Time for solution, says Turkish Cypriot leader on state’s 33rd anniversary
NICOSIAIt is time for a resolution on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, the leader of Turkish Cyprus said on Nov. 15, the 33rd anniversary of the state’s establishment.
“It is time the negotiations that have been ongoing for around half a century come to an end,” said Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı on Nov. 15, while delivering a speech in Nicosia marking the 33rd anniversary of Turkish Cyprus.
“Negotiations cannot continue like this for another 50 years. We have neared a decision,” the president said, noting that the paused talks would resume in Geneva on Nov. 20.
Intensified U.N. sponsored talks were held in Switzerland’s Mont Pelerin from Nov. 7 to 11, although there was no precise statement as expected at the end of the talks.
A brief U.N. statement at the end of the one-week-long negotiations on Nov. 11 said “significant progress has been achieved,” without giving any specifics, and stated that Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades wanted to pause the talks.
Akıncı said they responded positively to Anastasiades’ demand for a pause, saying they could not shut their ears to a demand that came from the leader of a community which the Turkish Cypriots aim to form a partnership with.
Anastasiades is scheduled to meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias in Athens on Nov. 16, in order to inform them about the talks held in Geneva.
The island was divided between a Greek south and a Turkish north when the Turkish military intervened in 1974 under the terms of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee in response to an Athens-backed coup aiming to unite the island with Greece.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was established on Nov. 15, 1983, with a self-determination vote in the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, formed after 1974.
“Our island’s destiny can be changed by realistic, reasonable and fair approaches,” Akıncı said, adding that the negotiations in Geneva next week can actually turn into a five-party or quintet conference during which the three guarantor states of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom would also attend the negotiations. “We can do this,” he said.
“We need all the sides’ help and support for this [to happen]. As we, Turkish Cypriots, watch Greek Cypriots’ sensibilities, we expect the same sensitivity from them,” Akıncı said.
The Turkish Cypriot administration is pushing for the date of the quintet conference to be put forward as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke on the phone to both of the islands’ leaders.
“The vice president praised the leaders and their negotiating teams for their hard work and the historic progress they have made toward a settlement that would reunify Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation,” a White House statement read on Nov. 14.
“The leaders reaffirmed to the vice president their commitment to maintaining the momentum of settlement talks and looked forward to making additional progress when talks reconvened in Switzerland on Nov. 20,” it added.