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The Cyprus problem has long reached a saturation point, says Akinci

ALL things come to a saturation point, and the Cyprus problem has long come to such a point, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said on Friday, after a meeting with the Kamu Sen confederation of trade unions.

According to press reports in the Turkish-occupied areas in the north, Akinci said that 2016 is now “the point at which saturation has been exhausted”.

“On the one-year mark of the negotiations, as the two leaders we signed a joint declaration setting a timeframe for the first time,” he said of the joint statement by him and President Nicos Anastasiades last Sunday.

“There is no precedent to this. We set 2016 as the target for a solution, and committed to this.”

This is a truly important year, the Turkish Cypriot leader added, noting that significant and crucial periods have come and gone in the past, and may come in future.

“I believe that 2016 is the year saturation has been exhausted,” he said.

“When I think what may happen after this [year], we might as well be squashing water. If we go into 2017 and we are still trying to negotiate, in 2018 the Greek Cypriot side will have presidential elections and they will live in that context.”

If nothing happens in 2018 and talks flow into 2019, this will drag on for too long, he said.

“This is why I believe all sides must realise the importance of the coming seven months ahead of us – and I think they have,” he noted.

Following Sunday’s legislative elections in the Republic of Cyprus, Akinci added, in June and July the two leaders will work with all their strength for a solution, the framework of which is “crystal clear”, referring to a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as agreed in the February 2014 joint declaration between Anastasiades and Akinci’s predecessor, Dervis Eroglu.

“Anyone can have their own dreams,” Akinci said, noting that both in the ‘south’ and the ‘north’ there are people who do not share the framework, and they are “free to express their disagreement”.

“But this is the achievable, reasonable, and to-date officially acceptable framework.”

The Turkish Cypriot leader acknowledged that a solution that will satisfy everyone “is not possible”, but a reasonable number of citizens must believe that the solution that will be agreed will be viable and perceived as fair.

“They should be able to say ‘Under this solution I will be equal and safe, and my rights will be taken into consideration’,” he said.

Whether this will be the case will be seen in the ensuing referendum, Akinci said, noting that his own duty is to bring this to this point as soon as possible, “hopefully within this year”.

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