Reports from the north that Turkish Cypriot ‘authorities’ were granting 500 ‘citizenship’ a month to Turkish settlers caused a storm of outrage among Greek Cypriot political parties on Monday.
The move was condemned by the parties saying it showed Turkey could not be trusted while the more hardline among them took a swipe at President Nicos Anastasiades blaming him because of his “concessionary” stance in the talks
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said Anastasiades would raise the issue on Tuesday with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
According to reports from the north on Monday, Izzet Izcan, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus Party (BKP) is accusing the National Unity Party–Democratic Party coalition ‘government’ of trying to undermine the Cyprus talks by granting ‘citizenship’ to 500 Turkish settlers every month.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen, Izcan quoted him as saying: “They are trying for the negotiating process to not have a positive outcome.”
Referring to ‘prime minister’ Huseyin Ozgurgun, Izcan added: “Ozgurgun is trying to blow up this process by denigrating those who want a solution and the search for a solution and by insistently putting into the negotiating delegation the intransigent and opponent of a solution Tahsin Ertugruloglu and his undersecretary.”
Izcan said the only aim of the ‘government’ was to carry out Ankara’s demands, including those Turkey had made on ‘citizenships’, and that the north was dishing out 500 every month. “This stance is tantamount to not wanting a solution,” he said.
According to Greek Cypriot daily Phileleftheros on Monday, ‘citizenships’ were being given out to create a fait accompli given that the leaders were entering a critical phase of the negotiations on the hard issues such as territory, security and guarantees.
It said Ankara was putting pressure on Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to give ‘citizenship’ to 26,500 Turks and that he had been given a time limit – the end of the year – if there was no Cyprus deal by then. It suggested the coalition in the north was trying to bypass Akinci by starting to issue the 500 ‘citizenships’ a month.
Numbers cited by Phileleftheros said that under a settlement there would be 802,000 Greek Cypriots and 220,000 Turkish Cypriots in the two constituent states. Quoting official Greek Cypriot sources, the paper said the government was concerned over the latest moves and was closely monitoring.