President Mustafa Akinci has said that “it is the first time that Germany, one of the leading countries in Europe, has shown such an interest in the solution of the Cyprus problem”.
Speaking after his meeting with German foreign affairs minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Akinci added that the stance of the German officials is to develop relations with the Turkish Cypriot side which is an important development.
The president said that a very constructive meeting was held with Steinmeier and that they had the opportunity to evaluate the current state of the negotiating process.
Stressing that he travelled to Germany upon the invitation of Steinmeier, Akinci said that the Turkish Cypriot side is one of the two equal sides of federal Cyprus and the development of relations from today will be beneficial.
Commenting on the election which will be held in the Greek Cypriot side, Akinci argued that even though the Greek Cypriot side says that the elections will not influence the negotiations, it has slowed down the process.
Akinci said: “Everyone can see that there is a slowdown in the negotiation process. If we want to turn 2016 into a year of peace, we need to enter into a speedier process as of the end of May. We are determined on this issue”.
Upon a question whether the reunited East and West Germany model has been used as an example in the negotiations in order to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, Akinci said that the Cypriots are trying to solve the problem considering the sui generis reality of the Cyprus issue, however, they can benefit from the experiences of other countries.
Asked to comment on the statement made by Turkish Minister for European Affairs Volkan Bozkir who said, “despite the fact that many years have passed after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cyprus problem has not been resolved yet”, Akinci argued that the Turkish Cypriots had done their part to demolish the wall in the 2004 referendum, and added that the Turkish Cypriots are not the reason for the wall still standing.
Saying that “the Turkish Cypriots made gaps in the existing wall” by removing the visa requirement for those who cross over to the Turkish Cypriot side, Akinci concluded by saying: “Our wish is to remove this wall completely, and this will not be done by the efforts of one side alone. Both sides should do their part and this time we will get two ‘yes’ votes at the referendum”.