Turkish Cypriot President Akinci has said that the economy was one of the building blocks of a settlement in Cyprus.
Akinci made the above statement during a meeting he had with the chairman of the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Ekrem Demirtas and his accompanying delegation.
The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) Fikri Toros was also present at the meeting.
Congratulating Akinci on his election success, Demirtas expressed the view that economy played an important role in peace processes. “When you leave the peace process to politicians, often you can experience deadlocks or stalemates”, he said.
Citing the example of Turkey and Greece, Demirtas said that Cyprus had great potential economically and could become the Singapore of the Mediterranean.
For his part, Akinci praised the activities of the Izmir Chamber of Commerce. Sharing Demirtas’s view that the economy was one of the building blocks of peace, Akinci said: “We need to find a formula that can safeguard the political stability and equality of the two communities so that they can live together in harmony. Living together on this island is our destiny”.
Reminding that the Turkish Cypriots had voted in favour of a settlement back in 2004 whilst the Greek Cypriots had rejected the Annan Plan, Akinci said that since then, time had only served to deepen the division between the two sides.
Touching upon the issue of hydrocarbons, Akinci expressed the view that natural gas should be used as a catalyst for a settlement.
“Common sense dictates to us that we should focus on preparing and planning for the future rather than fighting over the island’s natural resources and making threats. Perhaps there is still not enough gas found but it would only be logical to combine the island’s natural gas with that from Israel and sending it to Europe via Turkey. Only then can both sides benefit”, Akinci added.
Noting that naturally, obstacles will emerge in the talks, Akinci said that the important thing is to work towards overcoming them.