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Cyprus Internet Directory [ MARIOS MATSAKIS - INTERVIEW ]

MARIOS MATSAKIS - INTERVIEW

Marios Matsakis, one of nine presidential hopefuls running in next month’s elections, believes that a political settlement in Cyprus is imperative as soon as possible and proposes “division, a painful compromise but a necessary option”, which will bring together the two states to be under the European Union umbrella.

In an interview with CNA, Matsakis appears a strong advocate of Turkey’s accession to the EU, saying that this will create a “win-win” situation for everybody concerned and serve everybody’s interests. He appears convinced that Cyprus is not in a position to block Ankara’s accession course.

He maintains that his candidacy aims at “rocking the boat of the political establishment where parties have the upper hand in whatever happens” and at “dismissing the myth about bizonal bicommunal federation by providing an alternative solution that may not be what people want but it is feasible and could offer peace.”

Matsakis is all but convinced that the share of the vote he garners will determine who the new President of the Republic will be, in that the two candidates who will be in the run off election will need these votes to tip the balance in their favour.

The Euro MP is very critical of the political parties in Cyprus, saying ``they are economical with the truth``. He also believes that the parties want to maintain the current status quo in the political establishment. However, he hopes his candidacy, by offering an alternative voice, will “crack” this establishment and give the Cypriots what he calls “a breath of freedom”.

Cyprus question
---------------
Outlining his proposed solution, he says this would involve two independent separate states, united within the EU, without any outside borders, administering their own territory, with a common foreign policy and economy – that of the EU - disconnected from the two motherlands (Greece and Turkey).

The right of the refugees to return to their property will be afforded to everybody, and those who will not be able to return, they will be compensated through expropriation of their property by the state the property lies in, through EU funding. Greek Cypriots will have no voting rights if they opt to live in the Turkish Cypriot state and vice versa, he said.

Questioned on the restrictions on voting rights, he acknowledged that this is the case but pointed out that “if we want a solution, we have to make concessions, compromises; this is the outcome of the military coup in July 1974, we are paying for our defeat and are trying to save whatever we can.”

He says that all Cypriots will enjoy the right to property, settlement and free movement and Famagusta and Morphou, now under Turkish occupation, will belong to the Greek Cypriot state. Turkish illegal settlers in occupied Cyprus will become the responsibility of the EU who will be either compensated or be settled elsewhere.

“This is a necessary solution, a solution providing division, painful but not as painful as the UN solution plan of 2004 or a bizonal bicommunal federation, which is neither functional nor viable,” he told CNA.

Matsakis wants both states to join NATO, and military installations on the island to be used by the Alliance, they will not have the right to enter into agreements with either Turkey or Greece.

He said his proposal has received “informal but positive reaction”, and warned that if things are left as they are, Cyprus will be divided in the worst possible method.

“Given that we were defeated in 1974, that we are not going to find an ideal solution, I am proposing that the Turkish Cypriots control 20% of the country and the Greek Cypriots 80%``.

He says the current situation will lead inevitably to de facto division whereby Ankara will control the Turkish Cypriots and the northern part of the country but it will also have a say in the rest of the country.

Responding to questions, he said political parties are “deceiving” the electorate by not explaining what a bizonal bicommunal federation actually means.

Asked if such a proposal could be acceptable by the international community and Turkey, he had this to say: “this is a compromise but everybody can win through such a solution. Turkey will get rid of the biggest obstacle in its European aspirations, its accession course will sail through, Greco-Turkish relations will improve, the Turkish occupation troops will withdraw, the Turkish military will cease to claim that Cyprus is a threat to its security, Cyprus will join NATO.”

European Union
--------------
Asked how Turkey’s membership bid could have an impact on solution efforts, the Euro MP said that everybody agrees that Turkey’s accession must be supported, including the government of Cyprus because a democratic Turkey is far better a neighbour than a non democratic and hostile Turkey.

Commenting on Ankara’s failure to comply with its EU obligations and the possibility of a veto exercised by Greece and Cyprus, he said that “Europe is willing to do away with all sorts of things, make concessions to Turkey, it has never really make a serious recommendation because it needs Turkey and any appeals lack severity and content.”

As for a veto from Cyprus or Greece, he was adamant that there is and there will be no Cypriot with “the guts to stand up at a Council meeting and block Turkey’s accession course or block anything for that matter.”

On Greece’s role on such issues, he believes that Greece puts Greece first and will continue to put do that.

Elections
---------
Explaining the reasons he is contesting the elections, he said he wants to feel comfortable with his conscience that he has done all he could for a solution and to “unravel the myth of bizonal bicommunal federation, to crack the party political establishment and free the Cypriots.”

On prospects for alliances in the second round of the elections, he said “my candidacy will probably determine who will be elected president and any vote, I get is not a wasted vote.”

Matsakis referred to a possible 2-3 per cent of the vote, adding that “those who will be in the run off election will need this percentage.”

He expressed dismay at the different alliances he has observed over the years between political parties, saying some have aligned their policies with parties of different political affiliation.

Domestic policy
---------------
Questioned on his plans on internal issues, Matsakis said he did not think it appropriate to include in his election campaign programme such issues, because “I do not want to give promises to the electorate, as others do.”

Elections take place on February 17 to elect the next President of the Republic for a five-year term. A second round of voting is set to take place the following Sunday, February 24.





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