Turkish Cypriot leader to meet Greek Cypriot counterpart, mends fences with Erdoğan

Turkish Cypriot leader to meet Greek Cypriot counterpart, mends fences with Erdoğan

NICOSIA - Reuters
Turkish Cypriot leader to meet Greek Cypriot counterpart, mends fences with Erdoğan

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Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades will meet newly elected Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı on May 2 to push stalled peace talks forward, a Greek Cypriot government spokesman said on April 28.

Nikos Christodoulides also said the Greek Cypriot community was poised to announce "unilateral confidence building measures" towards Turkish Cypriots. 

Peace talks between Cyprus's estranged Greek and Turkish communities stalled last October, and May 2 meeting will be the first time leaders of the two opposing communities will have met since September 2014. 

"The president of the republic had a long conversation with Mr Akıncı and they agreed to meet at noon on May 2," Christodoulides said, referring to Anastasiades's official title as president of Cyprus. 

Akıncı, a moderate, swept to victory in Turkish Cypriot leadership elections on April 26, pledging fresh impetus in solving a conflict which has split the island for decades. He will be sworn in as president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on April 30. 

Christodoulides said the Greek Cypriot side was poised to announce unilateral measures to build trust between the two sides. 

He gave no details, but one such measure floated in the country was for the Greek Cypriot military providing ground maps for 28 mine fields laid before a 1974 war which now fall in Turkish Cypriot-controlled territory. 

"Confidence building measures will not supplant the peace process, but will reinforce it," Christodoulides said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Phone call with Erdoğan

Meanwhile, a phone call between Akıncı and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defused tensions between both leaders.

"It was a call to congratulate [Akıncı's election victory]," the Turkish Cypriot leader told the Anadolu Agency on April 28, referring to his phone conversation with Erdoğan on April 27. "We briefly chatted because he was at the airport and was about to leave. He asked me whether I would go to Turkey for my first official visit [in accordance with state traditions]. Of course, I will be doing it," Akıncı said.

The nature of the relationship between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus had created a rift between the two leaders after the election. 

“It should be a relationship of brothers/sisters, not a relationship of a motherland and her child,” Akıncı had said. “Do his ears hear what he says?” President Erdoğan said during a press conference on April 27 after being asked by a journalist if he approved of the statement.