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Akinci says legitimacy of Turkish Cypriot leader not up for discussion

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci

The authority and democratic legitimacy of the elected Turkish Cypriot leader was not up for discussion, Mustafa Akinci said on Thursday, after suggestions that Ankara wanted him excluded from talks with the Greek Cypriots.

“The authority and democratic legitimacy of the Turkish Cypriot president who is elected by the Turkish Cypriot people, whom the UN and other international players know and talk with, and who is regarded the leader of the Turkish Cypriots for many years is not up for discussion,” Akinci said in a written statement.

He said the long-accepted parameters of the Cyprus problem include talks between the leaders of the two communities on all issues that concern them.

His statement followed Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides’ disclosure on Wednesday that Ankara was pushing for talks between the two sides but with ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay and not Akinci.

The Turkish Cypriot leader said any effort to replace the communal and international role and authority of the Turkish Cypriot ‘president’ with a person who was not authorised by the people was a hostile action.

Akinci said the two sides had set up technical committees to handle various issues because contacts between ministries were not feasible under the current conditions.

“That is the reason the health ministers could not even meet over the pandemic crisis. It is impossible for the foreign ministers to meet on equal terms,” he said.

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