It is up to the Greek Cypriots, whether or not the Cyprus negotiations resume, said President Mustafa Akinci, two days before the scheduled community leaders’ meeting.
“It was wrong that the door was slammed … It is in their [the Greek Cypriots’] hands to return [to the negotiation table] by fixing the situation,” said Akinci at a joint press conference held with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Nicosia.
President Akinci was referring to his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, who stormed out of a leaders’ meeting on 16th February held under the auspices of UN special envoy Espen Barth Eide, when the controversial issue of the recent “Enosis” law was being talked about.
Tensions soared over a law passed by the Greek Cypriot parliament that will now permit the celebration of a 1950 referendum, when 96% of Greek Cypriots voted for the island to be united with Greece, which is known as “Enosis” in Greek.
Anastasiades denied Akinci’s claims that he had slammed the door and left the meeting, while also accusing Akinci of storming out of the meeting.
Eide said it was Akinci who stormed off but the Turkish Cypriot leader on 17th February accused the UN diplomat of “hiding half of the truth.”
“The negativity [brought by the passing of the Enosis law] that has been experienced needs to be fixed,” Akinci said today. “We have not stopped the negotiations process.”
Akinci made two conditions for the process to be fixed.
He said Anastasiades needed to publicly announce that the “Enosis” decision was wrong, which Akinci said Anastasiades had told him during the latest leaders’ meeting, in such a way that the Greek and Turkish Cypriot nations would hear this clearly, along with the rest of the world.
Akinci said the second move to undo the negative outcome was for Anastasiades to rescind the law.
Commenting on whether a planned leaders’ meeting arranged for Thursday would take place, President Akinci said he would welcome the special representative of the UN secretary-general, Elizabeth Spehar, later in the day and would ask her what kind of communications the UN has had with the Greek Cypriot side, in order to solve the issue and how they responded to Akinci’s conditions.
“We will decide [whether to attend Thursday’s meeting] after evaluating all of these,” Akinci said.
He also noted that the ongoing negotiations for reunification of Cyprus were the last chance for the island and that they had come to the last stage of the peace talks with the realisation of the five-party conference in January in Geneva, with the participation of the three guarantor states, Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
President Akinci said the Greek Cypriots should understand the importance of the forthcoming few months, as nothing stays the same and “the demography and physical situation” of the island may also change.
Cavusoglu, for his part, said the people who wanted “Enosis” should “come to their senses,” adding that the Greek Cypriot side should “mend their ways and return to the negotiation table.”
“They should give up their dreams,” the Turkish FM said.
Cavusoglu said that with the “Enosis” law to be taught in schools, the Greek Cypriots had demonstrated “their real intention.”
“The Greek Cypriot side of the island and also the world needs to accept that the Turkish Cypriot side is an equal nation and member of the island,” he said, adding that if this was not recognised, then it would be reluctant to make a deal to reunite Cyprus.