President Mustafa Akinci has said that complete withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus is impossible. In an interview broadcast by the BBC’s Turkish service, he said that “This is a red line for the Turkish Cypriot side.” He added that a limited number of troops would remain on the island as of necessity, in the event of a Cyprus settlement.
Referring to the forthcoming Geneva summit, Akinci stated that if Greece and south Cyprus insist on a settlement which includes “no guarantees and no armies,” then the “negotiations will end before they even begin.”
Akinci argued that his demand for a Turkish military presence on the island and a system of guarantees, which the Greek side wants to scrap as an “anachronism,” stemmed from his desire “not to experience war again.”
“I want a preventive force so that we don’t live through such days of war again,” he said, adding that Turkey would not annex the north, in the event that the negotiations and the summit do not lead to a solution. “The Turkish Cypriots do not have such a wish”, he said. “What the Turkish Cypriots want is a solution that will provide safety for them. What kind of solution? A bi-communal federation. If this is not possible then the TRNC will continue its road. […] Life will go on”, he said.
Akinci further stated that he hoped that there will be a positive outcome from the Geneva summit. However, he said that we should not expect all the parameters of the Cyprus problem to be solved but a framework to be set.
He also said that the aim is to create an environment in Geneva so that a referendum could be held in the spring of 2017.