Cyprus Mail

Ankara conference on Cyprus boost for civil society

CAD keynote speakers George Papandreou and Hikmet Cetin

A consensus on the need for the two sides to build on the Joint Declaration of February 11, 2014 and for Greece and Turkey to support and facilitate the negotiations process for a settlement of the Cyprus problem was the outcome of the conference ‘Turkey and Cyprus: Regional Peace and Stability’, held in Ankara.

The conference was organised by the bicommunal non-governmental-organisation Cyprus Academic Dialogue (CAD) in collaboration with the Australian High Commission in Nicosia, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the University of Kent Conflict Analysis Research Centre, the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) and the Australian and British Embassies in Ankara.

Greek, Turkish and Cypriot politicians, academics and policy makers met to discuss and exchange their views on the Cyprus problem and the relations between the main stakeholders.

“It was really a huge event, a massive success. The attendees were from many influential places,” said CAD’s director of International Relations Costa Constanti.

The two keynote speakers, the president of the Socialist International Association and former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, and former Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs and former speaker of parliament, Hikmet Cetin had shared their experience about the rapprochement process between Turkey and Greece, CAD said.

Participants also discussed Turkey’s EU accession.

The need to establish a governance mechanism by Cyprus, Turkey and Greece in the greater eastern Mediterranean focusing on such matters as energy, transportation, security, water, was also discussed at the conference.

Cypriot academics suggested the introduction of a “piecemeal approach” to break the current stalemate to reach a Cyprus settlement.

The event attracted the interest of local and international media, according to CAD.

“We are the first bicommunal group to confront officials in Turkey and have an open and frank dialogue with a view to making common compromises, reach a viable solution and a reunification agreement… and results in the enactment of the February 2014 Joint Declaration and UN Resolutions,” Constanti said.

“Even Turkish journalists wrote how civil society of Cyprus is the way forward to peace and reunification,” he added.

CAD, since its establishment in 2009 with the support of the Australian High Commission, has visited “literally all stakeholders in Cyprus – north and south, left and right, hardliners, peace builders, NGOs and state entities garnering the support of every one they have met”, a thing Constanti said was “very rare”.

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