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Turkish Cypriots remain more positive towards a solution – poll


A bicommunal opinion poll published on Monday reflects the recent uncertainty over the negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, with a majority of Greek Cypriot respondents unsure which way they would vote in a referendum on a solution.

Greek Cypriots in April were mostly undecided what they would vote for, with 26 per cent saying they would vote yes, 29 per cent no and 41 per cent saying it would depend on the details of the plan.

There were only slight differences according to age, although those aged 55 and above were more positive, with 32 per cent saying they would vote for a solution.

Turkish Cypriots were more decided and positive. According to the poll, 48.8 per cent would opt for a yes, 39.5 per cent for no and 10.1 per cent were undecided.

In 2004, when the Annan plan went to a referendum, 76 per cent of Greek voted no while 65 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted yes.

The poll also investigated people’s opinion about confidence building measures.

For Greek Cypriots, the most important confidence building measure would be if the lights of the Turkish flag on the Pentadaktylos mountain range were switched off. Sixty-three per cent of Disy, Akel and Diko supporters agreed this was the most significant. Fifty per cent wanted an end to the recently installed time difference between the two communities.

Other popular choices were for the two sides to better coordinate dealing with big fires, the restoration and maintenance of cemeteries and to allow Easter church services in Famagusta churches. Many also said it would inspire confidence if Famagusta residents were allowed to visit their properties in the fenced-off part of Varosha.

For Turkish Cypriots, a major confidence building measure would be for schools in the Republic to abolish the celebration of ‘Enosis day’ on April 1, the removal of racist and nationalist references from school books on both sides, firefighting coordination, the establishment of car insurance which is valid for the whole island and a common telephone system. They also want a common maintenance of cemeteries and supported the wish of Famagusta residents to be able to visit their properties in the area.

The April poll was conducted by research company Noverna on the Greek Cypriot side. They called 600 people over the age of 18 for the project. In the north, 1,024 Turkish Cypriots were questioned by Lipa consultancy during the same time period, March 30 until April 5.

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