Public statements by the Turkish Cypriot side regarding the conditions for resolving the Cyprus problem do not help the ongoing negotiation process, the government said on Tuesday.
It was responding to an interview given by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to Al Jazeera, ahead of crucial talks in Geneva in January.
“At this crucial and sensitive phase of the dialogue, positions publicly expressed by the Turkish Cypriot side as conditions for resolving the Cyprus problem, not only find us in disagreement, but we also think they do not help the ongoing process nor the sought solution, which must be approved by the entire Cypriot people,” deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said in a written statement.
Papadopoulos added that instead of statements, the two sides must focus on the objective of minimising their differences in a bid to have a real prospect of success in Geneva.
In the interview, Akinci had said there could not be a referendum without a rotating presidency and he insisted on maintaining some form of the existing system of guarantees.
The Turkish Cypriot leader also said that his community also had a say in the island’s natural resources.
“It will be a sign of the need for equality for the Turkish Cypriots,” Akinci said of the rotating presidency.
He said all sides must abandon hardline approaches to security and cooperate on the matter. The Greek Cypriot side wants the 1960s treaty on guarantees to be abolished and the withdrawal of the Turkish army.
The Turkish Cypriot side wants Turkey to remain a guarantor, at least temporarily.
“In 15 years, it will become obvious if the new system we will create will function,” he said. “In 1960 we founded a republic, which functioned for three years. Now let us see this through three elections. Let our community see that a Turkish Cypriot can be president of this federal structure.”
Throughout this time, he added, Cyprus’ natural gas reserves could, along with Israel’s, be pipelined to Europe through Turkey.
“Let us see a mutual dependency created in the economic area. Let them see that both communities can benefit from Turkey’s friendship,” he said.
Then they could revisit whether an army was necessary, he said.
“But from day one expressions of the sort ‘zero troops, don’t worry nothing will happen’ do not offer us adequate security.”
Akinci’s comments irked hardline Greek Cypriot parties.
Diko described Akinci’s comments as unacceptable but turned its fire at President Nicos Anastasiades.
“Why is Nicos Anastasiades not responding or denying? Is it because he is ready to accept these things?”