President Mustafa Akinci has commented on the upcoming meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasaides on Tuesday, 26 February.
Asked what his expectations are, Akinci said:
“This meeting is not planned as a meeting to resume the negotiations process. Because if there is a common ground or not, will emerge only after Lute’s [Jane Holl Lute] work. However, this meeting may be helpful for Mrs Lute’s efforts to be clarified. But after this meeting, don’t expect ‘we met, we discussed and we agreed that the negotiations start on this day’. It is not the purpose of this meeting. The meeting on the 26th serves the following purpose: the elimination of the confusion which is necessary. What does the esteemed Greek Cypriot leader really propose by referring to decentralisation? If what he proposes is ‘let us give more authorities to the constituent/founding states, but in the authorities that will remain in the federal partnership, I, alone, will take the decisions without Turkish Cypriots having a say on it’, this will not be even a starting point.”
Asked to comment whether what is meant regarding the decentralised approach is an autonomous region to be given to the Turkish Cypriots inside the Republic of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots to govern the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots just to govern themselves in their autonomous region, Akinci replied:
“You can also interpret it like this, you can say that minority rights are being proposed, you can also say that they mock our intelligence. Because it is an issue for the stance of the Greek Cypriot leader that he is moving away from what has been agreed and these approaches have been now criticised even within the Greek Cypriot side. Even the newspaper ‘Alithia’, which is known for its support of Anastasiades, has published an important analysis on this issue by saying that this does not work.
“Look, if we are talking about a federal state, it means sharing of powers, but it also means effective participation, and political equality. The political equality, as it has been defined by the UN, includes the representation of both sides in all bodies and the effective participation in all decision-making, even if it does not mean numerical equality in every federal body. There is an agreement on the Council of Ministers: 7 to 4. Seven Greek Cypriots, four Turkish Cypriots and there will be one positive vote from each side. And of course, there are some decisions that should be taken and have not been taken, and this is going to prevent the implementation of a number of international obligations of the Cyprus federal partnership, a deadlock will be created and the mechanisms for the resolution of this deadlock have been established. There may even be cases that will be transferred to the federal judiciary.”
Akinci further rejected the claim that the majority will be held to ransom by the 18% minority, adding:
“If you approach the federation, with the minority-majority concept, then it will never be a partnership, a federation. This is what if I often say ‘this mentality should change’. If you establish a federation, there is no size. For example, in Belgium, there are 6 million Flemish, 3 million Walloons and the common federal state includes an equal number of ministers. There are many cantons in Switzerland, with a rotating president every year. Although the population rates are different, Bosnia and Herzegovina is chaired equally for 8 months”.
Akinci further argued that if they continue to insist on taking a step back from what has already being agreed, then it means Mrs Lute will not be able to find common ground on the meeting. He reiterated that it is not possible to abandon political equality and the effective participation in decision-making. He further argued that if Anastasiades’ intention of decentralisation should be made up of two wings and no common authority, then this is not a federation but two separate states.