Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Parties attack Turkey as Akinci spokesman says he has received death threats

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci

The government said on Tuesday that it would like whoever is elected as the new Turkish Cypriot leader to be in favour of continuing the dialogue from where it left off at the talks in Crans-Montana in 2017.

Asked to comment on criticism against Turkish Cypriot Mustafa Akinci over his comments to the Guardian that his community did not embrace the possibility of an annexation by Turkey, Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushios said the government, in principle, does not interfere in the process for the election of a new leader in the north.

“Despite that, we would like the (new) elected leader to be in favour of continuing the dialogue from where it left off in Crans-Montana, as per the result of the tripartite in Berlin,” Koushios said.

Asked about Turkey’s interference in the affairs of the Turkish Cypriot community, Koushios said that no one should interfere in the procedure for the election of the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Reactions to Akinci’s statements continued with a Turkish academician suggesting the Turkish Cypriot leader ought to be taken out of the way since he has become a threat.

According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi, the head of the Ankara-based Anka University of Technology Mehmet Hakan Saglam told Turkish Akit TV that Akinci ought to be ‘blown up’ like one of the PKK leaders. Saglam reportedly said Akinci’s statements were similar to those of PKK’s Murat Karayilan who also described Turkey as an occupying power.

On Monday Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called Akinci an untrustworthy politician.

In response to the backlash, Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu said on Tuesday afternoon that after the Turkish foreign minister went as far as branding Akinci a ‘supporter of terrorism’ there have been death threats against the Turkish Cypriot leader even on television programmes in Turkey.

“Insults and threats have reached a shameful dimension,” Burcu said.

He also expressed his sorrow over the hatred and attacks against Akinci arguing that the published interview was a shorter version of what the Turkish Cypriot leader had said while many people reacted with bias and took the opportunity to insult him. To show the criticism was not right, Akinci’s office published the full interview, Burcu said adding that the ideas he expressed were sincere and seek to benefit both Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

He added that Akinci “stands behind these views and will continue to do so.”

On accusations that he is a supporter of terrorism, Burcu recalled that Akinci was the first to condemn the coup attempt against the Turkish president on July 15, 2016 “organised by the terrorist organisation nested within the state in Turkey.”

It is sad, Burcu said, that those who accused Akinci of being a supporter of terrorism now seem to have forgotten all this.

Akinci, he said, “is a person who has struggled for democracy throughout his life” criticising efforts to associate him with terrorism.

Following Akel’s support for Akinci on Monday other parties on Tuesday took the chance to have a dig at Turkey.

Spokesman of ruling Disy Demetris Demetriou said that Turkish Cypriots need to realise that they too are at risk from Turkey’s plans and not just Greek Cypriots.

“It is clear who hinders not only Turkish Cypriots’ prospects but also the solution to the Cyprus problem,” Demetriou said.

Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos said that the way Turkey treats Akinci was proof that Ankara must not be involved in Cypriots’ affairs after a solution.

“Turkey obviously wants to control Cyprus politically, financially and militarily,” Papadopoulos said, arguing that if Ankara treats Akinci that way, one could only imagine how it would treat Greek Cypriots that it sees as potentially dangerous or as enemies.

It is for that reason, he said, that Diko would never accept any solution that would allow Turkey to have any role in Cyprus’ internal affairs.

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