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Cyprus

Guarantee system up for discussion, Akinci says

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said everything was on the table in the reunification talks, including guarantees and right of intervention, as the 1960’s regime introduced with the foundation of the Republic no longer existed.

Speaking during a news conference on Wednesday evening, Akinci cited the framework drafted by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during the 2017 talks in Switzerland, which spoke of a new arrangement.

“We are entering 2020, we are not living in 1960. We should not be afraid to discuss these issues. Some people turned this into a taboo; they say Akinci discussed these, he destroyed us. No, my friend, everything is up for discussion, we will work to achieve the best outcome.”

The framework said that the current system, which granted a right of intervention was not sustainable and that the Treaty of Guarantees could be replaced by adequate implementation monitoring mechanisms, where guarantor powers could partly be involved.

The framework states that issues related to troops — numbers, withdrawals if and when they will need to leave, timelines, etc — will be agreed at the prime ministerial level of guarantor countries.

Akinci said the treaty guaranteed the regime put in place in 1960 and not the Turkish Cypriot community, as some people think.

The 1960 regime was cancelled by the military junta ruling Greece at the time when it carried out a coup against president Makarios with the assistance of its Greek Cypriot collaborators, the Turkish Cypriot leader said. To prevent Cyprus’ annexation to Greece, Turkey intervened using its right, he added.

“The right of intervention was granted in the treaty to correct the regime that was cancelled. Is there such a danger now in practice? No, at least not in the foreseeable future,” he said.

“The 60s’ regime does not exist at the moment. We negotiate to form a federation, not to resurrect the 1960 system,” he said, adding that it was natural to find a new arrangement on the matter.

During the talks in Switzerland in 2017, the issue was discussed by Turkey and Greece, the Turkish Cypriot leader said.

“Turkey conveyed a series of messages as regards what it could do on the matter of the army and the guarantees, on the matter of security.”

To him, Akinci said, there were three key elements: equality, freedom and security, and the people, and he would not accept a system that did not provide security. How it would be done remains to be discussed.


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