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President, Akel trade barbs over Cyprus problem (updated)

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President Nicos Anastasiades suggested on Friday that main opposition Akel’s criticism of his policies on the Cyprus problem aimed at winning the votes of Turkish Cypriots in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Akel has been critical of the president, accusing him of stalling the reunification talks and effectively leading the island towards partition.

Anastasiades sought to portray Akel as siding with the Turkish side against the interests of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

“It is high time — I will repeat it today — to stop campaigning against the interests, not only of Greek Cypriots but also the Turkish Cypriots for some borrowed votes in light of the European elections,” Anastasiades said. “Ephemeral policies do not lead to a real prospect and are condemned to fail.”

The president was referring to the candidacy of Turkish Cypriot professor Niyazi Kızılyurek who is claiming a seat in the European Parliament on the Akel ticket.

Anastasiades and Akel have been at loggerheads for a while over the latter’s handling of the reunification talks.

On Thursday evening, Anastasiades accused Akel of adopting the positions of the Turkish Cypriot leadership to win votes.

Akel leader Andros Kyprianou responded on Twitter, telling Anstasiades to take his angry lecturing elsewhere.

“Since when have parliamentary democracy and decentralised (federation) become the positions of the Greek Cypriot side?”

Kyprianou was referring to proposals tabled by Anastasiades since the collapse of talks in Switzerland in 2017.

Such positions were never supported by the Greek Cypriot side, which had always sought a strong, centralised, federal form of a solution.

Kyprianou said Anastasiades had hit rock-bottom with his comment on borrowed votes.

“He shows he cannot understand the political role Akel plays in Cyprus. We want to create conditions in which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will cooperate on the basis of their political positions, on the basis of the political criterions, and not on the basis of their ethnic origin,” Kyprianou said. “If he does not realise that this is the only way to succeed in reunifying Cyprus and create conditions of peace and stability then I regret to say he does not understand the essence of the Cyprus problem.”

The Akel leader accused the president of violating the national council’s long-standing decisions and advancing his personal views without prior discussion.

“Look at decentralised federation and parliamentary democracy; proposals he tabled without consulting anyone at all,” he said.

Kyprianou said Anastasiades’ support of the Guterres framework was mere lip service and rejected the president’s accusation that they were putting the party above the country.

“Akel’s position emanates from our concern over Mr. Anastasiades’ handling, which is leading us closer to permanent partition,” he added.

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