As the second round of intensive talks between the leaders of the two communities later this month draws closer, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci flew to Turkey for a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.
According to press reports in the north, the Cyprus problem will feature heavily on their agenda.
Speaking before his departure, Akinci said he hoped the Greek Cypriot side in the last quarter of 2016 would leave aside statements that say “guarantees could never be accepted”, “if this or that place is not returned there can be no solution” or that “the natural gas is in our sovereign territory and no one can intervene”.
“Such statements serve no purpose other than causing tension,” Akinci said.
He repeated his belief that the ongoing talks are “the last chance of our generation” for a federal solution, and that if the search for a solution spills into 2017 “we will find ourselves in a very different environment, due to the campaign for the presidential elections” in the Republic of Cyprus.
“We need a cool-headed approach during this period,” Akinci said.
“In an area where we are drowning in so much blood and tears, it is possible for us to create a structure in Cyprus which will protect the rights of both sides, based on political equality, a bi-zonal, bi-communal united federal structure in which we will live in equality, freedom and security. [It is possible] provided we proceed in a reasonable, wise and realistic manner.”
Referring to his contacts in Ankara, Akinci said that contact with Ankara was necessary before the UN General Assembly and before an important period in the Cyprus talks.
“Beyond our close dialogue, relations and historic and cultural ties, Turkey is one of the three guarantors,” Akinci said explaining why he had asked for a meeting with Erdogan.
Asked to comment on Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s statement that “the issue of guarantees is not even a matter of discussion” and on whether Erdogan has a different view, Akinci suggested Turkey might be open to discussion if the right “formulas” were tabled.
“I have repeatedly underlined how important Turkey’s guarantees are for the Turkish Cypriot people,” he said.
“I have said the statement that ‘if the guarantees are not abolished there will be no solution’ is wrong. However, a negotiating process is being held.
“If formulas which will not harm the security of the Turkish Cypriot people are produced, if such formulas can be produced and work in this direction can be made, you take these into account. I do not think that Turkey will be at the point of not negotiating at all on this issue.”