AKEL Genel Sekreteri Andros Kiprianu’nun, Noel’den önce, AKEL Sekreterliği ve Polit Büro’da bazı değişiklikler olacağını müjdelediği haber verildi.
Haravgi gazetesinin haberine göre Kiprianu, AKEL Kurultayının ise 15–16 Şubat 2014 tarihlerinde gerçekleştirileceğini söyledi.
AKEL Merkez Komitesi’nin, yapılacak değişiklikler konusunda 20 Aralık’ta bir toplantı yapacağını belirten Kiprianu, hedeflerinin yönetim kadrosu dinamiğinin yenilenmesi ve yönetici sınıfın etkinliğinin iyileştirilmesi olduğunu ifade etti.
Sekreterlik aşamasındaki değişikliklerin daha büyük olacağını söyleyen Kiprianu, Polit Büro aşamasındaki değişikliklerin ise daha küçük çaplı olacağını, çünkü bunun yüzde 50’sinin yakın bir zamanda yenilendiğini sözlerine ekledi.
Röportajın İngilizcesi şöyle:
AKEL, on the decision of the C.C. of AKEL, is heading this coming February towards a programmatic Congress. How did this need arise and what is the goal of this Congress?
AK: The programmatic Congress is part of all the efforts AKEL is making in this period. We have suffered quite a few losses from the five year term, not because of the way the country was governed, but due to the way the other political parties developed their political activity and the messages they managed to convey to society. Having said this, I do not suggest that mistakes weren’t made. On the contrary, the Central Committee very boldly has pointed out the mistakes which we are discussing in the Party Base Organisations in order to formulate a comprehensive framework assessing the five year administration. The need consequently arose to clarify a number of issues and to make our positions more detailed and clear in order to avoid any disagreements. We therefore need to discuss within the framework of a programmatic Congress the elaboration of our positions that affect Cypriot society, to clarify them with greater sharpness so that we will all be bound by the decisions the programmatic Congress will take. These decisions will guide us until the next Party Congress. It will represent the basis upon which we shall wage our political struggle.
The second action taking place in parallel with the discussion underway on a political level is the attempt at renewal and the restructuring our work so that we will be more effective in the organisational field. We are trying to initiate a renewal from the leadership of the Party, the Central Secretariat and Political Bureau, whilst at the same time proceed to make changes in the Party District Organisations as well. Our intention is to renew the party bodies at a district level, but also even at a local level, where such a need is needed.
In AKEL, when we talk about renewal we do not mean some spontaneous and random renewal aimed at filling some positions.
For us, renewal is a procedure with continuity and consistency. We assign more responsibilities to young people who have been tested in struggles. This is how we ensure continuity as well, which is imperative in parties of AKEL’s type.
Certain circles and forces, whether well-intentionally or not, consider that renewal on the one hand and the programmatic positions on the other as a result of the Congress will aim at changing the Party’s ideological orientation. How do you reply to this assessment?
AK: They will be disappointed! AKEL always has the capability to adapt its ideological positions to today’s given situation and to formulate its political approaches. This is how AKEL has always functioned. That is how it will function today as well.
These issues will be clarified even more, so that there will not be any doubt about the ideological character and identity of the Party, which bearing in mind the evolving developments, I do not consider is deviating. On the contrary, the need to turn – in a dialectic way of course – to our ideological principles that guide us is pressing.
The recent developments transmit the message that capitalism cannot represent the future of humanity; that it is imperative that we should all act by having socialism as our goal. This is why our ideology is strengthened rather than weakened, as long as we analyse it dialectically.
Recently there was a fierce campaign waged against AKEL that bordered on political cannibalism.
At the same time, you denounced the political scheming against AKEL on the pretext of the arrest of party cadres. Currently a “ceasefire” is being observed. To what do you attribute this scheming?
AK: Indeed, there was an unprecedented attack on AKEL. I do not consider that there has been a “ceasefire”. There was simply a more serious way of handling the issues by the government and certain institutions. We have never asked for any favour for any cadre of AKEL. We have called for the provisions of the law to be respected and that we operate based solely on the Law of this country and not according to any experiences and considerations which are served through press reports that in the past have been refuted repeatedly,but the impressions remain among public opinion, whilst no-one makes the effort to refute the impression from false reports. Our demand therefore was that there must be a full investigation and if it is substantiated and documented that anyone is involved in anything then procedures should be initiated against them. No one however should be tried by popular courts, through the mass media, based on statements that are made by irresponsible individuals.
Cypriot society is in the midst of an extremely difficult economic situation. What has become of the proposal submitted by AKEL for exit from the Memoranda deadlocks? Is AKEL’s proposal still on the agenda?
AK: From the moment the government decided not to discuss it, as you are aware, the proposal does not proceed. However, it is still on the agenda. We are also updating our proposal because with the updating of the Memorandum itself the situation is deteriorating.
We should point out that the Troika and the Government are making some “clever” moves. They have seen that how a Memorandum was implemented in other countries. Following the initial implementation, a second Memorandum followed and subsequently a third Memorandum, resulting in the people rising up. In our own case, they have acted differently. Instead of talking about a second or third Memorandum, they are talking about its updating.
Updating means the introduction of new provisions in the Memorandum, whatever the government may say. Let’s give three examples: a provision was incorporated in the Memorandum stipulating the enactment of legislation for the confiscation of homes/residencies is prohibited. This is a new provision that was not included in the original Memorandum. Furthermore, a reference was included stating that interest rates cannot be regulated. When I held discussions with the Troika they told us that it’s up to us to decide on the issue, that they don’t advise us to do it and that we must take into account the general situation of the banks. They included this in the updated Memorandum.
With regards the issue of privatisations. Whilst in the first Memorandum they talked about privatising three Semi-state organisations, now they are referring to all the Semi-state organisations. Well, this is the new Memorandum that materialized after the changes to it. When we dared talk about a new Memorandum we were accused of populism!
Therefore, realising that the given facts have changed, with all the changes to come, we have a duty to update our own proposal too. Consequently, in cooperation with the “Promitheas” Research Institute and a network of 20 university academics on economy of international standing with which the Institute collaborates with, we are discussing the updating of the Memorandum. The Institute on 1st December is organising a seminar on how the situation is evolving after the implementation of the Memorandum in Cyprus, what is the new situation that is being created and how we should tackle the situation. We have not therefore abandoned our proposal as some circles are suggesting in a vulgar way.
At the same time, shouldn’t the Movement of the Left at this period of time when Cypriot society is suffering from the vicious circle of the Memorandum deadlock policies and working people are being humiliated, be on the streets?
AK: The Peoples Movement of the Left will be on the streets, there is no doubting that, but in a coherent and organised way. We will not act sporadically and irresponsibly. The conditions are maturing, the movement is discussing with other groups so that the resistance will have results. We are not merely interested in demonstrating for the sake of demonstrating. We are interested in exerting pressure to change some situations. This is not always easy, but our own goal is to exert influence so that decisions are taken that can protect working people’s rights.
The government presents itself as more Toikan than the Troika itself. Even sovereign rights are being violated. With the exception of AKEL, there is no resistance…
AK: We are resisting steadfastly. I shall refer to the terminal station for natural gas. The new Memorandum questions the need to establish a Terminal, which was a principled position of the Christofias government, was reconfirmed by the Anastasiades government, which is now dragging its feet and delaying its implementation, giving the Troika the opportunity to question and challenge the need for a terminal. We are therefore resisting. We will not retreat or yield on issues such as privatisations.
Precisely, the government is misrepresenting AKEL’s positions which instead of engaging the party’s wish to discuss with it alternative ways of finding 1.4 billion Euros, wants to discuss ways of privatising Semi-state organisations.
AK: I underline the point once more. AKEL will oppose privatisations, both inside and outside the House of Representatives. We will never consent, and the government should take very seriously into account our warnings otherwise it will be faced with a big surprise and at the last moment shift its own responsibilities on to the shoulders of others.
The government should find another way of handling the issue affecting Semi-state organisations; a way that will have the support of AKEL but also of the trade unions, instead of blindly moving ahead satisfying the Troika’s demands. There is room for negotiations with the Troika and for resistance to its demands which unfortunately the government does not do at all.
There are comments in the international press that the Troika is pretty much pleased when it comes to Cyprus because it doesn’t face any resistance to its demands in its negotiations, as is the case in other countries.
AK: I have not seen these press reports, but I can say that currently throughout Europe a view is gaining ground arguing that ways of exiting from the dead-ends the Troika is leading us must be sought: a dead-end characterised by austerity and cuts. We must seek our emancipation from the Troika. Whilst this view is developing within the EU itself, in Cyprus regretfully it appears that the government is more Troika than the Troika itself. As if all the horrendous measures of the Troika are not enough, the government is exacerbating the negative consequences against the people.
The Ministerial Council has decided to re-examine all the labour issues and will negotiate them supposedly with the trade union organisations. Even the collective agreements that had been agreed just a few months ago, the government wants to re-examine them.
It is doing so in order to serve the demands of expediencies of some businessmen who are putting pressure on the government. Second,the decision to extend shopping hours. This decision serves a handful of big businessmen and is destroying small and middle businesses, causing enormous social problems to thousands of families because it forces mainly women to work hours that do not allow them to devote the necessary care to their families. There are other such measures that are being implemented by the government without the Troika demanding them.
Having all this in mind, is AKEL’s resistance enough to save at the end of the day the Cypriot peoples dignity?
AK: Let me clarify that this resistance will be escalated and the degree of resistance will correspond to the issues that will emerge. The second point I would like to say is and which is more important – and this is the direction we are turning our attention to – is to see how we can rally the people of AKEL so that it can be more powerful in its assertions and struggles and on the other hand to rally around these assertions other organisations, movements and agencies who agree with us that rights that have been enjoyed for decades are being abolished and curbed.
I therefore address an appeal to the people of AKEL who have every right to express complaints, observations, disagreements and others. They should express them but at the same time they should rally their forces around AKEL, making it stronger so that it is more effective in its assertions.
Dejection does not suit the people of the Left. The people of the Left are born to be fighters and in the end to be victorious; not born to be observers of developments and see its struggles end in defeat. We must therefore gather our strength to rally around the People’s Movement of the Left and fight to fulfil our goals.
Upon returning from the visit of the AKEL delegation to New York you conveyed the conclusion from your contacts about an upgraded US interest on the Cyprus problem. A few days ago the US Secretary of State in the presence of the Turkish Prime Minister Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, talked about “discreet” interventions and initiatives on the Cyprus problem. Do you know about these interventions and initiatives and in which direction will be geared to?
AK: They had informed us that Mr. Kerry would have held discussions with Mr. Davutoğlu on the Cyprus problem, which was indeed high on their agenda; in fact it was the second issue on the agenda. There was a strong insistence by all American officials I had met that in their face to face discussions with Turkish officials a disposition towards an understanding on the Cyprus problem is obvious. We approach this position with a great deal of reservation, both because we know what the Turkish government’s long-standing policies are, but also because we have heard the recent statements issued by Mr. Erdogan, the Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Mr. Bagis or by Turkish President Mr. Gul which prove that there hasn’t been any change whatsoever with regards the substance of the Cyprus problem. If only there was a shift in Turkey’s intransigent positions it has supported so far. Until we observe such a change in practice we shall continue to be extremely cautious and reserved about Turkey’s positions.
The position you formulated in the press conference on the results of your contacts in the US about “an apparent more active US involvement” was characterised by the government as a “new position”. Is that so?
AK: One shouldn’t even claim that to be so, not even for a joke. For AKEL, all through the decades, it is clear that what we are interested in is the very content any initiative undertaken. Today too we approach the issue in the same way. There has been no such shift in AKEL’s position. What we do hope and wish to see is a change in Turkey’s intransigent positions it has so far supported.
Aren’t you worried that any initiatives by third parties – the Americans or the British or others – will aim above all at serving their own geo-strategic interests, taking into account Cyprus’ energy reserves?
AK: We have no illusions whatsoever that the reason the American interest is upgraded is the following: the confirmation of the existence of carbohydrate reserves in our Exclusive Economic Zone. The US therefore incorporates this factor as well in their general plans.
We know this and that is why we view this interest with a great deal of caution. However, we shall give them the opportunity to prove otherwise. If they do so – I reiterate – such an effort will be welcomed. At the same time I wish to stress that in all our discussions without exception, AKEL clarified the following: If and when any efforts develop within the agreed framework, with respect of the fundamental principles of the solution of the Cyprus problem they will have our support.
If any attempt is made to impose a solution that will deviate from this framework then they should realise AKEL that will react. I made this point very clear to all our interlocutors in the US.
You therefore confirm that the UN Security Council as a collective body is the only one that can safeguard the interests of Cyprus and its people, as was the position pursued by President Christofias too?
AK: Of course and we shall insist on this approach. Besides, our wish is to visit Russia too very soon because we want to discuss the Cyprus problem with the Russian Federation too, whose role is extremely important in the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem. This big country cannot be marginalised, a country which has supported with great consistency and based on positions of principles the efforts we have always made for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Talking about the geo-strategic interests in the region, do you believe that the Republic of Cyprus is seeking to strike a balance so as to safeguard our country’s interests?
AK: One aspect is the geo-strategic interests and how we ensure that any decisions taken will not be to the detriment of Cyprus and the second point is the positions of principle we adhere to specific issues. Our own approach is that the geo-strategic interests must be analysed and political positions should be formulated in a balanced way so that principled positions are not abandoned on various issues. For example, the principle of non-intervention with regards the sovereignty of independent states, the right of the peoples to decide themselves about their own future, as well as on specific issues of the region such as on the Palestinian people, the developments in Syria and others.
Is the principle of a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship the “red”/”bottom” line or the lowest common denominator for all the political forces?
AK: I consider that for us this principle cannot be negotiated. No one can go beyond this last line of defence.
In your talks with US officials, you referred to “red lines”. Is this what you meant?
AK: We stressed this and other issues too that stem from our long-standing positions of the National Council, such as the question of the withdrawal of the troops. We stated that we do not need guarantor powers. We discussed the property issue and the right of the owner to decide about the future of his/her property and other issues.
Certain forces and circles consider that the support AKEL renders to President Anastasiades on the Cyprus problem is down to expediencies and considerations, and not from a position of principle and more specifically that AKEL is trying to emerge from isolation. What are your comments?
AK: It shouldn’t even be considered even for a joke in this way. AKEL since its foundation has always adopted a principled position on the Cyprus problem. AKEL supported the same positions during the presidency of S. Kyprianou, as it did during the subsequent presidencies of G. Vasiliou, G. Clerides, T.Papadopoulos and D. Christofias. It is upholding the same principled positions today as well.
Is AKEL’s consistency and dedication to principled positions perhaps the reason why foreign forces and factors consider it a considerable force to be reckoned with regards the achievement of a solution?
AK: It is precisely this continuity and consistency with regards our positions on the Cyprus problem which distinguishes and sets us apart. This is the reason why even the US itself says that we are a credible force with which when conducting discussions with you know exactly where we stand and what our positions are. I must say to you that during our contacts in the European Parliament the same opinion was expressed as well about AKEL’s position. They may disagree with us on many issues, but when they discuss with us they know what our positions are. We do not change our positions and policies depending on who we are talking to and who our audience is.
In recent statements you accused the Turkish Cypriot side that it is responsible for the difficulty in the issuing of a joint communique for the resumption of the talks. Is there perhaps any expediency in this agreement being kept secret and does this also have to do with the elections inside the governing Democratic Party DIKO?
AK: Let me say according to the official briefing we have had so far there are serious issues that are still pending. Some of our interlocutors in the US expressed the opinion or assessment that there has been a conclusion in the efforts to issue a joint communique. I anticipate that we shall be briefed officially, either by the President of the Republic or by the Greek Cypriot Negotiator for the Cyprus problem Mr. Mavrogiannis so I can state our position.
With regards the question of expediencies I will just say the following: We had disagreed with the tactics of the President believing that the framework for the resumption of the negotiations existed based on the two 2008 Christofias-Talat joint communiques, which talked about a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship.
We had warned Mr.Anastasiades that his attempt to re-examine this discussion would feed the appetite of the Turkish side to introduce new provisions in the joint communique. I regret to say that subsequent developments have vindicated our assessments. However, as developments have evolved, we concluded that the Turkish side refrained from stating a clear position on these issues, which for us are non-negotiable. That’s why we support at this moment the President of the Republic in his efforts for an unequivocal reference to be made to a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship in the joint communique. At the same time, we must ensure that provisions are not introduced into the joint communique that will presuppose the negotiations that will follow.