‘United Cyprus Federation’ under discussion: Turkish Cypriot leader Akıncı
Ömer Bilge / NICOSIA
CİHAN photoA “United Cyprus Federation” has been on the agenda of resumed negotiations with the Greek side of the divided island, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı has said.
All issues, excluding the current guarantor system, are on the table of talks, Akıncı told journalists on the sidelines of the July 20 ceremonies marking the 41th anniversary of the Turkish military intervention on the island following a pro-Greek coup.
The name used for a unified Cyprus plan rejected by the Greek side in 2004, known as the “Annan Plan” in reference to the then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, was “United Federal Republic of Cyprus.”
If negotiations continue at the current pace, a solution to the decades-long Cyprus issue could be shaped within months, Akıncı said.
Commenting on the possible structure of the to-be-found state, he said the percentage of soil left to Greeks and Turks on the island, as well as the places to be shared, have been left to later stages of the talks.
The guarantor statuses of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom have also been left out of the debate so far, Akıncı also stated.
According to the plan, Turkish and Greek states will be founded first for the Cypriot federation, with each having their own citizenship system. The new state will have one lower and one higher parliament, while both Turkish and Greek Cypriots will have the right to reside in any part of the island.
Turks residing on the Greek side of the federation and Greeks living on the Turkish side will have the right to vote in both the state elections and the local elections where they live, as well as the right to vote in European Parliament elections.
However, they will not have the right to vote for or run in the elections of the opposite state, due to the large population gap between Turkish and Greek Cypriots in the favor of the latter.
This restriction, intended to guarantee equality, is against the current EU code, so it requires approval in the parliaments of all EU member states in order to avoid a constitutional crisis in the future, Akıncı stated.
The police forces of the proposed new federal state will consist either of 40 percent Turks and 60 percent Greeks, or 50 percent each, but Akıncı stressed that the exact ratios have yet to be outlined.