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Reunification talks have collapsed, Turkish Cypriot official says

Turkish Cypriot 'foreign minister' Ozdil Namil

By Stefanos Evripidou

TURKISH Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami believes talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to reunify the island have collapsed.

According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris, Nami told a television interviewer on Thursday that the peace talks are being held in an environment without any discipline. He argued “there is a totally collapsed negotiating process now”.

The two sides are hurling accusations at each other instead of positive messages, he said, adding that the Greek Cypriot side is making proposals far from the Annan plan, which hinder efforts for confidence-building measures.

Nami was once considered the dove of Turkish Cypriot politics, but in recent weeks, has shown increasing irritability, slamming both the talks process and the Greek Cypriot positions.

His stance hardened notably after the government caused a fuss over a lunch meeting he hosted with foreign ambassadors based in Cyprus.

Nami described the statement by US Vice President Joe Biden that the key to a Cyprus solution is in Ankara as “populist and unfortunate.” He argued that the stagnation in the negotiations was not Turkey’s fault.

Kibris also quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying of the peace process: “We will reach the right point on Cyprus when the time is right.”

“Important developments are taking place in Cyprus. There is a procedure that continues carefully, but it continues in the right direction.

“There will never be a return to the situation before the peace operation,” he said in reference to the 1974 Turkish invasion.

According to Nami, the two sides should have shown respect to the convergences of the past and concentrated on the remaining core issues, a view often repeated by AKEL.

A former negotiator himself, under the leadership of Mehmet Ali Talat, Nami accused the Greek Cypriots of respecting none of the past convergences, instead bringing to the negotiating table proposals that would make these convergences null and void.

Media reports suggest Nami is considering running in the elections for the Turkish Cypriot leadership in April 2015.

It is believed the decision on his candidacy will depend on whether Talat will run as a left-wing candidate of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP). It is highly unlikely the two will run against each other.

Political commentators suggest either Nami or Talat will represent the forces of the left, with ‘house speaker’ Sibel Siber a possible wildcard.

The left candidate will likely face off against incumbent Dervis Eroglu or his negotiator Kudret Ozersay, who recently said he is considering running.

In a move that will be welcomed from the Turkish Cypriot right, Mustafa Akinci told Havadis newspaper yesterday that he has decided to run as a candidate in next year’s elections.

Akinci is a popular figure among peaceniks, having made huge strides in reconciliation when he served as mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, along with his opposite number Lellos Demetriades.

He also has the support of the Communal Democratic Party (TDP), which recently had one of its members elected as mayor of the northern Nicosia municipality.

Unless he cooperates with the CTP, Akinci’s candidacy will likely draw votes away from the official left-wing candidate, whoever that will be.

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