The Turkish Cypriot side is not hiding behind any excuses, in particular, the upcoming referendum in Turkey, regarding the continuation of the Cyprus negotiations, President Mustafa Akinci has said.
The President also said that he would be ready to resume talks the very next day the Greek Cypriot side reverses a decision to commemorate the 1950 Enosis plebiscite in secondary schools in South Cyprus.
He said that the Turkish Cypriot side was continuing the talks in a calm manner but that this did not mean that it could tolerate such grave mistakes.
No one could accept a decision aimed at indoctrinating school children with notions of Enosis instead of promoting a culture of peace which was necessary for a federal partnership, Akinci said.
Noting that the day after the decision was taken by the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives, many of the headlines in the Greek Cypriot press were about the upcoming elections in South Cyprus; Akinci said it was wrong to attribute every reaction of the Turkish Cypriot people to Turkey.
“No one should try and attribute every reaction of Turkish Cypriot society to Turkey as if Turkish Cypriots did not have their own thoughts or their own political will. The Turkish Cypriot people are just as equal as Greek Cypriots in Cyprus. Everyone should accept this,” he said.
Stating that having friendly relations with a great country such as Turkey would have immense benefits for the Greek Cypriots, the President said that the Greek islands were a good example of this.
“The biggest support to Greece in times of the economic crisis they were experiencing came from Turkey,” he added.
Akinci also pointed out that the failure to reach a settlement in Cyprus will be the source of renewed tensions over energy reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Not just the Turkish and Greek Cypriots but Turkey and Greece as well as other neighbouring countries will benefit from a settlement,” he added.
The President also challenged the Greek Cypriot leadership by stating that he would be ready to resume talks the very next day the decision to commemorate the 1950 Enosis plebiscite at schools in South Cyprus was rescinded.
“I dare them! Let them fix this mistake and I will be at the negotiating table the next day! Then we’ll see who received instructions and who didn’t,” he said, adding that neither he nor the Turkish Cypriot side was hiding behind any excuses.
“Election periods or referendums are sensitive periods. But truly there has been no such request from Turkey. Turkey wants to support a solution by looking at its parameters,” he said
President Akinci noted that it was in fact the Greek Cypriot side which was trying to use the upcoming referendum in Turkey to distract attention from the fact that political parties in the South had started working for their own elections, set to take place next year.