Intercommunal Relations 40 Years Later
As Cyprus' leaders meet face-to-face to discuss economic issues today, 40 years earlier on 14th December 1969, the first president of the Cyprus Republic Archbishop Makarios gave an interview to Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung.
Answering journalist Roland Oertel's question about whether there should be a time limit to the ongoing intercommunal talks, Makarios said "I do not think there should be a time limit for the talks. Their prolongation may perhaps create the impression that the talks are carried on for the sake of talking and that no practical results should be expected from such talks."
Commenting on the activities of the National Front, or Ethniko Metopo, Makarios said that 'in my policy, terrorist groups like the so-called "National Front" or other organisations of a similar nature, are not a factor to be taken into account, although it can be said that the National Front's activities are not purely political. Personal are rather the motives that led to the creation of armed cliques. The "National Front" cannot compare either with the FLN or with the OAS of Algiers and it is disapproved by the whole people of Cyprus.'
The journalist asked whether Makarios had any way to eliminate the fears expressed by the Turkish-Cypriot community that they may 'become an inferior class within an integrated state'. He answered: "the Turkish Cypriots are putting forward reasons of safety for their insistance (sic) to have their own separate administration. In my view their fears for physical security are not genuine, they are rather arguments and pretexts. May be they have a sort of inferiority complex and they think that in an integrated state they will become second class citizens. I do not know what really can be done so their fears will be overcomed (sic). I believe, however, that only in cooperation with the Greeks it is possible for the Turkish community of Cyprus to advance in every respect.'
The journalist asked Makarios whether he thought that the super powers were satisfied with the present status. In response, Makarios said: "Turkey has shown great diplomatic activity on an international scale in its endeavour to win over as many supporters of its own point of view on the solution of the Cyprus problem. I think that they did not succeed in this because there are no strong arguments to support their views on the matter. As to whether our problem still presents world interest, I would say that it continues to draw international attention; but, as it is natural, problems like that of Vietnam or the Middle East crises, the continuance of which causes every day the loss of many lives, take precedence in international interest. I do not think that the so-called super powers are satisfied with the present status of Cyprus; but even if they had any proposals for a solution, they most probably would be motivated by their conflicting interests.
Interview Text Source: Press and Information Office