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Turkes comments create negative climate, president says (updated)

President Nicos Anastasiades said a settlement of the Cyprus problem was unthinkable when Turkish officials demand the same rights for Turkish nationals as EU citizens, after a solution.

Speaking after his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Anastasiades said the statements made by Turkey’s Vice President Tugrul Turkes were “unacceptable” and “unfounded.”

“I cannot but highlight … that as long as Turkish officials utter such statements they only succeed in creating a negative climate,” Anastasiades said. “It is unthinkable to have a solution of the Cyprus problem with such claims.

On Wednesday, Turkes said if the demand was not accepted then neither should Greek nationals enjoy the four freedoms in Cyprus. The demand had been tabled during the negotiations in Switzerland earlier this month.

“We said that the four freedoms must be granted to the Turkish side also,” he said. “Free movement for workers, freedom of entrance, exit, capital, etc.”

He said the two sides were not close on that so Turkey tabled a second proposal.

“If you see these as privileges for us then let us ensure that Greeks too will be deprived of the things we will be deprived of.”

Anastasiades and Akinci held their first meeting on Thursday since talks in Switzerland on security and guarantees.

The president said talks will continue in Cyprus, focusing on all six chapters.

Akinci and Anastasiades will meet again on February 1 to decide the procedure.

Upon his return to his office, Akinci said there was no question at present of setting a date for a Cyprus conference at principal level.

“What is important is to keep the momentum alive,” he said. “We should not think that this will last forever, be open ended, and remain open.”

But he warned against pushing the process in the wrong direction in haste.

“We must safeguard this balance.”

The Turkish Cypriot leader said what they did with Anastasiades in the past 20 months had never been achieved in the past 50 years of negotiations.

“That is why I consider suggestions that nothing was achieved at Mont Pelerin, nothing was achieved in Geneva misplaced,” he said. “Yes, we are not at the point of an agreement and everything is done; there are things that must be done about this.”

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