The Greek Cypriot side on Thursday accused Mustafa Akinci of trying to interfere in the presidential elections and said the negotiations process had effectively been violated when the UN gave the Turkish Cypriot leader back a territorial map submitted in January 2017.
It only emerged on Thursday that the Turkish Cypriot side had withdrawn the map submitted during reunification talks in January 2017 as part of discussions on the chapter of territory.
A spokesman for Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said the move was prompted by the Greek Cypriot side’s announcement that it was withdrawing all its proposals after the collapse of the talks last summer.
The government questioned the timing of the announcement when it was known to everyone since July 2017 that Anastasiades had withdrawn his proposals.
“Let everyone consider what Mr. Akinci is trying to do with this action just a few days before the presidential elections,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said. It is an “obvious attempt to interfere.”
Christodoulides said the Turkish Cypriot move was a clear message to the international community and the UN Secretary-General regarding which side did not want the resumption of the talks.
“This is what we’ve been saying for so long and it is confirmed by Mr. Akinci’s action,” he said.
He added that the government will be contacting the UN to talk about the matter but it would not be dragged into doing anything in haste just because it was the eve of the elections or because it was being criticised.
Baris Burcu said the map had been returned to Akinci in December and it meant that there was no proposal on territory on the table right now.
In tweet later in the day, he mocked the suggestion that Akinci was interfering in the elections. “Who the Greek Cypriot leader is going to be is an internal matter for the Greek Cypriot community. It is unthinkable for our President Mustafa Akinci to be included in this issue,” he said.
Hailed as a milestone in talks to resolve the island’s division, the two sides had submitted maps for the first time in the history of the negotiations.
The maps showed the area of territory for the Turkish Cypriot constituent state ranging between 28.2 per cent (on the Greek Cypriot map) and 29.2 per cent (on the Turkish Cypriot map).
They had been stored in a safe at the UN headquarters in Geneva.
UN Spokesman Aleem Siddique confirmed the news, adding that they had informed the Greek Cypriot side when it happened.
“Upon the request of Mr Akinci, the UN has returned the map that he tabled on January 11 2017 in Geneva,” he said, adding that “the Deputy Special Adviser of the UNSG in Cyprus Mrs Spehar has informed the Greek Cypriot side of this development.”
However, the Greek Cypriot side’s chief negotiator in the talks, Andreas Mavroyiannis told the Cyprus News Agency that the Greek Cypriot side was not informed by the United Nations. Mavroyiannis said: “We learned it today after the statements which Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu made”.
Mavroyiannis said the Greek Cypriot side was informed at the beginning of December that Akinci had requested that the map was returned and had discussed the issue with the UN, but it had been made cleat the Greek Cypriot side would not give its consent, he added.
“The UN did not inform us that they would return the map before doing so,” said Mavroyiannis. Neither did the UN inform the Greek Cypriot side that they had actually handed back the map.
He said that once the Greek Cypriot side had been informed of Akinci’s initial request, “we told the UN that this would violate the process, is against the process, and that we would not give our consent. But the UN never informed us that they returned the map,” he said.