Both communities on the island, in particular the Turkish Cypriots, are tired of the pursuit of a Cyprus settlement, President Mustafa Akinci has said.
He added that this may be the last opportunity to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Speaking to a group of foreign journalists, who were in the TRNC to cover the 41st anniversary of Turkey’s peace keeping mission in 1974, Akinci said that there was much to be discussed in the negotiations in order to reach a solution. If talks continue at their current pace, it could be possible to find a solution within months he added.
Noting that the Turkish Cypriots do not want a solution, which could be jeopardised in the future, Akinci said: “We do not want a solution contrary to human rights. This agreement should be harmonious with the EU acquis and human rights. In the agreement to be reached with the Greek Cypriots, every community will dominate in its region and will be self-administered. We want to see that these principles will be permanent. In other words, a balance should be formed between the bi-zonal bi-community and the EU principles”.
Noting that the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots had to move en masse from their homes in 1974, Akinci said that after 41 years, they have created new lives.
Akinci explained that after the Cyprus settlement, the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots will be able to reside in the places they want under certain conditions. He also said that the Greek Cypriots, who settle in the North and the Turkish Cypriots, who settle in the South, will have political rights and will be able to participate in the local elections or the EU elections. However, Akinci explained that should they become residents of the other side, they will be able to be candidates for the House of Representatives, but in the Senate, there will have to be an equal number of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots and added: “For this reason, political equality should be protected”.
Noting that the guarantor countries’ support for the Cyprus settlement is important, Akinci said that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s messages at the celebrations of the 41st anniversary of Peace and Freedom Day were important.
Asked what will be the name of the country after the agreement, Akinci said that the name, which is on the agenda, is the United Cyprus Federation, noting that the context of the agreement is more important than the name. Akinci also said that he thinks that in case a solution is not found, then the younger generations will forget the model of reunification of the island and will focus on the model of two separate states.
Akinci said that all the issues in relation to the guarantors and the territorial issues were discussed, except for the names and the quotas/percentages.
Asked about Turkey issuing further NAVTEX (Notice to Mariners), Akinci said that they have reached a mutual understanding with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades on the issue that it will not create any more problems. He added that the natural gas found around Cyprus should be used as a tool to help the solution. Recalling the views of specialists, Akinci said that the best method to transfer the natural gas to Europe is through Turkey. Akinci also said: “We do not expect any new Navtex or exploration [by Turkey] in the coming months”.
Referring to the Federal Police, Akinci said that the ratio will be 50-50 or 40-60, but they have not reached any agreement with the Greek Cypriot side on the issue of the army. He added that there may not even be an army.
Noting that they should examine the collapse of the Republic of Cyprus in 1963 in order to understand the Cyprus problem. Akinci said that the main aim of the Greek Cypriots at that time, was unification with Greece. However, he said that he believes that this threat no longer exists.
Asked to comment on Russia’s stance regarding the Cyprus talks, Akinci said that Russia can and should play an important role. He added that during a meeting with the Russian Ambassador to Cyprus, the Ambassador gave his support for the efforts to find a Cyprus settlement.