Turkish Cypriot leader urges realism for peace talks
NICOSIATurkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı called Nov. 2 for “realism and reasonable” approaches from the Greek Cypriots ahead of U.N.-backed talks aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is to open a five-day summit in Geneva on Nov. 7 between Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades for talks billed as the last best chance for an enduring peace deal.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot state in the south after a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus unification with Greece which was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
“We want the Greeks [Cypriots] to leave to one side their wholesale approaches. We want them to come with realism and reasonable limits,” Akıncı was quoted as saying by AFP during a speech.
“We want them to understand that we cannot come to a resolution with a ‘zero soldiers, zero guarantees, we won’t accept anything’ mentality,” he said.
The two leaders restarted peace talks in May 2015 after Akıncı was elected as president of Turkish Cyprus.
For the first time, Akıncı and Anastasiades are to discuss territorial adjustments in Mont Pelerin, near Geneva after negotiations were launched in May 2015.
The Turkish Cypriot leader said the goal was to achieve a federal structure with two regions and two communities based on a political balance between the two founding states that both parties can agree to.
Akıncı has previously said he hopes that a roadmap for reunification can be agreed before the end of the year.
“If we leave without a result, then in 2017 the Cyprus problem has come to a point when we must put it in everyone’s hat for them to think about it,” he said.
“This is not something that we can keep discussing after 50 years for another 50 years. Everyone, including the U.N., is aware of this.”
Espen Barth Eide, special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said on Nov. 1 that a deal to find a peaceful solution to the more than 40-year-old conflict on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus is closer than ever and could be clinched by the end of this year.
Eide, who has presided over dozens of sessions involving Anastasiades and Akıncı since the latter’s election in 2015, said “practically every meeting” had yielded more convergence.
“It is possible to arrive at a comprehensive political settlement [by the end of the year] but we have to use every single day from now on to maximum effect to do so,” Eide said at the conference in Cyprus’s divided capital Nicosia.