Greek Cypriot president to Turks: Trust me
Yorgo KIRBAKİ HÜRRİYET / NICOSIA
'It’s a dream in which my kids and grandsons live in a country where they are evaluated on their personalities and principles,' says Nicos Anastasiades.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has called on the Turkish side to trust him ahead of a second round of peace talks which are scheduled for this week.
Asked why a Turkish Cypriot should believe in the head of Greek Cyprus’ government, Anastasiades said: “I’m reversing the question, why doesn’t he believe me? I’m coming from a village where Turkish and Greek Cypriots lived together.”
After an almost two-year-long hiatus, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders held their first meeting in early February, issuing a joint declaration that outlines the way forward for a solution to the crisis that has gripped the island for half a century.
“My family had brotherly ties with families that I respect and appreciate. As a citizen of Cyprus and a Cypriot politician, I want the nation to unite,” he said, speaking to daily Hürriyet at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia. The president also cited a memory in which his father, a commissary at the village of Silikou in Limassol, saved Turkish Cypriots from Greek Cypriots fanatics in 1974.
Pressed on a possible solution to the decades-long problem, Anastasiades said his vision was reminiscent of the dream of U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King. “[It’s] a dream in which my kids and grandsons live in a country where they are evaluated on their personalities and principles, not their national roots or religions.”
Anastasiades also said he did not want to imagine a scenario in which the negotiations fail. “It will be a day of mourning, anger and shame when a deadlock is officially announced. Each day passing without a solution is a day of sadness for Cypriots.”
Both communities cannot reach a solution easily, he added.
On Turkey’s EU accession process, Anastasiades said Greek Cyprus wanted to see Turkey in the union. “Turkey’s moving away from the EU does not serve our interests. We have a thousand reasons to want our neighbor to be closer to Europe and no reason to isolate them,” he added.