DIKO and EDEK insisted on Friday that a meeting in Switzerland between the leaders of the island’s divided communities and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had only served the Turkish side, which supposedly saw its breakaway state in the north upgraded.
“How do you upgrade an illegal regime,” DIKO chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos said. “If they are not upgraded the way (Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa) Mr. Akinci was yesterday (Thursday) at Davos then how else are they upgraded?”
Apart from their meeting with Ban, President Nicos Anastasiades and Akinci made an unprecedented joint appearance before global business and political leaders in Davos to proclaim their aim to build a peace bridge between Europe and the Middle East.
“What is important is the act, this is what upgraded Mr. Akinci,” Papadopoulos said, adding that Akinci appeared in a forum where state leaders appeared.
“Unfortunately our government once more fell into a trap and played Turkey’s game.”
EDEK’s Marinos Sizopoulos more or less echoed Papadopoulos.
He said that an “objective and responsible” evaluation of the Davos results showed that only Turkey and Akinci, made gains.
“The president and his associates must explain to the Cypriot people what has been gained,” he said.
Sizopoulos also wondered how the president appearing as a leader, equal to Akinci, served efforts for a solution.
Ruling DISY and main opposition AKEL sought to put things into perspective.
AKEL member Stephanos Stephanou noted that when asking the United Nations to play a role in solving the problem “we cannot turn down UNSG invitations to meet him.”
Stephanou said every time such an issue came up it was the same reaction.
“It does not mean recognition if someone shakes Akinci’s hand,” he said.
DISY leader Averof Neophytou wondered what it was that Anastasiades’ critics wanted.
“They all demanded internationalisation of the Cyprus problem but when given the chance there was reaction and criticism,” he said.
“We all agree that the key (to a solution) is in Ankara but there are some who say ‘but we don’t trust Turkey.’ So the Cyprus problem will never be settled, full stop. Why are we wasting our time?” Neophytou said.
Regarding suggestions that a bizonal, bicommunal, federal solution, was discriminatory and that the Republic of Cyprus must be protected at all costs, Neophytou asked whether the 1960s constitution was any better.
“I want the defenders of the RoC to explain why in 1960, when we didn’t have a Turkish invasion, when we didn’t have a ‘submissive’ government, we accepted inclusion in the constitution that the vice president must be Turkish Cypriot and only Turkish Cypriots have the right to select him?” Neophytou said, adding that the Turkish Cypriots also got veto rights.
Responding to the criticism, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said it was wrong to speak of upgrading the breakaway state.
“It is a mistake, we think, for us to introduce it in the public discourse,” the spokesman said. “There is no question of upgrading the occupation regime or its representatives.”
Christodoulides said Anastasiades briefed the UNSG on the actual state of play in the talks and it was important that Akinci was there to confirm.
The president presented Ban with a four-page document detailing the agreements, disagreements, and extent of discussion of the various aspects.
Anastasiades also made it clear that he would not present people with a plan that contained ambiguities and gaps, and did not address all matters.