Lock us up until we reach a Cyprus deal: Turkish Cypriot leader

Lock us up until we reach a Cyprus deal: Turkish Cypriot leader

Barçın Yinanç – ISTANBUL
Lock us up until we reach a Cyprus deal: Turkish Cypriot leader

AA photo

The time for concentrated peace talks in Cyprus, where the parties to the solution should be locked up in a room and not allowed out until they reach an agreement, was needed, according to the president of Turkish Cyprus. 

Referring to the type of meeting implemented to choose a pope, the papal conclave, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı said he believed time was approaching for a similar exercise, but he admitted the Greek Cypriot administration was not yet sharing this opinion.

“You know how they choose the new pope? They all gather in one place and they do not go out until they choose one, [and then] you see smoke coming out,” said Akıncı, adding a similar type of meeting was necessary to reach a final agreement.

Asked about the modalities of the meeting, Akıncı, who addressed students on Dec. 10 at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, said guarantor states would have to be present in that meeting as well.

Greece, Turkey and Britain are listed as guarantor powers under the Treaty of Guarantee signed in 1960.

There has been important progress on three main issues, namely governance, economic issues and the European Union, according to Akıncı. On the remaining three issues - properties, land and security - difficulties still remain, he said, adding the two sides needed to enter a period where they will have to sort out differences in a concentrated effort.

The island’s Greek and Turkish communities have lived apart since Turkey invaded the north in 1974 after a Greek-inspired coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece.

Talks conducted in Cyprus constitute the last effort of the older generations to find a solution based on a federation, said Akıncı. He underlined how young generations on both side of the island grow stranger to each other after years of division.

“This is the last effort of my generation to find a solution on a federal roof. Young generations on the island will have to find other ways,” he said, adding, “We need to solve the issue in a matter of months, not years.”

Akıncı’s visit to Turkey came one day after U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide was in Ankara to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the ministry’s undersecretary, Feridun Sinirlioğlu. 

Under the guidance of Eide, Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders have ramped up the negotiation process to find a peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue. The two leaders met a total of six times in November and once in December as of Dec. 10, while foreign ministers from the United States, Russia, Britain and Germany have paid a visit to the island in the past 1.5 months to show their support for the peace talks.