President Mustafa Akincı has said that the foundations of a bi-zonal, bi-communal settlement on the basis of two constituent states had been laid down following the July 20 Peace Operation.
In a live televised address to the nation to mark the launch of celebrations marking the 43rd anniversary of the July 20 Peace Operation, President Akıncı said that the Turkey had prevented Cyprus’ union with Greece (Enosis) by exercising its rights stemming from the 1960 agreements.
“It was because of the 20 July Peace Operation that the framework for a possible settlement was drawn in the 1977-79 High Level Agreements”, he said.
Touching on the Cyprus negotiations process, Akıncı said that unfortunately all efforts to reach a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal settlement had failed.
He said that for the first time in the history of the negotiations, maps had been exchanged and a five- party conference had been held.
Akıncı added that attempts by the Greek Cypriot side to portray the convening of a five-party conference as if it was their success were far from the truth, as this had been possible only with the efforts of the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey.
“More importantly we showed the necessary flexibility, we expressed our readiness to amend the existing treaties and waited for the Greek Cypriot side to distance itself from its position of ‘Zero troops, zero guarantees’ and to come to a reasonable starting point. Unfortunately the Greek Cypriot side did not abandon its position”, he said.
President Akıncı added that the constructive efforts of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side at Crans-Montana was observed and witnessed by all attending parties and observers.
“We have no responsibility in the failure to reach an outcome despite our strong desire for a solution”, he added.
Akıncı noted that the Turkish Cypriot side sought the security and freedom of not only Turkish Cypriots but Greek Cypriots as well.
“We could not accept the removal of our only source of security when the bitter experiences of the past are still so fresh and without living and seeing what will happen. There is nothing in this that is in line with good will and sincerity”, he said, adding that the Greek Cypriot side’s reluctance to accept a rotating presidency and active participation in decision making was proof of this.
“The Greek Cypriot side, which has been control of the state since 1964, is having difficultly sharing this with us. It is finding it difficult to come to terms with the very basic essence and principle of a settlement”, he added.
President Akıncı pointed out that on the remaining issues, the Greek Cypriot side came to the table with proposals that would make things difficult for Turkish Cypriots and which would undermine the Turkish Cypriot economy.
“The Greek Cypriots refused to understand that the uncertainty of the property rules they proposed would become an important reason for a possible settlement plan to be rejected in a future referendum”.
Akıncı also accused the Greek Cypriot side of provoking EU officials regarding the issue of equal status of Turkish and Greek nationals in the event of a settlement through a campaign of lies.
Recalling the statements made by the Greek Cypriot leadership following Crans-Montana for the need for Turkish Cypriots “to cut their umbilical cord from Turkey”, President Akıncı said that the Turkish Cypriot side did not need to prove its readiness to reach a settlement.
“You will do everything in your power to prevent any foreign contact and to ensure that we continue our lives under embargoes through the fear that the status of the Turkish Cypriots might be upgraded. Then you will tell us to ‘cut our umbilical cord’ with Turkey which is our only open channel to the world… What kind of a mentality is this?” he asked, adding that the Greek Cypriot side’s refusal to bring to life certain confidence building measures was the biggest proof of this attitude.
Akıncı concluded his speech by stating that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will continue to improve and develop itself domestically while continuing its responsibility towards building a peaceful future on this island.