President Anastasiades has become the subject of criticism after using racist discourse during his speech in Disy’s party congress on Saturday.
Responding to a BBC article examining racism against migrant women in Cyprus, the President said: “The BBC is saying that we are racist because of what is heard and said. Because a psychopath committed a series of crimes. I have expressed my regret, I have expressed my apology, we dared to apologise regardless of the fact that the victims were foreigners.”
Social media users noted that the President saying that the government apologised, “regardless of the fact that the victims were foreigners” is racist discourse.
Is this for real?? How utterly despicable!!!
— Sweet Little Sins (@SweetLittleSins) May 4, 2019
Presidential candidate in 2013 and 2018, Stavros Malas hinted that the President’s statement was a Freudian slip.
ΠτΔ σήμερα: “Έχω εκφράσει την λύπη μου, έχω εκφράσει την αίτηση συγνώμης, εμείς τολμήσαμε και ζητήσαμε συγνώμη, ΑΝΕΞΑΡΤΗΤΑ αν τα θύματα ήταν αλλοδαπές”.
Γλώσσα λανθάνουσα τα αληθή λέγει.. 🇪🇺
— Stavros Malas (@StavrosMalasCY) May 4, 2019
The President went on to say that Akel did not apologise for the lives that were lost in the Mari disaster in 2011. “Some people didn’t want to and haven’t even apologised yet to the 13 heroes, literally led to death, by their actions and omissions. And these are the people judging us.”
He also argued that the left-wing party is undermining the peace negotiations by launching attacks against him and saying that it was the Greek Cypriot side’s stance, not that of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots that led to the collapse of the Crans Montana talks.
“It could benefit the election campaign, they think they will win some Turkish Cypriot votes,” he added.
“If the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey are so compromising, why didn’t they (Akel) solve the Cyprus problem when they were in government for five years and were negotiating for four years with the progressive – and I mean it when I say it – Turkish Cypriot Mr. Talat?” the President said.
Talking about the early repayment of a loan that the Akel government acquired from Russia in 2012, the President said that his party recognises the positive impact it had on the economy. “We do not deny that good relations, good friendships, good international contacts with countries, including Russia, played an important role in the survival of the Republic,” he said.
He went on to emphasise his administration’s role in improving the economy. “We lowered unemployment from 17% to 7%, everyone in Europe is talking positively about the country’s progress in the past six years. However, the only ones who do not hear and listen and the only thing they know to do is to nullify, are Akel,” he said.