By Loucas Charalambous
OUR PRESIDENT is not a politician. He is a compulsive, but clumsy wheeler-dealer. He thinks that he can fool everyone. This compulsion is the reason that – unfortunately for him and the country – today he finds himself in this tragicomic position.
He has become a prisoner of his wheeler-dealing. Nobody believes him now and nobody trusts him at home or abroad. This column had warned that Anastasiades would eventually be caught out. When he quit the talks I wrote that he would suffer the same fate as the likeable Nicosia character Takis, who would throw all the things he was carrying on the road when he became angry. As soon as his anger subsided he would patiently pick everything up again.
Now Anastasiades is also picking up his things, looking for a way or a pretext to return to the talks. I wrote that by leaving the negotiations, supposedly so as not allow the issue of natural gas (which is proving to be hot air) to become part of the talks he would achieve the exact opposite and put it on the negotiating table. Now he has trapped himself.
The worst is not that the talks have stopped. Whether these resume or not is irrelevant. As we do not want a settlement, what is the point of talks anyway? The worst is that he has turned everyone against us. His latest achievement – the interview he gave Mega TV 10 days ago – is unprecedented.
In the space of a few minutes, he managed to antagonise the whole world and in a rather self-humiliating way. He claimed to have been deceived by the US vice president and ambassador, the UK, the EU, the UN, Turkey and even Russia. Not even the late Spyros Kyprianou, renowned for his bizarre outbursts, had attacked so many at the same time.
But as I said, Anastasiades is under the impression that through wheeler-dealing he can fool everyone.
He thinks he can fool the UN, the Americans and the Europeans into believing that he supposedly wants a settlement and is seeking their help.
But when the time actually comes for him to take practical steps he remembers that he should not disappoint Papadopoulos, Omirou and Lillikas, so he comes up with excuses to prevaricate. And he uses the help of the protagonists of 2004 ‘no’ campaign, like Andreas Mavroyiannis, Nicos Emiliou and others to help solve the Cyprus problem.
This only infuriates all those he has fooled abroad. He has managed to turn everyone abroad, including the UN against us. The UN Secretary-General’s report on Cyprus was a strong indication – regardless of whether we want to admit it – that Ban Ki-moon has had enough of our president’s antics.
Anastasiades appears to have taken a leaf out of the book of Archbishop Makarios and Spyros Kyprianou.
The world has conspired against us he claims, just so that he can urge us to “stay close to me so I can protect you.” These are very old tricks which nobody buys nowadays.
He has also been taking the Turkish Cypriots that support a settlement for a ride. For the first 10 months of his presidency – from March to December 2013 – he was telling them that he was ready for a settlement but wanted a little time for the situation to clear at his then coalition partner DIKO.
In October and December of 2013 I had met two Turkish Cypriot politicians, who were directly involved with the handling of the Cyprus problem. Both were very pleased with Anastasiades and spoke with certainty of a settlement within months. One of them told me, “we celebrated more than you did over the election of Anastasiades.”
When I expressed my doubts, one of them said that the settlement was ready, that they had reached agreement on a couple of thorny issues with Anastasiades. They said Anastasiades had requested, however, that these developments be left until after the DIKO election congress in December, because he wanted to help Marios Garoyian to prevail over Nicolas Papadopoulos in the leadership contest.
I was quite surprised by the absolute faith they had in our president’s promises. Now, they also say they had been fooled by him, although not publicly. In the end they too fell victim to his wheeler-dealing, just like the rest of us.