Anas­tasi­ades blames Turkey for talks im­passe

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Cyprus Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades has blamed Turkey for an im­passe in talks to re­unify the Mediter­ranean is­land which were in­ter­rupted last month in a row over a de­ci­sion by Greek-Cypriot MPs to honor the 1950 “eno­sis” ref­er­en­dum seek­ing union with Greece.

“The in­flu­ence ex­er­cised by Ankara, either via the pres­ence of the army or via the eco­nomic de­pen­dence of Turkish Cypri­ots, has cre­ated a sit­u­a­tion which, I have to say, is dis­ap­point­ing,” Anas­tasi­ades said in an in­ter­view with Kathimerini’s ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor Alexis Papachelas on Skai TV’s “Is­to­ries” (Sto­ries) pro­gram late yes­ter­day, while also ex­press­ing his dis­ap­point­ment with the re­ac­tion of Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci.

Asked about the re­cent spate of Turkish provo­ca­tions, Anas­tasi­ades said he would have to be “di­vorced from re­al­ity” to re­main un­con­cerned with the sit­u­a­tion, adding that sim­i­lar in­ci­dents are to be ex­pected in the re­gion as long as the Cyprus is­sue re­mains un­re­solved.

“I hope this is just a bid to strengthen or gal­va­nize Turkey’s do­mes­tic front so that [Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip] Er­do­gan can achieve his ob­jec­tives,” Anas­tasi­ades said.

The Turkish pres­i­dent hopes to ex­pand his ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers in a ref­er­en­dum set to take place on April 16.

Com­ment­ing on the stalled re­uni­fi­ca­tion talks, Anas­tasi­ades said that the Cyprus Par­lia­ment’s de­ci­sion to com­mem­o­rate the plebiscite date in schools was a “mis­take,” adding how­ever that Turkish Cypri­ots had used the ges­ture as a pre­text to pull out of the talks.

Although Cyprus’s left-wing main op­po­si­tion party voted against the mo­tion sub­mit­ted by a small far-right party, an ab­sten­tion by Anas­tasi­ades’s con­ser­va­tive party meant it got through.

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