President Nicos Anastasiades plans to call Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in the coming days, he told an interview with Euronews following his re-election on Sunday.
The interview revolved largely around the Cyprus issue, as recent developments spell a difficult road ahead for Cyprus reunification efforts.
Anastasiades responded to Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement on Sunday that Greek Cypriots need to “change their mentality” if they want negotiations on the Cyprus issue to resume under UN auspices.
The president dismissed changing the basis for negotiations as set by the UN Secretary-General. “Based on Mr Cavusoglu’s statements, there is no clear prospect” in sight, he said.
Talking to Akinci, would determine whether there was room for “productive dialogue,” said Anastasiades, who intends to contact Akinci “in a few days,” after the National Council convenes.
Anastasiades accused the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot negotiating sides of not budging on their initial positions, and of not responding to the Greek Cypriot side’s proposals during talks at Crans-Montana last summer. Their refusal to compromise on the issue of Turkey’s right to intervene and on the presence of Turkish troops on the island led to “the worst” of “many [such] regressions” from progress achieved, he said, referencing recent news that the Turkish Cypriot side had withdrawn a territorial map submitted to the UN during reunification talks. Anastasiades blamed Ankara’s pressure on Turkish Cypriot leadership for these backtrackings.
Echoing Cavusoglu’s statement on Sunday, Akinci called on Anastasiades to “follow a more realistic and constructive policy” with regards to the Cyprus issue as he congratulated the president on his re-election on Monday. Akinci has also confirmed, following Ozdil Nami’s resignation, that he will not appoint a new negotiator, spelling difficulty in restarting talks.
In spite of these developments, the president reiterated his commitment to dialogue, though he stressed that he will remain firm on his position on guarantees, rejecting any scenario that would compromise Cyprus’ “independence”. “The current, unacceptable situation is due to the presence of the Turkish army [on the island],” he said.
Anastasiades also stressed the benefits that a solution to the Cyprus problem would spell for Turkey, which would gain a close partner in the EU.