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Turkish Cypriot spokesman hits back at archbishop and president

Archbishop Chrysostomos

Archbishop Chrysostomos’ remark that he would not accept a rotating presidency as part of a Cyprus settlement showed once again that he was a man of religion working toward partition, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu said on Monday.

In a written statement Burcu reminded Chrysostomos that the solution to the Cyprus problem would be based on political equality, as recorded in the joint declaration of President Nicos Anastasiades and then Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on February 11, 2014.

Burcu was commenting on remarks by the Archbishop of Cyprus on Sunday, in which he opposed the rotating presidency and the right of mainland Turkish settlers – other than those married to Turkish Cypriots – to remain in a reunited Cyprus.

“They should not insist on rotating presidency, unless they can point to any country in the world where 18 per cent of the population elects the president,” Chrysostomos said.

“Then we can all go and vote for Akinci for president of the Republic of Cyprus.”

On settlers, he said that the Greek Cypriot side “for humanitarian reasons, says that those who have married Turkish Cypriots should not be separated, they can stay”.

“The rest have to go,” he added.

In his statement of response, Burcu said that any solution model that did not introduce political equality for Turkish Cypriots was unacceptable to the Turkish Cypriot side, and that “there will never be a solution like the one Archbishop Chrysostomos is thinking about”.

“The rejectionists on the Greek Cypriot side are poisoning the atmosphere by saying they are against the bizonal, bicommunal federation,” Burcu said.

“Their goal is a unitary state dominated by the Greek Cypriot community and minority rights for Turkish Cypriots.”

The bizonal and bicommunal character of a reunited Cyprus has been one of the key principles of the United Nations-brokered negotiations for many years, Burcu argued.

The Turkish Cypriot spokesman then set his sights on remarks made by Anastasiades in a speech to displaced residents of Morphou, in which he argued that the village they were forced to abandon in 1974 should be returned as part of an agreed solution to the Cyprus problem.

“It is imperative that Morphou should be among the areas that must be part of the Greek Cypriot constituent state,” he told them.

But referring to particular areas in the context of negotiations on territorial adjustments was redundant, Burcu said.

“Territory will be discussed in the immediate future, names, percentages of territory, and maps, have not been discussed yet,” he said.

“If the Greek Cypriot side is trying to gain some advantage by referring to specific names, it is mistaken.”

Since 2004 – when a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem was proposed to the Cypriot people but rejected by Greek Cypriots – a lot of changes have come about, and Anastasiades must realise that remarks not taking the “realities” into account, and shaped according to the demands of the “rejectionist camp”, do not help efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Burcu argued. Under the 2004 Anna plan Morphou would have been returned to the Greek Cypriots.

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