President Mustafa Akıncı has said that the principles in the Guterres Framework were not only about security, guarantees and troops but also included provisions regarding political equality, territory and property.
Stating that the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had created this framework because he believed that a way forward could be found in the event an agreement on strategic issues was reached, Akıncı said that the framework was not open to any discussion or negotiation.
“Are these principles being accepted or not? If they are then I am ready to accept them…they (the Greek Cypriot side) too should announce it”, he added.
In an interview to BRT and TAK news agency, the President said that the way for new negotiations could be opened if the principles in the Guterres Framework could be opened.
Pointing out that the framework consisted of all elements that made up talks and discussions on the Cyprus Problem over the years, Akıncı said that they expected and felt the need for the document presented to them during the Conference on Cyprus to be transformed into a package.
“The Greek Cypriot side tried during the conference to sideline the six-point framework as a whole and to create the perception that the conference was only focused on security and guarantees. However the framework is not only about troops or guarantees. It includes other elements pertaining to political equality, territory and property”, he pointed out.
Repeating his proposal for the Guterres framework to be announced as a strategic package agreement, Akıncı said that negotiations, subject to a timetable could begin if the principles included in the framework were accepted.
“The framework clearly refers to the concept of political equality, the issue of maps, property, equal treatment of Turkish and Greek nationals and the issues of security and guarantees”, he said, adding that the issue of a rotating presidency was clearly settled by the Guterres Framework.
“The framework goes as far as stating that the ratio of the rotational presidency will be 2:1. Another key element of the framework is effective participation in decision making. Decisions will require at least one vote in favour from the two communities and a mechanism aimed at solving deadlocks will be applied. This is clearly seen in the framework.”
Akıncı pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side had adopted a rejectionist stance before Crans-Montana and had presented a written response stating that they had already established the political equality of Turkish Cypriots and were against the principle of rotational presidency.
He stated that the Greek Cypriots had changed their stance towards the end of the negotiations, setting aside an earlier agreement and accepting the notion of a rotational presidency.
“What was that earlier agreement? There would be co-presidents which would be elected separately by their own communities. Instead they came with a new proposal for a single ticket voting system similar to that in the United States where you have a president and a vice president. This proposal was made here as well and has been rejected by our side for years. This was the tactic they resorted to in the end”, he said.
Pointing out that there was no such thing in the Guterres Framework, Akıncı said that the framework made clear references to a system of rotational presidency and effective participation in decision making.
“If the Greek Cypriot side truly accepts this document as it is, it means that they have accepted the Turkish Cypriot side’s political equality under a federal structure”, he added.
“This is what the Guterres Framework is saying” said Akıncı .
He reminded that the Greek Cypriot side had rejected outright the Turkish Cypriot side’s map at the11 January Geneva Conference and instead had presented an unacceptable and maximalist map of its own.
“The basis for the Guterres framework under the territorial adjustment chapter is the map presented by the Turkish Cypriot side and not the Annan Plan map or the Greek Cypriot side’s map”, Akıncı stressed.
In regards to the property issue, the TRNC President stated that the Guterres framework envisions two property regimes.
“The framework envisions the creation of a system whereby the right to stay will be given to the old owner for property left in the south and to the current users for the property left in the north. This would protect the rights of those people living in the properties.”
He said that they were waiting for the Greek Cypriot side to announce whether or not they accepted this principle.
On the issue of equal treatment of Turkish and Greek nationals, Akıncı stated that the framework following the solution, envisions a fair and equal approach with applications for permanent residency.
Akıncı added that there is no four-to-one ratio mentioned in the framework nor is there such a proposal or numerical expression.
“This is their own interpretation. This is the aspect the Greek Cypriots have been trying to water down. Attempts and false accusations are being made claiming that we are trying to open a gateway for Turkey’s 80 million citizens to enter Europe. May I point out the absurdity of this as I would like to remind everyone that Turkey is part of the EU Customs Union and enjoys freedom of goods and capital within the bloc”, he stated.
On the issue of security and guarantees, President Mustafa Akıncı points out that the Guterres Framework states that the unilateral right of intervention of the guarantor countries is not sustainable.
“It doesn’t say that it should be scrapped from day one. It just states that it is not sustainable and envisions switching to a new security arrangement that the sides will agree on. It mentions mechanism that will be accepted by both sides and which will include the guarantor countries.
It mentions the creation of an arrangement in which one side’s security will not pose a threat to the other side’s security”, he said.
As regards the issue of troops, Akıncı said that the Guterres Framework addresses this issue under a separate heading, stating that the decisions regarding the timetable and conditions for troop withdrawal should be done at a higher level – perhaps with the participation of the prime ministers.
Akıncı said that contrary to Greek Cypriot claims, there was no mention of zero troops-zero guarantees in the framework.
Responding to criticisms towards his call to the Greek Cypriot side regarding the framework, Akıncı said that he will not disregard these criticisms but added that the people must be confident.
“We are not trying to do anything behind their back. The final decision will eventually be given by the people. I am only interested in and focused on the best interests of the Turkish Cypriot people”, he concluded.