President Mustafa Akıncı gave a conference at the Near East University titled ‘The latest phase reached on the Cyprus issue following the last two years”.
He began by noting that in the past two years, parties in the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus had worked closely together and added that during this time, two UN Secretary-Generals had come to office.
“Ban Ki-Moon described the Cyprus issue as unprecedented and Guterres had said it was an historical opportunity” reminded President Akıncı.
Explaining that for the first time the Cyprus negotiations process had entered a phase where a five- party conference was able to take place, Akıncı said that he had been criticised widely regarding the issue of maps but added that, if he too had not presented a map, then the Cyprus negotiations would not have reached the stage that they had today.
Noting that when he took over the presidential office, he had not expected the Cyprus negotiations to begin so quickly, President Akıncı said that within two weeks of coming to office, the negotiations had begun and he had carried out a string of meetings with the negotiators and committees.
“A basis had been formed but only on paper, not within the Greek Cypriot mentality”, said the President.
Noting that no Turkish Cypriot will accept zero troops or zero security on the island, President Akıncı said “as the Turkish Cypriot side we showed flexibility on all chapters during the Cyprus negotiations process, we were positive and displayed a constructive stance. Turkey also showed the necessary flexibility and gave clear messages on this but the Greek Cypriot side did not choose the future generations but instead chose the upcoming elections”.
Explaining that within the Cyprus negotiations process they had given great importance to confidence building measures but that when it came to implementing these, they were met with great obstacles. President Akıncı said that the Greek Cypriot side always acted with the mentality that they were the state and the Turkish Cypriots were nothing.
“We have not given up on our hopes of a federation but all sides must accept this. The Greek Cypriot side is not taking the necessary steps. It’s not internalising the fact that we are in fact an equal entity on the island”, said Akıncı.
Touching upon the latest decision handed down by the European Court of Human Rights regarding the Immovable Property Commission in Cyprus, the President said that he had for some time now been warning the commission that more funding needed to be found and that the process needed to be accelerated.
He said that as the Turkish Cypriot leader, he had fulfilled all of his duties but that the Greek Cypriot leader had not and added that the Greek Cypriot side must realise what is possible and what is not and accept this.
“We will not become trapped in the buffer zone and discuss the same issues over again. The time for open ended talks are over. I will not play a part in such a process. [UNSG] Guterres has said that he will act according to the requests we make. We have given him the necessary message. A new approach is needed, maybe some form of a package within a certain time frame” said President Akıncı.