Tuesday 10 June 2014

Article - The EP elections and the ecstasy of the guardians of status-quo (Published in Greek in 24h on 8 June 2014)

The EP elections and the ecstasy of the guardians of status-quo

The most painful outcome of the European Parliament elections held in Cyprus on Sunday, May 25, was that it played so conveniently into the hands of those, who never miss an opportunity to scream at the top of their lungs that Greek Cypriots do not, and will never consider Turkish Cypriots as their equals. The loyal guardians of the status quo in the northern part of Cyprus - the eternal collaborators of the guardians of the status quo in the southern part of Cyprus -were ecstatic that thousands of Turkish Cypriots were not able to exercise their voting rights.

“I hope this will finally show you that Greek Cypriots are not good-willed,” commented one Turkish Cypriot on social media. “I hope this makes everyone come to their senses and see the realities.” wrote another. Other comments followed: “What else can the Greek Cypriots do? They have been trying to make us understand since 1963. We are still insisting in not understanding.” “Yet another message to us from our neighbours. Those of you, who have been pretending not to understand… do you understand now?” “Have the Greek Cypriots treated the Turkish Cypriots unfairly? No, that is impossible! Come on! Our neighbours would never do anything of that sort. They are faultless. Please don’t be silly.” “The Greek Cypriots would not give us even their sins.” “Our southern neighbours take every opportunity to do everything they can to make us suffer.”

Such ludicrous and sarcastic comments went on for pages and pages. Longer than I could stand to read… I honestly don’t believe that there was a deliberate, organised, racist conspiracy carried out to prevent so many Turkish Cypriots from voting at the European Parliament elections. Yes, there was a problem - most probably arising from negligence, lack of preparation or mere bureaucratic incompetence.

The Republic of Cyprus had made amendments to its election law earlier this year to allow all Turkish Cypriots aged 18 or over and bearing a Republic of Cyprus ID card and residing in the north, to be automatically granted voting rights with no need to register in the electoral roll. Therefore, the amendment made eligibility to vote conditional on the residential address. It turns out that the residence addresses of thousands of Turkish Cypriots living in the north were either missing or incorrect in the official records of the Republic. As a result, they were not able to cast their votes.

Under normal circumstances, in a normal country where sane people live, everyone would have been regretful of the fact that so many Turkish Cypriots were prevented from exercising their voting rights.

However, in the crazy country that we live in, the adamant guardians of status quo were so happy to have seized yet another opportunity to conclude that no peace can be made with Greek Cypriots, ‘who humiliate, reject, and ignore Turkish Cypriots.’

On Sunday, May 25, the guardians of the status-quo won. The Cypriots fighting for peace and solution were defeated once again.

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