THE Cyprus problem can always be relied on to spark political rows. At present everyone is rowing with everyone else about the type of settlement we should go for. In the north last week, Mustafa Akinci was engaged in a public exchange with ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay over the type of relationship the two sides should have, the latter backing the idea of corporate cooperation without the need for a settlement.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also joined the fray on Friday when he visited the north and took a swipe at Akinci, saying “let no-one try to give direction alone to the Cyprus cause by saying I want this, I had said this, I will say this.” He admitted this was the reason for his visit, implying that Akinci could not impose his position in support of bizonal, bicommunal federation (BBF).
Akinci, meanwhile, opened a front against President Anastasiades revealing that he had told Cavusoglu at Crans-Montana that the Greek Cypriots were not ready to share power and a two-state solution should be placed on the agenda. Anastasiades immediately took the bait saying that Akinci’s “memory deceives him” and citing his proposals for a BBF at Crans-Montana. He omitted to mention that since submitting those proposals he has spoken against power-sharing, political equality and other key features of a BBF.
Anastasiades, who avoided denying he had spoken to Cavusoglu about a two-state solution (only his government spokesman said this was a lie), said the Turkish side’s objective was to “cultivate division among the Greek Cypriots”. He was right about that. Akel has gone on the offensive and demanded he clarified his position on the type of settlement he was pursuing. The party demanded Anastasiades “clearly stated” his position on the settlement framework he would discuss.
The bickering is taking place on every front possible and Akinci is the only one of the main players in favour of the BBF as a settlement. His only support is from Akel, while Anastasiades has been relentlessly campaigning against a BBF, arguing that it would create a dysfunctional state and allow the minority Turkish Cypriots to impose their views on the majority Greek Cypriots and give control of the whole of Cyprus to Turkey.
This is a roundabout way of saying he supports a two-state solution or a confederation, which puts him on the same wavelength as Ozersay and Ankara. He has obviously discussed these options with Cavusoglu which is why the latter has repeatedly talked about a different type of settlement. Ironically, Anastasiades seems to be closer to Cavusoglu about the form a settlement should take than he is to Akinci who has been left as the lone campaigner for a BBF.