President Mustafa Akinci said that the presidential elections should reflect the will of the people.
Speaking in an extensive interview with journalists, President Akinci was asked about his troubled relationship with Turkey and if that would be a disadvantage to him as a candidate for re-election in the presidential elections. Recalling that he was the first to oppose the armed intervention against the Turkish people on July 15, 2016 during the attempted coup by the Turkish military, Akinci said:
“….I believe this: After the elections, things will calm down and we will all open our sails together for a new period with a relationship of mutual respect. Because it is futile to make an enemy of Turkey through the Turkish Cypriot people and their leadership here. There is no such thing and there can be no such thing. We are people who want only the good of Turkey. We realise that if her lot improves it will be much better for us too.
“But there is still something, we are a community that wants to exist with our own values, with our own democratic secular perception on this soil, as self-sufficiently dignified people with heads held high, who have the ability to govern themselves, with their own special identity and character. This society is going to the elections. […] When there is even the slightest hint of intervention, everyone should say ‘stop’. We are a democratic community and we have the right and the ability to maintain this social structure and to determine our leadership in the best way. I know this, I say this and there is no reason for Turkey to have bad relations with the Turkish Cypriot leader, the President of the TRNC who will be elected in this way. That’s how I see things.”
Akinci said that is was possible that Varosha was on the agenda today because of the Tina Loizidou (1995) case and the establishment of the Immovable Property Commission (IPC). The Greek Cypriots were directed to make their applications for compensation for lost property to the IPC. He said that around 6-7,000 applications were made to the IPC, and between 6-700 were dealt with some receiving compensation, while other are still waiting.
Currently there are applications to the EctHR, he said. One of which has been selected as a test case which will affect compensation for properties in Varosha, said Akinci.
The worst outcome is that there will be no solution to the Cyprus problem and the two communities will go their separate ways, President Akinci said. “I see this as a faint possibility”.
Akinci said that he was a candidate who wanted to uphold international law adding, “Of course, I will ask for the issue of Varosha to contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem. I never wanted it to remain stagnant. That is why I took the initiative five years ago. I do not believe that Varosha can be manipulated outside the presidency of the republic and achieve a result. I do not foresee this, because as soon as these elections are over and when the conditions of the pandemic allow, UN Secretary-General Guterres will press the button for an informal five-way meeting. What they are waiting for is the end of the elections and the first to propose the informal five-party conference is Turkey. Therefore, as soon as the climate is right, the informal five-way conference will knock on our door to clarify what everyone wants and if there is an understanding, which I do not see the reason why it should not exist, then it will we evolve, step by step, towards the solution after that “.
Tension Over Marine Territory in E. Mediterranean
Akinci was asked how the tensions over drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean could be resolved if the Cyprus problem is not resolved. The situation was unsustainable, he said. Continuing in this manner will result in a complete dead end as far as the Cyprus issue is concerned. This will strengthen the case for partition and the Greek Cypriots should consider this, he said. In Varosha there will be losses beyond that, something we should never want and the Greek Cypriots should think about that too, said Akinci.
Options for Tackling the Impasse in the E. Mediterranean
President Akinci said that there are three scenarios, which are: either a moratorium on drilling activities until the issues are resolved, or a dialogue on the proposal submitted by the Turkish Cypriots [shared management of hydrocarbon exploration offshore Cyprus] or everyone goes his own way.
Referring to the tension that was created by the overlap of maritime zonal rights after the Turkey-Libya and Greece-Egypt agreement, Akinci said:
“But when you look there, you see Cyprus. In my opinion, the link is there. That is, until the Cyprus issue is resolved, the equation of the Eastern Mediterranean will continue to remain unresolved. Of course, the following can be said: Yes, Turkey is an important player in this geographical region of the Eastern Mediterranean, it is a country with a long coastline. There are also Turkish Cypriots on this island. It is not possible for us to be left out.
“In a prudent plan that will include all those who have a share, both the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey must take their place. There is no other way. However, the Greek Cypriot side have taken advantage of the problems that Turkey is facing with some countries in the region. […] What can be described as the most absurd is the East Med plan, [The Eastern Mediterranean pipeline or simply EastMed is a planned offshore/onshore natural gas pipeline, directly connecting East Mediterranean energy resources to mainland Greece via Cyprus and Crete] which is far from economic logic, However, Italy has also approved this plan and support is provided for a plan that is not at all wise on the axis of Israel, southern Cyprus, Crete, Italy. If the Cyprus issue is resolved, it can be a catalyst. […] The development of the relations of a federal Cyprus with Turkey will be for the benefit of both Turkey and this country.”