Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci called on President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday to take part in a five-party meeting to clarify the solution that the Greek Cypriot side is seeking to the Cyprus problem.
“We are in the middle of a process that is unfinished,” Akinci said, highlighting that it was not the UN parameters but the Greek Cypriot side and its “maximalist positions” that were responsible for the dead-end in the negotiations.
Speaking at a lengthy press conference on Friday morning, Akinci said the chances of holding a meeting attended by five parties – the two sides and guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain – formal or informal, would be clear after the Greek and Turkish presidential elections.
Akinci said that he would do whatever was possible to ensure that the Cyprus problem moved towards the direction of a peaceful coexistence, with security and political equality between the two communities.
He reiterated his proposal for the creation of a bicommunal committee for natural gas, noting that there was still time to avoid additional tension and to use the issue as a field for cooperation rather than conflict.
“The reasonable thing to do on this issue is to start with discussing it. Let us advance step by step from an environment of tension to an environment of common benefit, cooperation. There is a ship sent by Turkey. The second one is also coming. Within this framework, the continuation of increasing tension seems unavoidable. It is possible to turn around this course,” he said.
He also said Turkey has weak relations with countries in the eastern Mediterranean such as Israel and Egypt, Akinci said, adding that this was not something that he feels positive about as he would like to see Turkey enjoying strong regional relations.
Referring to the ‘cabinet’ decision announced earlier in the week by Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay regarding plans to conduct a scientific inventory of Varosha, Akinci denounced the move which he said excluded the ‘presidency’ and was announced before a study could be carried out.
“The president is not a scarecrow. He represents the will of the people. I do not think that Turkey does not want to consult with me, but it is evident that there is a deficiency on this issue,” he said.
Akinci added that any move in Varosha must be in line with international law, as well as promote peace and cooperation between the two communities, and respect the rights of previous owners of property.
“It is possible to bring onto the agenda the opening [of Varosha] for the Greek Cypriots under UN supervision and for common businesses and in return of beginning direct flights to Tymbou… I want to emphasise the importance of international law. Stating that decisions on Varosha were taken by excluding the president is far from being serious. […]”
Asked by reporters regarding the controversial dinner between Anastasiades and Ozersay which came to light earlier in the week, Akinci replied that he does “not care about the menu, or if the food had enough salt.” Rather, what is of concern to Akinci is that the meeting took place without him knowing.