Cyprus Presidential Campaigning 2013, Revelatory Docs from WikiLeaks

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First Published at WLPress here: http://wikileaks-press.org/topic/cyprus-presidential-campaigning-2013-revelatory-docs-from-wikileaks/

The Republic of Cyprus has just had its Presidential Election in February 2013. As part of the Elections Campaign in December 2012, a group called ‘Initiative from young people for our future‘ brought to light aspects of Presidential Candidate Mr Anastasiades’  political thinking and manoeuvring  previously  untapped on. They did so by publishing an open letter to the electorate, analysing the Downer Documents in conjunction with the US Embassy Cables as released by WikiLeaks in 2011.

The initiative was a political one that sought to influence electoral decision making in the Cyprus Presidential Election 2013. The original documents in English, a partial translation of excerpts, and the group’s political analysis were all presented in a post at Mr Lillikas Presidential Campaign Website (see sources below) . Mr Lillikas run as an Independent Presidential Candidate and obtained 25% of the vote coming third in the elections. Mr Anastasiades won the election and is the new President of Cyprus.

To understand the significance of this initiative as well as to evaluate what it reveals one should understand what was the Annan Plan was. The island of Cyprus is divided into two parts after a 1974 invasion and occupation by Turkey. Wikipedia explains:

The Annan Plan was a United Nations proposal to resolve the Cyprus dispute. The proposal suggested to restructure the Republic of Cyprus as a “United Republic of Cyprus”, which would be a federation of two states. It was revised a number of times before being put to the people of Cyprus in a referendum.

Also importantly, the results of the Referendum are highlighted as follows:

The separate simultaneous referenda held in Cyprus on 24 April 2004 resulted in the majority Greek Cypriot population voting down the UN Plan (75.38% against), whereas the minority Turkish Cypriot population voted for the Plan (64.91% in favour). The turn-out was high: 89.18% for the Greek Cypriots and 87% for the Turkish Cypriots.

The political leaders of both sides (Tassos Papadopoulos and Rauf Denktaş) had campaigned for a ‘no’ vote, but Talat had campaigned for a ‘yes’ vote, strongly supported by Turkey.

In exit polls 75% of the Greek Cypriots who voted ‘No’ cited ‘security concerns’ as the main reason for their choice. Turkey had not only once again been given the right of unilateral military intervention, but would be allowed to keep a large number of troops in Cyprus after a settlement, whereas the [Greek]* National Guard was to be dissolved.

An academic study [from Secret Diplomacy to Public Diplomacy by Alexandros Lordos]* of the electorate’s response to the Annan Plan states that it was doomed to rejection at the polls, because it was developed through an “ill-designed process of secret diplomacy” which disregarded the views of the Cypriot public. The study recommends that future efforts should incorporate consultation with the public into the negotiation process.

*parenthesis added by me

Therefore any revelations that Mr Anastassiades  privately supported the Annan Plan and planned to re-introduce it despite the overwhelming rejection of the plan by Greek Cypriots could have had significant effects both in his popularity as well as his ability to pursue such course in the future. Mr Lillikas’ presidential campaign political advertisement video   ‘Who do you trust to answer that call?” (English & Greek) also implied that a New Annan Plan is on the cards. Interestingly it was censored on the basis of negative advertising.

Here is the Open Letter to the Cyprus electorate in translation:

‘Revelatory documents from Wikileaks Youth Initiative for our Future’, published on 21/12/2013.

As young people with concerns we have learned to look for the truth without compromises. We need to convey to people what we find disturbing after a thorough study of Mr Downer’s  documents that were leaked as well as what  has been published on the website Wikileaks.

The documents that we reveal intact to you today – as the fourth power – aim to empower your role as citizens with objective and complete information. We want to make known what has been agreed behind closed doors for the people, without the people, and bring forward  the falsities been said to the people.The documents cover the period up to 2009, and shoot down, in the most unequivocal manner, Mr. Anastasiadis claim  that the Annan Plan is condemned to the past. The documents speak for themselves. We reserve judgement whether the documents truthfully represent the facts described in them. Still, on face value as sources the documents reveal that The Anan Plan remains the true and only political base for a solution to the Cyprus problem, amongst politicians and negotiators irrespective of where the discussions take place in Cyprus or even in Turkey .

For example:
– Document 06NICOSIA766. dated 23.5.06, paragraph 6 :

Neophytou pointed out that his party had suffered dearly for its “Yes” vote in the Annan Plan referendum. […] For this reason, he noted, his party “cannot publicly support the Annan Plan.” Although he is willing to acknowledge privately that the Plan remained the only viable basis for reunification,[1]

– Document dated 16.1.2009 written by Mr. Steven Brouke the Department of Political Affairs and Good Offices of the United Nations after meeting with Downer Anastasiadis:

Paragraph 7. “According to Mr. Anastasiadis, had agreement been reached over the use of the Annan Plan as a basis of the current negotiations, the process could have moved more quickly.”

Supporting the above is the reference fire during the meeting Gul in Turkey-Anastasiadis document 05ANKARA799 day. 11.2.2005 that:

Anastassiades raised changes to the Annan Plan that could help DISY gain more support for it among Greek Cypriots [2]

Disli said Anastassiades told Gul that if there were “certain changes” to the Annan Plan, DISY would again push the Plan with the Greek Cypriot public.[2]

(Note the quotation marks on the original document denoting that the changes would be decorative and not in real essence as shown also by the leaked Downer documents  quoted immediately below!)

– Letter dated 13.4.2009 Mr. Steve Bourke Report on Meeting Anastasiadis – Downer:

Paragraph 3 Anastassiades suggested [..]  The next project to be presented must look better than the last. Downer stated that it would look different, architecturally and numerically.
Paragraph 4.  The media, he (Downer) opined, appeared to be anti-solution. A solution will have to be paid for, he suggested, and the cost of failure needed to be more of a focus. There is not enough focus on what happens in the event of a failure. Paragraph 5 Anastassiades agreed.

– Document 08NICOSIA273 date: 30.4.2008.

Paragraph [correction 8 &] 9. The U.S. Ambassador said the following after his meeting with Mr Anastasiadis: Anastassiades actually favored retabling the Annan Plan and aiming for changes designed to assuage G/C concerns[…] [3]

[…]should Anastassiades mention it publicly — or even privately, only to see it later leaked — the subsequent condemnation might marginalize the talented politician at a crucial time. We think he is better served by lobbying for inclusion of Annan elements, but not the Plan and its terminology, into the negotiators’ in-baskets.[3]

– Document dated 26.1.2009 09NICOSIA47:

The continued demonization of the Annan Plan, […] had closed off useful avenues of negotiation, Anastassiades asserted.[4]

The documents also reveal with certainty the historical alliance between DISY and AKEL as shown in the following among others:

– Document dated 3.5.2009 09NICOSIA317:

Paragraph 5. entitled «lets find a way to join forces» say let’s find a way to join forces,Anastassiades said that his party still wanted to make common cause with the pro-solution AKEL in order to build the public momentum necessary to achieve a “yes” vote in a future referendum.[5]

– Document dated 7.2.08 08NICOSIA91

Paragraph 4. Anastassiades welcomed an informal tie-up between ideologically-dissimilar DISY and AKEL since, in his opinion, such an arrangement would ensure that any CyProb solution that Greek Cypriot negotiators secured would enjoy broad-based political support in Parliament. “AKEL probably doesn’t have the courage to dance, however,” he charged.[6]

Finally, the documents reveal Anastasiades’ opinion for the late & esteemed  Tassos Papadopoulos.

– Document code 07NICOSIA839 dated 18.10.2007:

1st Paragraph. Anastassiades […] Cyprus dire[c]ly needed new leadership, he argued, as President Tassos Papadopoulos’s “stupid” policies had brought shame and embarrassment on the island […] [7]

Paragraph 7. Papadopoulos was driving the country to disaster but whistling all the way, Anastassiades decried. [7]

See    Excerpts from the documents translated into Greek    The Downer Documents and WikiLeaks Cables in English

These documents relentlessly reveal the only truth, that the game is rigged. Despite Anastasiades’ pre-election statements, the documents prove that Mr. Anastasiades insists on Annan plan type solution with simple beautifications.

We pledge to continue our research and that whenever we judge a document deserves to be in the knowledge society will be publicly available.

We overturn the present, we create the future.

Youth Initiative for our Future,
Simos Angelides, Legal Professional

******************

It is difficult to assess the impact this initiative had on the Presidential elections in Cyprus in February 2013. We have to ask ourselves did the US Embassy Cables helped to shape the mind of the electorate ? At the end of the day these elections where mainly won on the dissatisfaction of the electorate towards the previous President Mr Christofias, to the advantage of his arch rival Mr Anastassiades. His handling of the Mari Crisis (explosion of M/V Monchegorsk cargo) was deeply criticised as well as the economic crisis that brought the Troika into Cyprus to negotiate a Baylout. Economics seem to be the main factor in influencing the electorate’s decision making. Still Mr Lillikas’ comfortable 25 % as an independent, with a novel proposal on surpassing the crisis as well as emphasis on National Sovereignty in Natural Gas exploitation and a clearly anti-Annan Plan stance shows that his alternative campaign did convince a great number of ppl to vote for him. He has legitimised the use of the US Embassy Cables, in open political discourse in Cyprus by embrasing the findings of this youth group. For this alone I believe their impact has been enhanced.

Source: (Greek) Revelatory Documents from WikiLeaks 

[1] 06NICOSIA766  Eur/se Deputy Director Baxter Hunt’s May 8-9 Cyprus Visit  Embassy Nicosia, WL release 1st of Sep 2011

[2] 05ANKARA799  Greek Cypriot Party Leader Anastassiades Meets Turkish Fm Gul, , Embassy Ankara, WL release 1st of Sep 2011

[3] 08NICOSIA273  Opposition Leader Pledges Full Support To Gov.’s Negotiation Efforts, Embassy Nicosia, WL release 1st of Sep 2011

[4] 09NICOSIA47  Cyprus: Opposition Leader Criticizes Christofias, Talat, Embassy Nicosia, WL release 1st of Sep 2011

[5] 09NICOSIA317 Cyprus: G/c Opposition Leader Frustrated With Christofias, Embassy Nicosia, WL release 1st of Sep 2011

[6] 08NICOSIA91 Disy Chief Still Unconvinced Its Candidate Will Advance, Embassy Nicosia, WL release 1st of Sep 2011

[7] 07NICOSIA839 Disy Chief Optimistic But Laments Candidate’s Shortcomings, Embassy Nicosia, WL release 1st of Sep 2011

Other Sources:

Video presentation by Simos Angelides (Greek) Part1 and Part2 and again here

DISI -AKEL  historically sharing the same path (Greek)

Why the election campaigning video was cut from public viewing  (Greek)