President Mustafa Akinci has said that there is no deadlock in the negotiations. After a three hour meeting with President Anastasiades at the weekend, he said that difficult issues are being discussed and they will exert efforts to intensify the process.
Akinci noted that if agreement could be reached on outstanding points in four chapters where there has been consensus, he expressed the hope that 2016 will be the year “in which we take a step towards lasting peace in Cyprus, concluding at the end with the issues of territory, security and guarantees. We can achieve an agreement which the people on both sides will approve and may gain a much better future for Cyprus than exists today”.
Replying to a question on the issue of the rotating presidency, Akinci said: “Our understanding is there. They have problems on this issue. This is what they say. Therefore, there is no agreement yet on this issue. However, I think that reaching a consensus is inevitable, because our stance on this issue is very clear and evident“.
Referring to the issue of citizenships which the Turkish President Erdogan had recently raised during a meeting with a Turkish Cypriot delegation in Ankara, Akinci claimed: “My views on this issue are not a secret. I am negotiating at the table according to the TRNC’s official data. I cannot turn this data into a scratch pad every now and then. Therefore, serious negotiations must continue”. He recalled that he has repeatedly expressed the view that all TRNC citizens should become citizens of a United Cyprus and the EU. During the election campaign, he had stated that the Turkish settlers came to Cyprus 40 years ago, got married, had children and established businesses and “therefore they will have a place in the county’s future”.
He added that this is based on official data and that in addition, there are also laws made by the government. He noted that he does not agree with mass granting of citizenship and has absolutely no problem saying this openly. Recalling that in 2003 and 2004, citizenship had been granted to many persons but the court annulled them, Akinci added: “Granting citizenship to thousands of people is one thing and citizenship naturally developed is another. I must be careful at the negotiating table, because we have carried out negotiations until today with data on population numbers that we have. The data I have are the official data of the country, given by the Ministry of the Interior“.
Akinci said that in the beginning of Saturday’s meeting they discussed the statements made recently by both leaders to the press. He argued that there is nothing more natural than the leaders’ expressing their positions to their communities from time to time, but the points of “common understanding” should be announced together, side by side. “I think that this is how we will continue”, he noted.