President: The problem has always been, and still is, the mentality of the Greek Cypriot leadership
PRESIDENT Mustafa Akıncı has lashed out at the Greek Cypriot side for making a show of negotiating while they really “want to keep the status quo — which is not to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots”.
In an interview on TRT World television, Mr Akıncı said the only peace deal on the table for decades had been a “bizonal, bicommunal federation, on the basis of political equality” — and that failure to achieve a solution on that basis lay not with the parameters themselves.
“The problem has always been, and still is, the mentality of the Greek Cypriot leadership.”
Answering recent comments from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that Mr Akıncı’s insistence on a federal solution “was his own view”, while Ankara’s position involved exploring “alternative” models for a settlement, the president said: “Like too many people, [Mr Çavuşoğlu] is also fed up with the Greek Cypriots’ attitude and is also trying to understand what [their] leader is really seeking.”
Mr Akıncı referred to Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades’s mooting, last month, of seeking a “decentralised” federation, and to the latter having “aired views as if he would be inclined to try to form a two-state solution” during last year’s failed peace summit at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, and commented: “When I met [Mr Anastasiades] in April, I questioned this. He went around the issue without saying anything concrete. So I asked again, ‘is it on the agenda or not? I need to know as your interlocutor.’ He said, ‘No, no it is not on the agenda.’”
Dismissing speculation of a dip in TRNC-Turkish relations, Mr Akıncı said ties between the countries had evolved since the 1960s and ’70s and insisted they were in “complete agreement” over the thorny issue of Greek Cypriot hydrocarbons exploration off the island.
He said they had “been asking our future potential partners, the Greek Cypriots, to form a committee with us” to undertake drilling, adding: “Instead of creating tension, I am asking to create cooperation.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay also spoke out about the issues, telling the TRNC’s Tak news agency that the options facing the two sides in any fresh peace talks — for which temporary envoy Jane Holl Lute is due on the island this month to lay the groundwork — “were obvious”.
“Either there will be a transformation of the Greek Cypriot side to share governance and resources and with this a finite process towards a federation,” he said.
“Or there will be a non-federal model based more on cooperation which also does not require the sharing of governance and natural resources, and that would again not be based on an open-ended process. Negotiating with the mentality shown by the Greek Cypriots will leave us in a vicious circle.”
TRNC President Akıncı speaking on TRT World