March 3, 2011
Cyprus: U.S. To Dominate All Europe, Mediterranean Through NATO
On February 24 a majority in the Cyprus parliament voted for the country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Partnership for Peace program, a transitional mechanism employed to bring twelve Eastern European nations into the U.S.-dominated military bloc from 1999-2009: The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania and Croatia. Macedonia would have become a full member of the Alliance in 2009 along with the last two except for the lingering name dispute with Greece.
Cyprus is the only member of the 27-nation European Union that is not either in NATO or the Partnership for Peace (PfP), the only EU member that did not need to join NATO or be on its doorstep in order to be accepted, and the only European nation (excluding the microstates of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City) that is free of NATO entanglements. Every other nation on the continent and island state in the Mediterranean Sea is a member of NATO or the PfP. (NATO still lists Russia as a member of the second and since last November's NATO summit in Portugal it has been active again in the NATO-Russia Council.)
The vote broke down along party lines, with all 32 opposition parties' members voting supporting the resolution and all 17 members of the ruling party, the left-wing Progressive Party of [the] Working People (AKEL), voting against it. Deputies from the right-wing Democratic Rally (DISY) - whose initiative it was - the centrist Democratic Party (DIKO) and European Party (EVROKO), the liberal United Democrats (EDI) and the Movement of Social Democrats (EDEK) closed ranks against the government of AKEL President Demetris Christofias in a move to, in the words of a Cypriot newspaper, "force the administration to apply for membership in Partnership for Peace." 
Ahead of the vote, which AKEL members of parliament succeeded in postponing for a week, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou stated, "Exercising foreign policy and taking foreign policy decisions is a safeguarded constitutional right of the executive." 
Cyprus was split into northern ethnic Turkish and southern Greek sections after the Turkish military invasion of 1974, although only Turkey recognizes the northern entity. The Republic of Cyprus has a population of 800,000 and a unicameral parliament, the House of Representatives, and as there is no prime minister President Christofias is both head of state and head of government.
The administration accused DISY and its allies of violating the principle of the separation of powers in attempting to override the president's prerogative to make foreign policy decisions, with the country's ruling party denouncing the move as "unprecedented political blackmail."
AKEL Central Committee member Aristos Damianou "said there is clear evidence of NATO's involvement in the division of Cyprus and wondered why EDEK [ADEL's coalition partner from 2008 until February of 2010], which chairs the committee on the Cyprus File - as the investigation into the 1974 coup and subsequent invasion is called - sides with DISY on the matter." 
Damianou also leveled the charge that representatives of the opposition parties (the one Green Party member of parliament abstained on February 24) conspired behind the backs of their AKEL colleagues to introduce the motion.
When the proposal to join the NATO partnership program was passed in the legislature President Christofias announced he would veto the decision, and government spokesman Stefanou issued a written statement maintaining "that membership of the program is not in line with President Dimitris Christofias' vow to achieve a peace deal with breakaway Turkish Cypriots that would demilitarize the island." 
The day of the vote supporters of the Cyprus Peace Council, including minority Turkish, Armenian and Maronite Cypriots, and all 17 AKEL representatives demonstrated outside the parliament building with banners reading "No to the Partnership for Peace" and "No Cyprus in NATO, or NATO in Cyprus." Former mayor of Famagusta (now in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus where NATO member Turkey maintains 30,000 troops) Yiannakis Skordis demanded Cyprus abjure any association with the "murderous organisation, at the hands of which Cyprus has suffered and continues to suffer." 
The protesters delivered a petition for House President Marios Garoyian (of DIKO) which castigated the drive to drag Cyprus into "warmongering NATO" as an act of "treachery."
It added: "We demand an immediate end to efforts to join the military camp of those who are responsible for the Cypriot tragedy. We demand respect for the deceased of the coup and the invasion; respect to the revolutionaries, respect to everything the refugees and enclaved have suffered; respect to our missing persons." 
The local press at the time reported that the president would "take the decision to the supreme court as he believes Parliament's decision violates the Constitution." 
The parliamentary action of last month is the culmination of several years of a concerted campaign by DISY, NATO and the EU to incorporate the last truly neutral European nation into the Pentagon-NATO global military nexus.
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