The back-and-forth between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar spilled over into the domestic political arena on Thursday, with the administration and the main opposition party trading barbs over the nature of a political settlement in Cyprus.
A day earlier, Anastasiades said 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 Tatar was contradicting himself in his criticism of a decision to revoke the Republic of Cyprus passports of 14 Turkish Cypriots.
Tatar, who is among the 14, called that decision 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.”
The Turkish Cypriot leader also 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Cypriot republic, a Greek republic, and wondered why those who staged the coup in 1974 did not have their passports rescinded.
Responding, Anastasiades said that 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.”
On Thursday, main opposition Akel hectored the president, saying his out-of-the-blue proposal to Tatar amounts to discarding the model for of a bizonal bicommunal solution.
“In this way Nicos Anastasiades is buttering the bread of Turkey’s pro-partition policy,” a statement from Akel read.
“Politics is not judged by intentions, comments and pronouncements. It is judged by its results. And the track record of the Anastasiades-Disy administration shows a constant sliding towards permanent partition, with the international community regarding Anastasiades co-responsible for that.”
Hitting back at Akel, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said the president’s call for a return to the 1960 constitution precisely would avert partition, by obviating the current Turkish position that demands a recognition of sovereignty for the north of the island as a precondition for the resumption of peace talks.
The spokesman went on to suggest that Akel are out of touch with reality:
“Do they realise that the non-solution of the Cyprus problem is primarily due to Turkey’s intransigence and longstanding goals?”