Cyprus talks hang in the balance
Akinci refuses to attend meeting after Nicosia decides to honor ‘enosis’ referendum
The United Nations-backedpeace talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus are up in the air after Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s decision not to attend today’s scheduled weekly meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades over the recent decision by Greek Cypriots to pay tribute to a 1950s referendum demanding “enosis,” or union, with Greece.
Turkish Cypriots have demand- ed that Greek Cypriots withdraw the parliamentary decision stipulating that schools should commemorate the 1950 referendum.
Although the call for union was dropped more than 40 years ago, Turkish Cypriots say the timing of the decision was inappropriate and disrespectful to their community, while a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the Greek Cypri- ots to take back the decision saying the ball was in their court now to get the talks restarted.
Anastasiades acknowledged the timing of the action was wrong, but insisted that Turkish Cypriots were overreacting, and that he is ready to pick up talks where they left off.
The legislation was introduced earlier this month by the far-right ELAM party, which has strong ties to Golden Dawn. Ruling DISY abstained from the vote while the main opposition party, communist AKEL, voted against.
The talks between both sides began more than 18 months ago with the aim of reuniting the island under a federal umbrella.
Only Greek Cypriots took part in the 1950 referendum and voted overwhelmingly for union with Greece (more than 95 percent).