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Rotating presidency a must for Turkish Cypriots: Akinci

5 November 2016

In a televised broadcast on Friday, President Akinci reiterated that a having a rotating presidency in a new federal Cyprus was non-negotiable.

There will be a president and a vice president and the council of ministers… the Turkish Cypriot side will not say yes to a plan which does not include a rotating presidency,” he said.

Speaking prior to his trip to Switzerland, where he will hold intensive negotiations with Greek Cypriot President Anastasiades at Mont Pèlerin, which overlooks lake Geneva, he said, “We are going to Switzerland with the intention of taking note of the sensitivities of the two sides. However what one side sees as security, the other must not see as a threat”.

Whatever the picture is, we have to explain it openly; the agreement is that we go and discuss everything, including territory. There are issues still left we haven’t agreed on. We will talk about them in the first two days. The constitutions, etc. the important thing is to finish the bigger picture, decide on a date for the multi-party conference and discuss maps,” he added.

Akinci noted that both sides have agreed on the right of abode. “Anyone wishing to move to the north, can do so but they will not have political rights here. However, I believe that there is nothing to worry about with this situation because I don’t believe people who are settled, will move somewhere they have not lived before and leave everything behind”.

Although there has been no agreement, as yet, on how the population will be distributed, the agreed numbers are the return of 100,000 Greek Cypriots, and the percentage of Turkish Cypriot citizens will be at a ratio of 21.5% of the total Cypriot population. The currently agreed number for Turkish Cypriot citizenship is 220,000, but this could increase proportionately, Akinci said.

He also gave assurances that existing work permits in the north will not be rescinded and that “no one will be moved from their homes until a new place is made for them”.

Akinci said that Turkish Cypriot citizens will become citizens of the federal state as well as EU citizens.

Turkish Cypriots living abroad will also be citizens…Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot constituent states will have rights to be members on areas of health, tourism, sports, and other international institutes – an improvement on the Annan plan,” he said.

Constituent states will have the right of say on property. This has been agreed. Legal domicile will not be more than 20%,” Akinci noted.

Regarding the economy, President Akinci said that that constituent states will be responsible for their own taxes but there will be a 6% development budget and 5/6th of it will be allocated to the Turkish Cypriot side.

In order to finance the solution, Akinci said that an estimate of 24 billion euros had been mentioned but he also pointed out that this figure might be inaccurate. “EU and other institutes will be helping out, as Juncker has already mentioned. If we get our heads together and work on natural resources, there will be funds from this as well. There is a wealth there which will help us to get loans” he pointed out.

In addition, he noted that Turkey was also willing to contribute, assuring that “our debts to Turkey should not be an issue for the Greek Cypriot side. This will be handled”.

President Akinci will be flying to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan, before he makes the journey to Switzerland.

Cyprus Weekly

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