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Akinci threatened to resign if federal solution not on the table

Mustafa Akinci

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said he would rather resign than table any model of a solution other than a federal system, Turkish Cypriot media reported on Wednesday.

According to daily Kibris Postasi, Akinci made the statement during the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to the north last April.

The paper said it was during a dinner with all the heads of Turkish Cypriot political parties.

The paper said the idea of ‘loose federation’, mooted by President Nicos Anastasiades recently, was raised during that dinner on April 20.

The revelations were made by the chairman of the Rebirth party Erhan Arikli who was present at the dinner.

Cavusolglu, according to Arikli, said “we must also discuss a two-state solution and confederation,” but Akinci voiced his disagreement.

“I was elected to discuss federation, I can’t tell my voters federation is not possible, I would have to resign,” the Turkish Cypriot leader was quoted as saying.

Arikli reportedly also said that on that night the relations between Akinci and Turkey reached a turning point. It has been reported that when Akinci was in New York last month to meet with the UN chief, Cavuosglu had not met with him. Subsequent reports suggested he was being sidlelined by Ankara in favour of Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay.

But Ozersay, who has recently been carrying out unofficial contacts with senior Greek Cypriot politicalfigures, was reported as saying on Wednesday that there was nothing untoward going on behind Akinci’s back, and there was no tension between Ankara and the north.

“President Akinci and the prime minister Tufan Erhurman were informed of all the meetings as well as the context of the meetings,” he was quoted as saying. “No one was bypassed”.

He also said Akinci had  not asked for any meetings with the Turkish leadership in New York.

“All meetings that had been planned took place and no meeting was rejected,” Ozersay added.

He said, in response to media reports, that it was not appropriate to question the relations between Turkey and the ‘TRNC’  “by creating artificial discussion”.

Later on Wednesday, Akinci’s spokesman, Baris Burcu, said that the Turkish Cypriot leader, when the time comes, would assess the situation and decided whether to run for a second term in the 2020 elections.

Burcu said during a television show that, if Akinci feels that the people needed him, he would run for a second term.

“If he feels that he is not needed, then he will not run. It is up to him,” Burcu said.

‘Loose’ or decentralised federation was an issue tabled by Anastasiades in a recent national council meeting, sparking reaction among Greek Cypriot parties.

The parties have demanded to know details, considering that it was a clear departure from the positions of the Greek Cypriot side which has always sought a strong federal system as a form of settlement.

On Tuesday, during a national council session, Anastasiades did not provide any further details or a concrete proposal, with the government arguing it had simply been tabled to prompt discussion and reflection.

The government has suggested that devolution would help solve many problems and make a post-solution state more functional.


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