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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Interview of George Kolokasidis in “P” – What he says about NATO, the Cyprus issue, scandals and parties

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The independent candidate for President of the Republic, George Kolokasidis, describes in “P” the form of the solution of the Cyprus problem that he will seek in case he is elected and explains his positions on the issue of NATO. At the same time, he expresses the view that today the people are not sovereign and that in Cyprus there is partisanship, instead of democracy.


You are talking about peaceful revolution in Cyprus. What does it mean and how is it achieved?

I am referring to a revolution meaning the radical change of our democracy. Today we have, typically speaking, democracy, but the people are not sovereign. We finally have a democracy on display. This is because while from the outside our democracy seems to meet all the conditions of a democratic regime, it suffers internally. The citizen is not sovereign. Institutions have collapsed and instead of pluralism of institutions controlling each other & # 8211; this is the quintessence of democracy & # 8211; virtually the party system has interfered with all institutions and exercises control. That's why we essentially have partisanship instead of democracy. We must, therefore, bring the Municipality back to the top of the pyramid and limit the parties to their real role. That of the mediators between citizen and power. Parties must cease to be absolute policymakers, disregarding those they were supposed to represent. The citizen must return to the center of political decisions. How is this going to be done; By peaceful means. That is, through the last bastion of democracy: the electoral process. And after the elections, if all goes well, the great process of rebuilding our democracy will begin. Punishment of those involved in scandals. Creation of independent institutions. Involvement of citizens in the democratic process. Transparency and accountability in the parties.

Do you not consider it a bit risky for the Republic to refer to the partisanship in a way that devalues ​​the parties in the eyes of the citizens?

Listen, what is dangerous is not the identification of a problem, but the problem itself. The problem, then, is partisanship and the suffocating control of parties over institutions. Not the fact that we point it out. I dare say, in fact, that the combination of partisanship and idealization of the parties is deadly. Because this mythology of the parties, in such an unhealthy situation, makes us complacent and not look for solutions to a problem that is consuming the life of our democracy. I hasten, of course, to emphasize that the existence of parties is necessary. The parties, however, must regain their lost consciousness and limit themselves to the role that democracy has in store for them. Finally, we must say that the parties themselves were governed in a way that charged the discrediting of the citizens and no third party is responsible for & # 8217; this. If you ask the citizens, you will incite this hatred towards partisanship.

That is, would you reject any offer of cooperation from a party in the presidential elections?

Of course not. I may not have sought party support to maintain my independence and my program, which opposes the continuation of this party omnipotence, may not be compromised in the slightest. However, if a party decides to support me and indirectly support my program, I will not reject it. It means that this party will have decided to side with the biggest reform effort that has ever been made in Cyprus. This will be good.

Cleansing and Punishment

You are asking the citizens to give you a clear mandate to proceed with the appointment of criminal investigators for the criminal investigation of scandals, such as the collapse of the banking system and the golden passports. Someone might accuse you of populism.

But why populism? I am not going to condemn anyone in advance. I will not become a public prosecutor either. What I am saying, and it is very simple, is that I will appoint truly independent criminal investigators to investigate for criminal liability the major scandals we have seen in this place. If they find criminal liability, the relevant procedures will proceed. At the end of the day, a court will decide and not me. I wonder if the restoration of justice is populism. Populism, I think, is to arouse the worst instincts of the people without the truth. I do not think that there is a person in Cyprus who does not believe that corruption exists and threatens democracy. After all, I'm not just talking about punishment. I am also referring to institutional changes that will oblige the parties to be transparent and democratic. To be accountable. It does not mean power today without transparency and accountability.


What exactly do you mean when you say that the basis of the Cypriot solution must change, away from the model of the ICC? Do you suggest returning to the united state?

I describe the basis. I'm not just referring to nomenclature. The solution must contain some basic elements: the guarantee of the three freedoms for all the legal inhabitants of the island, settlement, county property and trafficking, which we have always claimed. It must provide for a strong government. It must include the withdrawal of Turkish troops and the cessation of guarantees. At the same time, the settlers will have to leave, except in some humanitarian cases. What I am saying is that the ICC does not guarantee all this. See only the concessions of the then President Christofias, but also those of the current President Anastasiadis. An example is the rotating presidency or even the expropriation of property rights to occupied properties. We carry these concessions in every new negotiation cycle. And certainly a viable democracy is not being formed. Do not forget, however, that what we are claiming, so briefly, is the restoration of constitutional order. That is, return to the Republic of Cyprus. So, surely the unified state meets these conditions that I set, but even elements of Local Government or federal can exist. As long as the unity of a state and its cohesion are not affected.

How realistic is what you say when we know that it does not resonate either in the international community or in the Turkish Cypriot community? b >

It is not the foreigners who will decide the future of this place. They are its native inhabitants: Turks, Maronites, Armenians, Latins and Greeks. And certainly the international community should have no problem if the solution is based on the restoration of law and order and human rights. As far as the Turkish Cypriots are concerned, I personally do not accept that what the Tatars or every Tatar utters is the will of the Turkish Cypriot community. As the data of the occupation and the absolute Turkish control have today, those who present themselves as leaders of the Turkish Cypriots are nothing but representatives of the Turkish interests. I firmly believe that the character and interests of the Turkish Cypriots are well protected in a solution like the one I describe, rather than in a solution where the Turkish Cypriots will be lost in a flood of settlers and under substantial Turkish control. It is Turkey that does not accept such a solution. But, if it is to accept what Turkey wants, it is not a solution that we will reach, but a catalysis. Instead of liberating the place, we will bring the occupation to Limassol.


However, Varosi is in danger of being lost, while there is an ongoing effort to impose Turkey on the occupied territories with the so-called protocol and draconian measures at the expense of the opposite view. So how much time do you think we have at our disposal to implement a new strategy on the Cyprus issue?

You are right that a policy of complete Islamization of the occupiers is being followed. This, moreover, is served by the presence of settlers whom the Turkish Cypriots themselves feel are foreigners. This is often emphasized by many Turkish Cypriots in private conversations. That is, their physiognomy is endangered, due to the settlers and the Turkish pressures. Is it for & # 8217; Whatever solution is found, it should protect Cyprus, but also the Turkish Cypriot community from the direct or indirect influence of Turkey. At the moment, Turkey does not accept anything logical and fair in Cyprus. As, after all, it does not accept in the Aegean either. This, however, should not make us slip into Turkish positions. And time is not the problem. It is a fact that there is an imbalance of power in favor of Turkey. This prevents a return to legality and nothing else. As for Varosi, what we see, like what is happening in the other occupied areas, is a tragedy and an ethnic cleansing. We may not have the power to reverse the occupation. We could, however, do much more fighting internationally against the effects of the occupation and Turkish expansion in Varosi. But we have been eaten up by the policy of appeasement. We are afraid to shout bass and spoil the good atmosphere of the conversations. What good climate? Did that save Famagusta? However, there is time and opportunity to fight against the settlement of Famagusta. There are no guarantees of success. We must, however, fight for every grain of Varosian sand that is colonized. And, of course, engaging in a Confidence-Building Measures debate instead of insisting on measures against Turkey has dampened efforts. I believe that the MOE fell on the table by foreigners precisely to cover up the crime of Famagusta. And we fell into the trap.


And when will the displaced return to their homes? One by one they die in exile and the ECtHR has already recognized the rights of the illegal user based on the emotional bond he has acquired, as a result of the passage of time.

Our struggle is not just for the return of refugees to their homes. This is it, but it is also for the creation of a fair, democratic Cyprus, which is functional and respects the human rights of its inhabitants. After all, we could just ask for the return of those refugees who still survive to die under occupation. As I said, however, this is not our struggle. As for the emotional connection you say, there have been those references you say. At the same time, however, there has been a recent ruling by the same court that makes it clear that the title of each owner in his occupied property is not statute-barred. That is why the Turks are trying to find a seemingly legal way to seize the Greek properties of the occupiers. That is, what is done, through the so-called property committee. Another scandal and that!


Do you agree with the idea of ​​Cyprus joining NATO?

No. At least at first glance. The question is academic anyway because Turkey will never consent. Tie Sweden and Finland. But what also worries me is that any such coalition must offer us protection in our national affairs. In the context of NATO, this is not guaranteed at all. Because Turkey also belongs to NATO and it is clear that the main partner in NATO, namely the US, prioritizes the recovery of Turkey over anything else. The example of Greece is also active. Did her participation in NATO help her a lot in Imia? Today the area of ​​Imia is considered neutral, gray. What I think would most secure the Cypriot and wider Greek interests is a strengthened cohesion European Union, which will have a strong defense arm and which will really treat the borders of its peripheral countries as European borders. In such a scheme, surely Cyprus and Greece would be upgraded defensively.


Are you happy with the results of the polls? However, there is a big distance between the candidates & # 8230;

I think very little can be said about polls at this stage. We are 8 months before the presidential elections and now the interest of the people is awakening. I think at the moment the polls show perhaps the fixed party pool and also some support for those who have been cultivating their candidacy for some years. Candidates are now starting to make their positions public and, most importantly, no public discussions have yet taken place between the candidates to judge their positions. A significant part of the citizens are concerned and will judge from what they will hear and see. And that makes perfect sense. The democratic process is a dynamic process.

Second Round

Have you ever considered the scenario of the second round of the presidential election in case secure the required percentage on the first Sunday?

Do you want me to be honest? I have not thought at all, but not at all, second round scenarios. Neither if I qualify, nor if I fail to pass. I am not interested in these scenarios. After all, I'm not doing this fight to build personal political capital for ransom. The big effort at the moment is to promote my positions, to provoke a discussion around them and to move on to the second round. If I convince. Then we see.

Source: politis.com.cy

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