President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday the Greek Cypriot community was ready to return to the 1960 regime with Turkish Cypriots taking the positions granted to them by the constitution, suggesting Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar was contradicting himself in his criticism of a decision to revoke the Republic of Cyprus passports of 14 Turkish Cypriots.

Monday’s decision concerns the Turkish Cypriot ‘cabinet’ and a committee dealing with the reopening on Varosha, whose actions are seen as undermining the Republic of Cyprus.

The government’s move was in response to the Turkish side’s decision to open an area of Varosha for resettlement, in violation of UN resolutions.

Tatar, who is among the 14, said the decision was racist and anachronistic and in violation of the rights of Turkish Cypriots arising from the fact that the Republic of Cyprus is a common republic of “two peoples”.

In response, Anastasiades rejected the accusation it was a racist decision, reminding Tatar that it was him who said in public “we are a different race. We speak Turkish, our religion is Islam, our motherland in Turkey.”

The president also rubbished suggestions of discrimination, pointing out that the Republic had issued 97,000 passports and over 110,000 ID cards to Turkish Cypriots, confirming their Cypriot citizenship.

“The revocation of passports strictly concerns a limited number of individuals who undermine the independence, sovereignty, and status of the Republic of Cyprus with their actions and certainly not all our Turkish Cypriot compatriots,” he said.

Tatar’s position that the Turkish Cypriot rights stem from the treaties of establishment of the RoC is also inconsistent with his rhetoric, Anastasiades said.

Despite it being correct, it contradicts “Mr Tatar’s positions of separating Cypriot citizens in two peoples and of a two-state solution, which blatantly violates the agreements he cites,” Anastasiades said.

If Tatar means what he claims, the Greek Cypriot community is “fully prepared to accept restoration of constitutional order with the return of the Turkish Cypriots to the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, and the rest of the services, based on the provisions of the 1960 constitution, with the simultaneous start of talks to define the areas which each community will be responsible to administer based on UN resolutions.”

Earlier, Wednesday, Tatar said the decision showed that the Republic of Cyprus had turned into a Greek Cypriot republic, a Greek republic, and wondered why those who staged the coup in 1974 did not have their passports rescinded.

“On July 15, 1974, EOKA members took part in the coup against the Republic of Cyprus. Why don’t you take their passports?” Tatar said.

The Turkish Cypriot leader said he was born in 1960 when everyone got a RoC passport and claimed he did not remember when it was renewed.

“Maybe it was renewed during my student years. But I haven’t used it in years; I don’t even know where it is,” he said.

In May, it was reported that Tatar’s passport was issued on February 2, 2006, with the official address given being Ayios Andreas in Nicosia.