Alternatives outside federation bolster division in Cyprus, says Turkish Cypriot leader
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı on Feb. 22 reiterated that the most realistic option for a settlement in Cyprus is a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, saying that anything else encourages division on the island.
“The alternatives outside the federation is the bolstering of the status quo, that is, the division,” Akıncı said.
Akıncı’s remarks came at a solidarity dinner for his presidential campaign in the Turkish Cypriot resort town of Kyrenia.
He noted that he will continue his path with confidence and determination by serving the federal solution target with confidence-building measures.
He also stated that the U.N. secretary-general is determined to take the initiative after the elections to be held in April in Turkish Cyprus and to contribute to the process.
“This [solution] table will be re-established and the opportunity for solution will knock on our door. We are at a very important junction,” he said.
“Either as a modern, civilized European country, we will walk this path together in order to ensure that the standards valid in European countries are also valid here, by seeking a secular life in freedom and peace, where democracy and legal norms will prevail, and there is no place for bigotry, or division will become even more permanent,” he added.
Referring to relations between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus, Akıncı also said that “we have no desire other than the well-being of our brothers in Turkey.”
“However, we also expect our democratic, secular lifestyle, which is based on [modern Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk’s principles, to be respected,” he added.
Turkish Cypriots will go to the polls for the 10th time since 1974 to elect a president.
Apart from Akıncı, four politicians have announced their candidacy so far: Prime Minister Ersin Tatar from the National Unity Party (UBP), Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay as an independent candidate, main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman and Rebirth Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arıklı.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power.
In 1983, Turkish Cyprus was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all failing.
The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries — Turkey, Greece and the U.K. — came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.