It is acknowledged by every Greek Cypriot political party that two out of the six seats in the European Parliament belong to the Turkish Cypriots. They all profess however that there does not exist any practical way that the Turkish Cypriots can claim those seats before any settlement of the Cyprus issue.

It is possible that some parties may formally include one or two Turkish Cypriot candidates in their list although with very slim chances of success.

Even if a Turkish Cypriot gets elected in that way he or she will not represent really the Turkish Cypriots. It will be somebody selected by the Greek Cypriots in order to appear that the Turkish Cypriots participate in the European elections and thus implementing the policy announced by Papadopoulos soon after the referenda.

It was an insincere announcement for if Papadopoulos and the parties, which support his government, and the opposition parties that supported a Yes vote in the referendum, want to carry out such a policy then things would be simple: They could ask the T/C platform "This Country Is Ours", that is constituted by the overwhelming majority of Turkish Cypriot parties and trade unions that played a leading part in the development of the T/C mass movement in the North in the past years, to designate two candidates for the European elections. Those candidates could be either from the elected deputies in the Turkish Cypriot Parliament or any other individuals wishing to take up the two seats in the European Parliament.

If the Greek Cypriot parties would agree in such a prospect, then the way that this will be put into practice could be easily ensured.

We do not credit the G/C political parties though with sincerity but we regard all their declarations as part of their diplomatic manoeuvres.

However, we believe that to a great extent the ordinary party members are sincere. Many of those that voted No in the referendum were not nationalists but had a justifiable concern that the plan could lead again to the inter-communal conflicts of the past. Moreover, their vote was a vote of no confidence to Bush and Blair, the butchers of Iraqi people. They also showed mistrust to the G/C leadership who only yesterday they were demanding sacrifices in order to buy the S-300 missiles and today present themselves eager to accept a compromise and respect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.

Similarly, many people voted Yes from a genuine desire for compromise and cooperation with the Turkish Cypriots and not in order to avoid the after effects of the consolidation of partition, as the nationalistic leaderships of the Yes camp parties argued.

It is certain that such an initiative, aiming at the candidature of two Turkish Cypriot candidates, would find significant response among those people who voted Yes and could claim good chances even for an electoral success.

Furthermore, such an initiative would have put enormous pressure in all the parties and the government. It would give an enormous impulse to the rapprochement movement showing in the best way that the Greek Cypriots, the ordinary people, are ready not only to recognize the rights of Turkish Cypriots but defend their rights in actual fact.

This campaign will have to be waged essentially among the Greek Cypriots. Our aim is not to convince more Turkish Cypriots to register in the electoral lists and to vote. What the Turkish Cypriots must do immediately is to designate two candidates. The effect of such a campaign in both sides would be very important. It would restore to a large extent the ambience of peaceful disposition and reconciliation that appeared soon after the opening of borders in April 2003. It would create also the conditions for other initiatives as joint interventions (e.g. the NATO Summit in Istanbul June 26, a date which has been declared as international day of action by the global Anti-war movement), or joint commemorative ceremonies on the 30th anniversary of the 1974 war, a bi-communal peace camping and many more.

Let us begin however with this initiative on the upcoming Euro elections which is most direct and urgent.

Ergadigi Dimokratia
May 2004

Dinos Agiomamitis / Phedon Vassiliades