President Mustafa Akinci has said the Greek Cypriot side was hiding behind its own excuses by accusing the Turkish Cypriot side.
Akinci also warned that the process ahead carried a number of risks.
Speaking to reporters at Ercan Airport yesterday before departing for Pakistan, the President said “If they’re going to take steps they should do it as soon as possible. This is our expectation. Then they will see whether or not the talks resume once they take the necessary steps.”
Pointing out that there were attempts to create the false impression that he was abandoning the negotiating table, Akinci said that they were not obligated to give information to anyone or to seek permission when carrying out visits abroad.
“We have responsibilities aside from the negotiations. We do not need to seek anyone’s permission when going somewhere. Nevertheless out of courtesy we informed our counterparts and the UN when planning for the meetings ahead that we would be unavailable at the end of February and beginning of March as we would be travelling to Pakistan. Both the Greek Cypriot side and the UN knew about this. It is unfortunate to see that this is being exploited and the wrong messages are being given by various circles” he said.
Also touching upon the developments following the Greek Cypriot House of Representative’s decision to commemorate the 1950 Enosis plebiscite at schools in the south, Akinci said that he was watching developments in astonishment and disappointment.
He said that he was shocked to see how there were attempts to downplay the importance of such a decision as well as to create the impression that the Turkish Cypriot side had abandoned the talks on the pretext of the upcoming referendum in Turkey.
“As I have said before, the arguments and claims that this crisis is linked with the referendum in Turkey are unnecessary. Turkey has made no such demand and does not have such a demand” he added.
Akinci pointed out that what was important for Turkey was for the two sides to agree on a settlement and a model where both sides can live in equality, freedom and security within the context of security and guarantees.
President Akinci also reminded that it was actually the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades who had requested for more time in the process.
“Anastasiades’ remarks are aimed at appeasing the church and the other Greek Cypriot parties rather than being directed at me” he said, adding that Turkish Cypriots had strong economic and social bonds with Turkey which would continue under the conditions of isolation that existed.
Responding to a question as to whether or not the talks will resume, Akinci said that this will not be easy but added that the Turkish Cypriot side was eager to see the Greek Cypriots take steps on the matter.
“If they do it they will do it. If they don’t we shall be evaluating our next steps with all segments of Turkish Cypriot society” he said.