By Jean Christou
AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou will on Tuesday brief President Nicos Anastasiades on his meetings on Saturday with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu in Istanbul.
Kyprianou had also called Anastasiades on Sunday morning to discuss the meetings before he returned to Cyprus that afternoon.
On Monday, in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Kyprianou called his meeting with Davutoglu “remarkably friendly”, more so than he expected.
“These meetings are good,” he said. “They shape a positive climate, but of course problems are solved at the negotiating table and not in such meetings.”
On Sunday when he returned to Cyprus, Kyprianou said it was evident from his discussions in Istanbul that Turkey wanted to play a role in the issue of security and guarantees, but he said it seemed there was room for dialogue to see if there was something the two Cypriot sides would be agreeable to in those areas.
“The visit has achieved the objectives we set from the outset… that is to meet with Turkish prime minister and the foreign minister who can take on board over time the positions of the Greek Cypriot side as formed by the National Council,” said Kyprianou. “The second objective was to hear from their side and possibly to try to diagnose what might be hidden behind their words.”
He said the first and most important message was that the Turkish leadership seemed to understand that without a solution to the Cyprus issue, Ankara would not be able to play an important role in the southeastern Mediterranean.
“The Turkish prime minister specifically said they would be interested in a partnership with Greece and Cyprus after the solution of the Cyprus problem in order to help develop the region,” Kyprianou said.
Another message, he said, was that Ankara fully supported Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in his efforts at the negotiating table. “Mr Akinci has full discretion to handle internal matters. Turkey is more interested in issues relating to security, guarantees and demilitarisation, from what I understand,” Kyprianou said.
He added that it was his impression that Turkey wanted to play a role in the security matters but in a different way than it applies today under the system of guarantor powers and in a way that would be “accepted by both communities”.
“Our position is clear that we cannot accept Turkey as a guarantor and in no instance can we accept unilateral intervention rights from Turkey,” the AKEL leader said.
“We made it clear from our side that there can be a solution only if and when the conditions are created that would allow both sides to say yes in the referendum. Obviously there are differences and disagreements between us and this was evident during the discussions that we had. ”
He added that the only way to solve disagreements was through dialogue and said both sides at Saturday’s meetings had expressed a desire to keep the lines of communication open.
In his comments after meeting Kyprianou, Cavusoglu described their discussions as very positive. It was important that AKEL supported the negotiations, he said. “We spoke openly,” said Cavusoglu.
The Cyprus negotiations had revived hopes that a settlement could be reached, he said, adding that it was the last window of opportunity and should not be missed.
Kyprianou, commenting on Monday about the negative reactions of the other opposition parties to his Istanbul trip, said: “Those who say these things are those who have been saying for decades that we must discuss the issues with Turkey and not with the Turkish Cypriots because the key to the solution is in Turkey. Now they have reversed the argument,” he said.