Akıncı invites counterpart back to Cyprus talks table
ISTANBULTurkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı has called on Greek Cyprus to see reason and return to peace talks after the latter canceled a meeting of the U.N.-brokered peace talks scheduled for May 27.
“It is understood that the Greek Cypriot administration is showing an unmeasured reaction. Therefore, I say that it should act with reason and logic,” Akıncı was quoted as saying on May 24, in a text released on the presidency’s website.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades cut short a trip to Turkey to attend the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) on May 23-24 and decided to cancel peace talks scheduled for May 27 due to anger over a perceived protocol breach at the WHS.
Akıncı held a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the WHS held in Istanbul, while also participating at a banquet held for heads of states and hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Our meeting with the secretary-general was only for a solution so that better days prevail in Cyprus,” Akıncı said, adding that Turkish Cyprus stood for a solution on the island and would “work for a solution with all its might.”
“But the Turkish Cypriot nation will not stay as a nation that is jammed only in Cyprus and only in the region in Nicosia. Everyone should perceive this and act accordingly,” he said.
Turkish Cypriots should not be forced to only meet the U.N. in New York or in Nicosia and the buffer zone, where peace talks have been held between the two communities under the auspices of the U.N. since the re-launch of the process in May 2015, Akıncı said.
The Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey intervened after a coup aimed at unification with Greece.
“This intolerance is really an unacceptable situation,” Akıncı said. “My meeting with the U.N. secretary general is not a sabotage of the solution process; on the contrary, it is a contribution.”
“It is really meaningless that our entity there [in Cyprus] cannot be accepted. Instead of acting with emotions and reactional behavior, there is a need to proceed on the right path with logic,” Akıncı said.
Akıncı said that they were seeking an opportunity to meet Ban in Istanbul for the WHS and that when it became certain that a meeting was to take place, he decided to fly to Istanbul.
Commenting on his attendance at the banquet on May 23, Akıncı said he had been invited by Erdoğan, adding: “What would have been more normal than the president of Turkish Cyprus to be invited to a dinner that is organized by the Republic of Turkey?”
In New York, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the U.N. was not involved in the decision to invite the Turkish Cypriot leader to the state dinner.
“This was not an arrangement done by the United Nations,” Haq told reporters in New York, according to AFP. “The arrangements were made by the government of Turkey.”
Implicitly blaming the U.N. for the controversy, Greek Cypriot government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said May 24 that there was “no fertile ground” for the planned May 27 meeting with Akıncı in Nicosia, while also adding that Anastasiades was still committed to the peace process on the island, according to Reuters.
Akıncı said they would make the necessary preparations to attend the peace talks scheduled for May 27 and go to the meeting.
“There is no reason from our side that the meeting would not be held,” said Akıncı, adding that they would also make their scheduled meeting with U.N. special envoy for Cyprus Espen Bath Eide on May 26.
The Greek Cypriot side has not formally notified the U.N. of its decision to pull out of the next round of negotiations, Haq said.
“At this important time in the process, the secretary-general would like to underline that the two leaders have demonstrated great courage and perseverance in the process and they have achieved a lot. So the secretary-general encourages them to redouble their efforts,” said Haq.