Former TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat said that even a minor change in the constitution is a sign of progress, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reports.
Speaking on a television broadcast, Talat said, “It was important to [discard] the excuse for not changing the constitution. During the making of constitutional amendments the most important thing is developing a reconciliation culture. This reconciliation culture will also be useful during the negotiations and during their aftermath”.
Commenting on Article 10 [Respect for human dignity] in the section on human rights and criticisms of amendments to it, Talat said revision of Article 10 was possible if there was enough consensus.
Speaking about the unfortunate incident where police cleared a Maronite Church of its worshippers in the middle of a religious service on the grounds that they did not have permission, Talat said:
“I was terribly sad learning that the ceremony was interrupted. What did we gain by doing that? Was it a display of power? What we should have done was to show some tolerance and let people complete their ceremony”.
The religious authorities in that region were aware of the ceremony. It was very wrong to interrupt the last ten minutes of the ceremony. With this we proved to the entire world that we have a coordination problem among our authorities.
I think the requirement for permission is only for safety measures”
Talat also said that to his knowledge the Cypriot Maronites who held the ceremony in Değirmenlik were not from the community residing in the north.
“This shows the importance of minority rights and the fact that the law protecting minority rights was left out of the constitution is a major shortcoming”, added Talat.
Responding to a question about Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami’s comments regarding progress in the Cyprus negotiations where Nami had claimed that the talks were not going well, Talat said that he shared the same opinion.
When reminded about President Eroğlu’s statements on the negotiations in which he said that negotiations had not collapsed, Talat said, “The President said negotiations have not collapsed and they are ongoing, but we observe that they are not going well” .