypriots Blame Greece, Turkey, USA, EU

"It is neither the government nor our diplomatic team that saved Turkey from being dragged down a very dangerous road, but the Greek Cypriots," said Turkish opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal on Monday.

"The government has been making very dangerous attempts in its foreign policy. The first of these was its attempt to drag Turkey into a military operation in Iraq. That was prevented by our opposition to the government's decision. The second one was the government motion on troop deployment in Iraq that was passed on October 7."

The UN reunification plan says that the new 48-seat Cyprus Senate would be comprised of 24 Turkish Cypriots and 24 Greek Cypriots, and would have veto power. The population split is 25%/75%. Such a misrepresentation has been called a recipe for future disaster.

"All Cypriots should live together under one constitution, which does not discriminate ethnic background," said a villager from Pyla - the only village in Cyprus, located inside the UN buffer zone, where Greeks and Turks still live side by side.

"If you have something pushed on you, you do the opposite," Greek Cypriot Mihalis Papaioannou said after voting no, voicing a common sentiment among opponents of the plan.

The Greek Cypriot government shouldn't expect a reduction in the number of Turkish troops stationed in the north of the island, Emperor Verheugen told a commission of the European Parliament. Instead Turkey might increase their number beyond the current 30,000.

An Istanbul commentator expressed cynicism over the Annan's plan parentage.

"Pressure on both sides is unacceptable. Saying 'no' in the referendum would merely mean people in Cyprus do not accept USA and EU pressure and their imperial mentality. There is no war in Cyprus," said Onur Aslan.

"No European citizen would ever consider accepting the Annan plan if thoroughly briefed about its CONTENT. This is a plan conceived as a gift to the Turkish (NOT the Turkish-Cypriot) side."

He explained that the clear-cut majority the reunification plan gained in the Turkish Cypriot north WAS NOT testament to Turkey's changed attitude, rather it was due to the long-standing desire of Turkish Cypriots to be free from mainland domination and rejoin their Greek-Cypriot cousins.

Mainland Greek commentators have argued that since Greece helped the wealthy island to join the EU, it has done its duty to Greek Cypriots, compensating them for the fascist blunders that led to the 1974 disaster. As a result, they say, the ungrateful Greek Cypriots should stop bugging Greece, regardless of the perilous ambiguity of the Annan plan. Greece is Turkey's foremost supporter for EU accession.

Anglo-Saxon commentators, hearing the word ‘re-unification' on CNN, have pretended to be mystified by the Greek ‘no' vote, and appealed to Greek Cypriots to overcome their "primitive natures".

"I don't think the leadership of the Greek Cypriot community have behaved well, to put it mildly -- gagging (European) commissioners' attempts to speak in the community and so on," said Chris Patten. The Greek Cypriots were "unwise" to forbid Imperial Envoys electoral influence.

Emperor Verheugen noted that Annan's plan might have reduced Turkish troop levels to a number that was merely symbolic of their 1974 invasion. Turkish troops now stand at 30,000 to 40,000 thousand compared to 6000 Greek troops. Turkish troops should be increased, since the Greeks, formerly victims, were now the aggressors.

Emperor Verheugen decreed that goods genuinely produced in North Cyprus were free to pass through the south and be traded with the rest of the EU. Combined with over 250million euros in aid to North Cyprus, the "strategically incompatible" desires of Turkish-Cypriots for full EU membership and of Greek-Cypriots for full re-unification and would be dampened.

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