Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Wednesday accused President Nicos Anastasiades of making aggressive and confrontational statements during a “delicate period” in the Cyprus issue in a tit-for-tat and very public angry exchange that has been going on for days.
The latest written statement from Akinci was a response to angry comments Anastasiades made on Tuesday when the two leaders engaged in a public spat that highlighted the differences between them only days before the UN chief is to hand over his latest Cyprus report to the Security Council.
Anastasiades, who said he was “losing patience”, had been responding to an earlier statement by Akinci. The president lashed out at the Turkish Cypriot leader over the Turkish invasion of the island which had been struggling for the past 45 years. He also accused Akinci of making demands that were in essence a way for Turkey to hijack and “completely control” Cyprus.
The spat stemmed from the ongoing disagreement between the two sides over the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots in a federal solution. Anastasiades put forward ‘new ideas’ to UN envoy Jane Holl Lute at the weekend that Akinci says are a ploy to avoid giving political equality to the Turkish Cypriots, who were the only side being constructive in the negotiations.
“The Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, unable to keep up with this clear and constructive attitude, makes aggressive and confrontational statements during such a delicate period,” said Akinci in his written statement on Wednesday.
Referring to Anastasiades’ ever-changing ideas, he said the reasoning is not to have to start negotiations from scratch but to focus on existing convergences going forward “within a reasonable timetable”.
“It is not a sincere approach to waste opportunities for a solution by trying to maintain the status quo and then complain about the status quo,” said Akinci.
Anastasiades’ stance on political equality, he said, was unacceptable, given it was already within UN parameters “and the right of the Turkish Cypriot people to participate effectively in decisions”.
“The approach that rejects the political equality of Turkish Cypriots and their active participation in decisions points to a serious mentality problem,” the statement added.
Akinci also said it was offensive to the Turkish Cypriot side for Anastasiades to act like the Cyprus problem began in 1974 as this ignored “the historical facts and the pain of the Turkish Cypriots” from the outbreak of the intercommunal troubles in 1963, until 1974.
“As I have always said, both communities have suffered deeply in Cyprus and the realistic way to resolve it is through the sincere acceptance of this, not its denial,” he said.
“The way in which Mr Anastasiades interprets the history of the Cyprus problem is a reflection of the unilateral and problematic approach that indicates that he is not accepting political equality today.”
Akinci said a balanced approach could be achieved, taking into account the reasonable security needs of both parties.