Thursday, 14 August 2008

Χώσου στην άμμο Αμμόχωστος

People who don’t know anything about Cyprus, idiots or the malicious suggest that the island’s political problem is one of competing ethnic groups who haven’t found the maturity or right level of civilisation to reject primitive nationalism to enable them to learn to live together.

Others, like myself, who don’t have an ideological axe to grind and are only interested in discovering the truth of a conflict and applying practical measures to resolve it, reject this silly and patronising analysis of the Cyprus problem and insist that the issues involved are, overwhelmingly, connected to invasion and occupation.

Indeed, today marks the anniversary of the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, when the Turks broke out of the Kyrenia bridgehead they’d established on 20 July and went on to seize the areas of Morphou, Famagusta, the Mesaoria and Karpasia, clearing out the Greek population and making 200,000 people refugees.

During this sombre commemorative period, the leaders of Cyprus’ occupied towns and villages organise protest marches, concerts, hand in resolutions to the powerful and make speeches vowing that the refugees will never give up the fight to return to their homes.

Yesterday, Morphou municipal council in exile handed in its resolution to the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the European Commission representative in Cyprus demanding ‘the return of all refugees to their homes, the withdrawal of all Turkish troops from Cyprus’ occupied northern areas, respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the safeguard of the independence, the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus’, and so on.

But in this article in yesterday’s Turkish Daily News – mouthpiece for the Turk foreign ministry – it is stated that Turk PM Recip Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that Morphou, which even the despicable Annan plan said would be given back to its lawful Greek inhabitants, ‘would never be returned to Greek Cypriot control’.

The determination of the Turks to hold on to Morphou – an exclusively Greek town of 7,000 before the ethnic cleansing of 1974, whose name refers to the goddess of beauty (Aphrodite) – θεά Μορφώ – a favourite deity of the town’s Spartan and Laconian founders – is based on the legendary fertility of the Morphou plain, with its citrus orchards, melon patches and strawberry fields, which Turkey wants to keep for the 12,000 Turkish settlers dumped in the town, and on the fact that the Turkish occupation authorities, after 34 years of neglect, have recently begun to heavily invest in infrastructural projects in the area; including a road linking Morphou to occupied Nicosia; the building of an undersea pipeline linking Turkey to Morphou scheduled to begin next year from which water for all of occupied Cyprus will be distributed; and the opening in 2005 by Turkey's Middle East Technical University of a Morphou-based ‘Northern Cyprus Campus’, which by 2012, is expected to enroll 3,500 students from Turkey and the Middle East.

Now, what all this reveals is the true nature of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and how difficult it will be to reverse its consequences. It also shows that what has happened and what will happen to Morphou has got nothing to do with relations, good or bad, between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, tolerance of the other’s culture and a willingness or otherwise to share power, and everything to do with the harsh reality of invasion, ethnic cleansing, occupation, settlers and so on. Turkish settlers have taken over Morphou, Turkey is investing in Morphou, Turkey will decide the fate of the town in any Cyprus solution. So much for Christofias’ ‘Cyprus solution made by and for Cypriots’. And so much for those who believe that whatever deal Christofias and Talat – the leader of the occupation regime in northern Cyprus – come up with, if, indeed, they do come up with a deal, it will resolve all the conflicts, injustices and iniquities on the island and pave the way for peaceful coexistence between the island’s Greeks and the Turkish minority.

■ In Radio Akritas, I’ve made available three songs from the album Εις γην εναλίαν Κύπρον, music by Michalis Christodoulides, sung by Giorgos Dalaras. The songs are:
1. Λογαριάσατε Λάθος;
2. Είμαστε Έλληνες, 1974; and
3. Αμμόχωστος.

Θαλασσινός ο κόρφος σου κι ανθοί στις αμασχάλες
κι ολόδροση πώς μύριζες στις πρώτες τις ψιχάλες
πόλη που παίζαμε παιδιά μες την πλατιά ποδιά σου
με ψάρια και λεμονανθούς χαμήλωσ' τη ματιά σου

Τις θύρες σου να κλείσεις θες και να μας περιμένεις
και μυρωδιές και ομορφιές τον ξένο να μη ραίνεις
σφάλιξε κλείσε δίπλωσε παράπονο στα χείλη
χώσου στην άμμο Αμμόχωστος σαν σπάνιο κοχύλι

Και μεις πουλιά που διώξαν μας τον Αύγουστο οι εχθροί σου
να ξέρεις θα γυρίσουμε πιστοί στην άνοιξή σου

Σφάλιξε κλείσε δίπλωσε παράπονο στα χείλη
χώσου στην άμμο Αμμόχωστος σαν σπάνιο κοχύλι
θαλασσινός ο κόρφος σου κι ανθοί στις αμασχάλες
κι ολόδροση πώς μύριζες στις πρώτες τις ψιχάλες


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the consistently good analysis, John.

Even while I'm on vacation in Greece I check in to see what you've added to your blog.

Your last three posts have been exceptionaly interesting.


john akritas said...

Well, thank you, A; though I wouldn't call my posts on Georgia 'analysis' – rather outrage at the clown Saaskashvili and how he's brought his noble country to its knees. Interesting, however, that Erdogan has gone to Russia to try and 'mediate' and the Turks don't appear to know whether they should be riding the Russian or American horse in the Caucusus.

Καλές διακοπές.