President Nicos Anastasiades has received much critism from his own party (DISY) regarding his recent handling of the Cyprus negotiations.
In a no holds barred open letter to the Greek Cypriot President, Chief Editor of Greek Cypriot daily ‘Alithia’, Frixos Koulermos, a long-time personal friend of Anastasiades’ wrote:
“I hope my voice reaches faraway India, where you are, ” the letter read in a thinly-veiled swipe at the president’s decision to leave Cyprus, at a time when the peace talks are hanging by a frayed thread, for an inexplicable week-long state visit to Mumbai and New Delhi.
“It is the voice of all those who believed in a brave politician of the new generation,” Koulermos wrote, echoing feelings of betrayal by Anastasiades’ new-found rejectionist streak.
“We have known each other for 35 years and share an honest and selfless friendship. For the first time I feel the need to publicly express my strong concern over the impending risks from the latest impasse in the talks.”
Before departing for India, Anastasiades predicted that the Cyprus negotiations were likely to break down again. He had referred the amended bill on commemorating Enosis Day in secondary schools to the Supreme Court to rule on its legality and anticipated that the delay would create further reaction from the Turkish Cypriot side.
Koulermos said that for better or worse, a large part of society in Cyprus – “including DISY officials who think soberly” – is under the impression that “our President, too, is at risk of being carried away into entering the race of the presidential election, resulting in shelving efforts to solve the Cyprus problem”.
“No one ignores the unchecked intransigence of the Turkish side, Mr President, just as no one will forgive us if we fail to handle the negotiations properly, so that the negative approaches of the other side are fully revealed as such,” Koulermos warned.
“All the more so if we see catastrophic developments for our country, which I fear have already started to loom large.”
Referring to former President Tassos Papadopoulos, who scuppered the UN-brokered peace plan in 2004, he went on “Mr President, Nicos Anastasiades must not be likened to […] those who shed crocodile tears on television in order to lure the Cypriot people into voting against the United Nations’ plan to reunite our country.”
“Nicos Anastasiades has his political roots in the [DISY founder and two-term president Glafcos] Clerides school of thought, which wore responsibility and political realism on its sleeve. He cannot possibly be drawn by feelings or ambition, or even disappointment at decisions, into letting the ship hit the rocks.”
Recalling their long history of co-operation and the “vision we shared in the party”, Koulermos wrote that he addressed the letter to the president “in the hope that [Anastasiades] will not let us down”.
“I am certain that you have the astuteness, smartness, and skill set required to save this country from the dangers facing it,” Koulermos’ letter concluded.