Turkish Cypriot flag an environmental hazard?

TRNC flag on five finger mountains

The GC government have complained to Ollie Rehn, the EU’s outgoing enlargement commissioner. The focus of their complaint is the huge TRNC flag on Five Finger Mountain facing south towards the GCs. They have always seen the flag as a two fingered salute, rubbing salt into their wounds by daily reminding them of the republic founded in the north in 1985.

Ollie Rehn dismissed their complaint on the grounds that it was provocative so the GCs changed the complaint to that of pollution. Apparently the chemicals used to colour the flag were contaminating the environment plus the electricity used to illuminate it at night was wasteful.

The truth is that this complaint was not made because the property issue was beginning to fizzle out, it was in fact made by Greek Cypriot Euro MP Antigoni Papadopoulou in a formal question to the commission, dated 22nd October 2009. What the reasoning was behind Ollie Rehn’s decision to publicise the question now is anybody’s guess.

Again, these trivial issues seem to be diverting attention from efforts to bring peace to Cyprus and again all the discussions will be about the pros and cons of having such a flag. No one seems to know better than politicians about how to focus on trivia in order to derail peace talks.

Turkish newspapers have expressed their indignation that Ollie Rehn, the man responsible for Turkey’s entry into the EU, should have passed on the complaint. All that this commentator can say is, it’s a flag, get used to it, or if you really want to get rid of it then settle the Cyprus Problem. Doubtlessly others, usually over 50, will find this flag an excuse to get excited about deeply held ancient prejudices.

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