The potential collapse of the Cyprus talks is now plainly visible following the erroneous decision House vote on Enosis and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s reaction to it, Akel general-secretary Andros Kyprianou said on Tuesday.
At a news conference in Nicosia, Kyprianou, whose party was the only one to vote against the Elam-tabled proposal to mark a 1950 plebiscite for union with Greece, expressed his concern and that of ordinary Cypriots who were “frustrated and pessimistic”.
“The potential collapse of the talks and deadlock It now apparent,” said Kyprianou, referring to the impasse created by the Enosis vote when Akinci walked away from the talks last month.
“Surely this is not the last chance for solution in Cyprus? There will always be the next day, the next opportunity. But we have to reflect on what will the next day bring and with what conditions will come next opportunity,” he said.
He spoke of possible colonisation as official Turkish policy, existing financial protocols and agreements for water and electricity, all of which were changing the identity and outlook of the Turkish Cypriot community by the day.
“No one should consider that the strength of the progressive portion of the Turkish Cypriot community is limitless,” said Kyprianou.
“Therefore, we should not have illusions. We should not think that we can put aside talks now so you can engage in an undistracted election campaigns and that in March 2018 the next president will find the situation in Cyprus as it is today.”
The Akel leader said many criticise the party’s positions and accuse it of being willing to accept any solution. Kyprianou said Akel would never accept a bad solution but it was naive to believe that without a solution Greek Cypriots would simply continue their lives as they were today. “We live on quicksand that we do not know when it might swallow us,” he said.
Some parties, she said seek to change the strategic goal on Cyprus and leave behind a federal solution for a unitary state, and use the word traitors for those who support the former.
“Who will force Turkey to accept an ideal solution for us?” Kyprianou said. “The easiest thing of all is to say slogans and empty words. But if they do not bring results, we will all pay for their consequences.”
He said Akel has supported the negotiations “not because we owe something to Mr Anastasiades, but because we owe it to the country and our people to support the resolution of the Cyprus problem”.
Unfortunately, he added, for some months it was obvious that the negotiations process was blocked and the reason was that Anastasiades was not ready to discuss the rotating presidency, and Akinci did not want to discuss territory.
“No matter who started this tactic. What is significant is that the process did not proceed and while we were looking for a way to unblock the talks by submitting proposals, along came the decision of the majority of the House,” he added.
On top of that, instead of the two leaders trying to defuse the situation, their daily statements played into the narrative of extreme elements in both communities, Kyprianou said.
“While Cyprus was ‘lost’ between declarations and counter statements, Akinci withdrew from the talks while Mr Anastasiades presented himself as the deus ex machina that will solve the problems in the NHS, Limassol port, the Athalassa psychiatric hospital and elsewhere.”
Even ruling Disy, which abstained from the Enosis vote, allowing it to pass the plenum, began to say Akel was to blame “instead of considering its own responsibility and how it could correct the mistake,” Kyprianou said.
He referred to Disy’s reference to not being Akel nor Elam. “Certainly Akel is not Disy but Disy has supporters among Elam,” said Kyprianou.
Now, he said it was imperative for the two leaders to rise to the occasion and not do favours for the forces of nationalism.
“We strongly believe that the crisis created can be overcome and negotiations can be restarted if this is pursued unwaveringly because what interests us is the next generation and not the next elections,” he said.
He suggested the focus be put back on track with discussions on key issues under the chapter of governance and the executive.
“If you address these key issues, we will get to the major issues of security and guarantees. We have no illusions about the difficulty of this chapter. But any solution of all other key issues will make it easier to deal with,” he said, adding however that the safety of a community cannot be guaranteed at the expense of the other.
Kyprianou said it was being written by some that their working to solve the Cyprus issue was dangerous but he said: “It’s not we who strive to reunite our country that are dangerous. Dangerous are those whose policies, if applied will lead Cyprus to a standstill… a dangerous setback that will allow Turkey to promote its objectives.”