Political equality a must for solution, says Turkish Cypriot leader
NICOSIATurkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı has said “political equality” is a must for the Turkish Cypriots in order to reach a solution on the divided Mediterranean island, adding that the Turkish Cypriots are willing to give land in exchange.
“A solution in Cyprus can only be realized with the return of our [Turkish Cypriots’] political equality within a federal [state] framework, which we have been deprived of since 1963 by the Greek Cypriots, and the return of some land to them [Greek Cypriots] that they have been deprived of by us since 1974 as a result of the war,” said Akıncı on Jan. 29 in a written statement.
His remarks came a few days after he expressed hope over the ongoing Cyprus peace talks on Jan. 26, making a call to all parties in the process to put “extra effort” into solving the conflict.
“We are at a very critical phase of the Cyprus negotiations and we are at a point where we can really reach a result,” said Akıncı on Jan. 26 after a four-hour meeting with his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, in Nicosia under the auspices of the United Nations.
Akıncı, meanwhile, accepted British High Commissioner to Cyprus Matthew Kidd on Jan. 30, at his presidential office.
He said on Jan. 29 that if the negotiations process results in a peace deal then the Turkish Cypriots would themselves be able to decide in a public vote on whether they wanted to live in an internationally recognized country that got rid of the uncertainty over its future, or a country where its share of land is a few percent greater but the legality of this land is questioned at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Akıncı was referring to Turkish Cypriot’s offer of about 29 percent of land on the island to be kept by the Turkish Cypriots in the event that a deal is reached for a bi-communal and bi-zonal agreement. The Greek Cypriots had proposed that Turkish Cypriots hold around 28 percent of land at the talks in Geneva on Jan. 11.
The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey intervened in the northern part of the island following a coup aimed at unification with Greece.
On Jan. 12, a five-part conference was held in Geneva with the participation of the three guarantors of the island: Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
While an expert-level working group convened on Jan. 18-19 to tackle remaining obstacles to a solution, Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades are scheduled to meet in Nicosia on Feb. 1 in order to design a roadmap for the path ahead.