By Stefanos Evripidou
SOLVING the Cyprus problem is a test for the EU and Turkey to see whether they can work together to solve global crises, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said in a speech in Warsaw.
Arinc was quoted yesterday by Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris as saying the EU and Turkey could work together to produce permanent solutions to global crises, adding that the Cyprus issue is one of these global tests.
He went on to suggest that the EU rewarded the Greek Cypriots’ negative stance in the 2004 Annan plan referendum by letting Cyprus join the EU, and use its membership to block Turkey’s accession negotiations.
Cyprus is not only a political problem, but for Turkey and the EU it is also an issue that should be solved urgently due to their energy policies, said Arinc.
Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, who is due to discuss the Cyprus problem with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul today, also commented on the peace process.
“The Greek Cypriots condemned us to live without a country for 11 years.
Fortunately, after the peace operation of 1974 we have a state. Certainly, we continue negotiations with the thought of a solution,” he said, adding that negotiations have been ongoing since 1968.
He accused the Greek Cypriot side of not wanting a solution, making agreement impossible.
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots showed they wanted a solution by accepting the Annan plan ten years ago. “The Greek Cypriots are still sitting at the negotiating table with their ‘no’,” said Eroglu who also campaigned against the Annan plan ten years ago.
Turkish Cypriot politician Ferdi Sabit Soyer of the Republican Turkish Party, was quoted by Kibris Postasi yesterday as saying that it appeared the peace talks have reached an impasse once again.
The Greek Cypriots are saying the concessions they give in the peace talks will depend on the territory the Turkish Cypriots are willing to concede, while the Turkish Cypriot side argues that the territory they will give depends on the concessions Greek Cypriots make.
The latest meeting between the two leaders last Monday appeared to reach a snag over the issue. President Nicos Anastasiades reportedly wants to see Eroglu’s positions on all chapters put on the table before the two sides can enter into a give-and-take, including on the key issue of territory that will make up the boundaries of a future Greek Cypriot constituent state.
This in turn will determine how many displaced persons can return under Greek Cypriot administration, and thereby impact upon negotiations regarding property and the right to return.
Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay has said he is ready to discuss the issue of a future map of Cyprus and the property issue if the Greek Cypriots agree to a road map that leads to a referendum.
In statements to Kibris Postasi, Ozersay argued: “If we see that we are heading towards a solution, we will discuss the map as well. Discussing the map in an environment in which everything leaks to the Greek Cypriot press, even the jokes said in the negotiations, the coffees we drink and the cigarettes we smoke, will cause a freeze on life in the north.”
Meanwhile, the leaders of two biggest parties on the island, AKEL and DISY, yesterday met to discuss a wide range of issues.
Speaking after the meeting, AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said his party does not agree with the “contradictory” handling of the Cyprus problem by the government “which allows Mr Eroglu to play his communications games unhindered”.
However, a solution remains a priority for the opposition party, he said, adding: “We are ready to support every action aimed in the right direction of the liberation and reunification of our country.”
For his part, DISY leader Averof Neophytou welcomed “the responsible stance” of AKEL on the Cyprus problem, despite certain differences over tactics followed in the peace process.
AKEL and minority government partner EVROKO are the only parties giving the president support in the peace talks.
The remaining parties, EDEK, DIKO, Greens and Citizens’ Alliance, have been vocally critical of Anastasiades’ efforts, and the agreement with Eroglu last February on a joint declaration, outlining the main tenets of a solution.
DIKO spokeswoman Christiana Erotocritou yesterday complained that the cross meetings of the negotiators to Ankara and Athens has opened the floodgates, with Ozersay going to the US, Brussels, Paris and now London on Monday on the invite of the UK Foreign Office.
“From the moment Athens opened its door to the Turkish Cypriot negotiator, the doors of the whole world opened to the pseudostate.”
She called on the president to examine ways to break free from the joint declaration at the next national council meeting.