The time has come to decide whether to settle the Cyprus problem under a federal roof or to continue the status quo, President Mustafa Akinci has said.
Addressing a press conference, Akinci said that the Greek Cypriot side needed to be open and clear and that the only thing that could reunify the island was a federal solution.
The press conference was not intended to respond to Anastasiades’ own press conference held last week, the president noted, but to clarify his own views on reunification.
To date, all efforts had failed to produce a settlement in Cyprus, Akinci said, adding that it was time now for the two sides on the island and the third relevant parties to conduct an objective evaluation of the reasons why no solution to the Cyprus problem had been reached.
Akinci said that the reasons for a lack of a settlement were obvious.
“Everyone is aware of this fact. The reasons are obvious. The Turkish Cypriots will never accept being a minority in a unitary state governed by the Greek Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots will never accept the idea of a two-state solution.
“This is why he added that the formula – a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution was the only formula.”, he said”.
Continuation of the status quo would have negative impacts for both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. The reasonable thing to do was to establish an agreement within the framework of a federation, said Akinci.
A solution could only be based on the political equality of the two communities, a condition that has been engraved in numerous UN decisions, Secretary-Generals’ reports and in the 11 February 2014 joint declaration as well as in many of the convergences reached between the two sides, the president reminded.
“The fact that sovereignty will emanate from the two communities equally; the fact that the two constituent states will have equal status and will have equal powers and the fact that the relationship between the two communities will not be based on a majority-minority relationship are decisions that had been agreed upon between the two sides”, he emphasised.
Akinci clarified that political equality did not mean equal numbers of representation but effective participation in all organs and all decisions of the federal state.
Referring to the issues of sharing natural resources and having a say on its future, Akinci noted that last week, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had suggested that Turkish Cypriots should have no say in natural gas decisions because they wanted a pipeline to go through Turkey instead of Greece. Akinci said it demonstrated that neither the Turkish Cypriots nor Turkey had a place in energy policy, even after a solution.
The president said the example showed that Anastasiades “now considers the agreed effective participation of Turkish Cypriot ministers in the cabinet as void. Second, he does not see energy matters as being of vital importance to Turkish Cypriots …”
“By his own expression, Mr. Anastasiades accepts the concept of a positive vote for Turkish Cypriots in matters that are vital to them. In this respect, natural gas belonging to Cyprus and its transfer will be a matter for the Greek Cypriots even if after a federation is established. Can there be a logical explanation for this?” he asked.
President Akinci said throughout his entire political career, he had considered the aim of a federation feasible under the current circumstances and that is why “I wonder, when I see the Greek Cypriot leadership viewing federation as a painful compromise”.
The current reunification model is a logical solution that can unite the two communities who have been living separated for over four decades, Akinci said.
Pointing out that so far, the Greek Cypriot side throughout the course of the negotiations process, had always adopted a position in favour of a stronger central government, President Akinci said that even if the powers of the constituent states were to be enhanced, the remaining powers at federal level could not be taken on the basis of simple majority.
“This is something that the Turkish Cypriot side will never accept”, he said.
Pointing out that the UN Secretary-General’s Temporary Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute is expected to visit the island before the end of the year to complete her consultations, Akinci said that the question that needed to be answered was, “whether we will allow the future to be unclear and open to dangers, become the reason for new generations to face pain and anguish, or assume our responsibilities and act accordingly? Can we succeed and instead of sharing new pain in the future, share powers and prosperity? This is the question we have before us that must be urgently answered”.