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Cyprus Talks

Akinci’s insistence on ‘wish list’ will not bring desired results, spokesman said

By Angelos Anastasiou

Only a solution that fully respects basic EU freedoms and human rights can be a successful outcome to the Cyprus negotiations, the government said on Wednesday in response to a ‘wish list’ set out by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

And though the opposition parties were furious over Akinci’s comments, Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides tempered the subtle warning by avoiding the blame game and saying the Greek Cypriot side was eager to further work hard and negotiate “those conditions that will allow us to hope for a positive outcome”.

Akinci gave a two-hour interview, televised live, on Tuesday night, in which he argued that a proposed solution is “not likely” to be approved by Turkish Cypriots unless it included Turkish guarantees – a non-starter for Greek Cypriots – and that Turkish Cypriots must be guaranteed a majority of population and property ownership in their constituent state – also not acceptable to Greek Cypriots.

“We have repeatedly pointed out that in the ongoing process, convergences have been achieved in a number of issues, while disagreements persist in others,” Christodoulides said in a written statement.

Akinci’s remarks, the spokesman added, reflected the views of the Turkish Cypriot side, and confirmed the Greek Cypriot side’s position, especially that much work remained to be done.

“The effort made at the negotiating table could yield positive results if and when it creates a solution that meets today’s standards of a European Union member state and fully respects the basic freedoms and human rights, while safeguarding the independence and sovereignty of the state,” Christodoulides said. “Insistence on issues that do not address the above, as well as the need for a functional and viable solution, will not yield the required results. Such an outcome will not only avoid creating winners and losers, but will also safeguard Cyprus’ future as a modern European state.”

Opposition parties were less diplomatic. House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou described Akinci’s remarks as “highly indicative of the Turkish side’s intentions”, and said Turkey effectively seeks to legalise the results of its 1974 invasion.

“One truly wonders how it is possible for the government to express optimism and speak of progress at the negotiations, when the Turkish Cypriot leader voices such uncompromising and intransigent views,” Omirou said.

“The moment of truth has come. The president is obligated to inform the public of the reality.”

A statement issued by the Green party was equally critical.

“Occupation leader Mr Akinci confirmed the view that he, unfortunately, faithfully follows Turkey’s position on the Cyprus problem,” the Greens said.

“He continues to support the preservation of Turkey’s role as a guarantor, and insists on unacceptable views on political equality and rotating presidency. Furthermore, the absolute assertion that no settler will leave the island confirms that United Nations resolutions will be paid only lip service.”

Citizens’ Alliance leader Giorgos Lillikas said Akinci and President Nicos Anastasiades converge to a tendency to “write off refugees’ right to return and implementation of the acquis communautaire”.

“Mr Akinci made it abundantly clear that Turkey’s guarantees are considered a foregone conclusion for Turkish Cypriots, ignoring Greek Cypriots’ sense of insecurity,” Lillikas said.

With regard to properties and territory, he claimed both leaders appear to focus on compensation, suggesting that they agree on guaranteed majorities in each constituent state.

“In other words, we tend to write off refugees’ right to return and implementation of the acquis communautaire provisions on the unencumbered right to move freely and own property in our country,” Lillikas said.

“And what’s worse, we tend to negotiate a solution that, in reality, will abolish the Republic of Cyprus in the form of a confederation.”

Meanwhile, Archbishop Chrysostomos said he doesn’t expect Anastasiades to manage to bring a proposed settlement to a referendum, because Turkey continues to aim at creating a Turkish state in Cyprus.

“Ankara also aims to alter the demographics in Cyprus,” he said.

“The settlement must call for the departure of settlers, except for those who have wed Cypriots, for humanitarian reasons.”

On the other side of the green line, Akinci’s predecessor Dervis Eroglu also criticised Akinci for building up the public’s hope when there have been no specific developments.

In his address for the New Year, Eroglu said a settlement would trigger growth for both ‘peoples’ and facilitate improvements in relations between Turkey and Greece.

“But not every agreement can be a good one,” he warned.

“The intentions of the Greek Cypriots are not changing, and if we were to give them a present in the form of a deal they can exploit to impose their own desires, the Turkish Cypriot people will be dealt a major blow, as happened between 1963 and 1974.”

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