President Nicos Anastasiades has blamed Turkey for the collapse of the Cyprus negotiations because Ankara is waiting for the referendum to be held on 16th April on an executive-style presidency.
“The vote is nothing else than a pretext to cover problems President Erdogan may be facing in his bid to pass his constitutional amendments,” Anastasiades told Athens News Agency in an interview.
“He would not like to lose votes by making decisions that would displease nationalist voters,” he added.
Anastasiades also said that last week’s decision by President Mustafa Akinci to suspend the talks, were because of Turkey’s political reasons as much as Akinci’s displeasure over parliament approving a bill to honour a referendum 67 years ago in favour of Enosis (unification with Greece.)
“It was an unfortunate and untimely decision by parliament and at the same time an immaterial one,” Anastasiades said.
“But it was not reason enough for Akinci to storm out of the meeting,” he added.
Anastasiades also said that if Akinci is not using Turkey’s forthcoming referendum as an excuse to delay the talks, he should return to the negotiating table.
The abrupt ending of last week’s leaders’ meeting presented another stumbling block after the Cyprus guarantors Turkey, Greece and Britain, could not agree on how security should be maintained in the event of reunification of the island.
Turkey, which still maintains an army in the north following an “invasion” in 1974, is the only one insisting on keeping that anachronistic role in a reunited EU-member Cyprus.
At the same time, Anastasiades said a demand by the Turkish side for the four basic freedoms of the European Union to be granted to Turkish nationals post-reunification was unacceptable.
Last month, Ankara issued a demand that after a Cyprus settlement, Turkish nationals should be given the four EU freedoms – movement of people, goods, services and capital – in a federal Cyprus.