By Stefanos Evripidou
President Nicos Anastasiades does not need lessons from Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on how to solve the Cyprus problem, said government spokesman Christos Stylianides yesterday.
The statement was made after Erdogan told reporters progress can be made in the peace talks if Anastasiades breaks free from the Church and extremists.
According to Turkish daily Sabah yesterday, speaking to reporters on his way back to Turkey from Brussels, Erdogan said 2014 could be a milestone in EU-Turkey relations. With new governments in France and Germany, the terms in office of the heads of the European Commission and Council coming to an end, and the prospect of opening new negotiating chapters, this year could prove different from previous ones, he said.
Asked if a Cyprus deal was also on the cards this year, Erdogan said this depends on Anastasiades.
“He is under pressure from the Church and extremists. If he manages to get through them, progress can be made,” said Erdogan.
The Turkish PM said Ankara was trying to ensure the Turkish Cypriots adopted a constructive approach in the peace talks, adding, “We will try to reach a result as soon as possible”.
Responding to the reported statements, Stylianides said yesterday: “We hope Mr Erdogan realises that such supercilious remarks do not create the right climate for the resumption of a substantive dialogue. President Anastasiades does not need lessons of prudence or political will for the solution of the Cyprus problem.”
Anastasiades has proven throughout his political career that he is a consistent defender of the common interests of Greek and Turkish Cypriots for a joint homeland, he said.
“President Anastasiades has shown in practice what political will for a solution means, for peace in the Eastern Mediterranean and, I repeat, does not need lessons from anybody.
“What Mr Erdogan needs to do, and he hinted it himself in Brussels, is finally guide (Turkish Cypriot leader) Mr (Dervis) Eroglu away from his Denktash heritage,” he added.
Asked to comment on Eroglu’s letter sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, the spokesman called on the Turkish Cypriot leader to stop the ultimatums which only destroy efforts to resume peace talks and show good will to get the process moving.
In the letter, Eroglu called on the UN chief to pressure Anastasiades to agree to the Turkish Cypriots’ version of a draft joint communiqué under discussion or else start the talks without any preconditions.
“Instead of sending ultimatums, it is time (Eroglu) realises that what is urgent is not sending ultimatums but as the political leader of the Turkish Cypriot community to show good will for substantial talks to begin,” said Stylianides.
“He must realise that his Denktash ideals are not an excuse. He must detach himself from them and understand that time is against Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and against Cyprus as a whole,” he added.