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Cyprus Talks

Akinci chides Anastasiades over ‘unilateral interpretations’ of progress

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa has chided President Nicos Anastasiades for “unilateral interpretations” of what has been agreed at the negotiations that included “at the very least” omissions and mistakes.

In an interview, Akinci said that in recent statements Anastasiades had conveyed some impressions of what had been agreed “only from his own point of view”. Points of agreement, he added, should be something the two sides could announce together. “Otherwise, what Mr Anastasiades has done, is a unilateral interpretation and includes at least deficiencies and mistakes,” said Akinci.

He said the leaders have the right to express their positions, but an announcement on behalf of the two sides should have been made jointly and with the consent of both sides.

A case in point of Anastasiades’ “unilateral interpretation” was related to population, Akinci said.

“When you look at the statement it is perceived as if we have also agreed the proportion of population to remain constant. There is no such a thing. The population in Cyprus will develop in its natural flow. If the effort is to say that the demographic structure in Cyprus will not be spoiled with population transferred from outside, this is something else. In any case we also do not want this. However, there is still no text on which we have agreed on this issue. There are some proposals,” he said.

Turkish Cypriots would not approve any agreement that did not provide that they would be the majority in the north in terms of population and property ownership. Greek Cypriots could apply to run a business in the north or own a holiday home but this would be at the discretion of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state, which would have the power to regulate “permanent residency and internal citizenship”.

Referring to Anastasiades’ statement that he does not accept the “rotating presidency”, Akinci said this was a continued disappointment. “If the Greek Cypriot people will not digest a Turkish Cypriot being at the head of the common federal state during certain periods, this means that there will be no agreement”.

Another red line was guarantees, which are due to be discussed at the end within a five-party framework. The claim by the Greek Cypriot side that the guarantees would be abolished “and moreover that we agree with this is wrong”, said Akinci.

“It is obvious that the Turkish Cypriot community wants the continuation of Turkey’s guarantee. The important thing here is what kind of a formula we can find so that while the Turkish Cypriots feel safe, the Greek Cypriots will not feel threatened. I believe that the way of this will be found, but when the time comes”.

Akinci did agree with Anastasiades that there had been progress on the property issue. “There are still unsolved aspects… but it is true that some distance has been covered. It is also true that the old owner of the property will file the first application. However, the situation of the person living in it will also be taken care of. It does not necessarily mean that the first to make an application will take that house,” he said, adding that someone who has lived in the house for many years since 1974 would have more rights.

Referring to the recent uproar over whether the Cyprus Republic would “evolve” or have a “virgin birth”, Akinci said it was known that the leaders had differences. Akinci said what is discussed was a federal Cyprus established by two founding states “which will be politically equal and will not dominate over each other”. He also said when past international agreements are looked at for a reunited Cyprus, not only would those agreements made by the Republic of Cyprus be examined but also those made by the ‘TRNC’.

The Turkish Cypriot leader said what was most important at the moment was that positive developments and a momentum existed and “both sides should avoid any kind of behaviour that would harm this”.

“On both sides circles exist which immediately start predicting calamity at every opportunity and are panicked when the possibility for a solution increases. We are not going to pay attention to these circles, the intention of which is known,” he said. “However, we should behave carefully with the statements we make. I repeat, the leaders are of course free to express their positions. However, making a statement on behalf of the two sides could happen only with the consent of the two sides and jointly.”

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