Turkish Cypriot leader to pay first visit abroad to Ankara
CİHAN PhotoThe newly elected president of Turkish Cyprus, Mustafa Akıncı, will pay his first official customary visit abroad to the Turkish capital city of Ankara this week.
Akıncı, who took oath on April 30, will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Özdil Nami during his one-day visit on May 6, the press office of the Turkish Cypriot presidency said over the weekend.
Akıncı has already announced as of May 1 Nami is to represent Turkish Cypriots in the U.N.-led negotiations with the Greek Cypriot side.
Following his election victory, Akıncı, a moderate leftist, stated that finding a resolution to the Cyprus issue, which has left the island divided between Turkish and Greek Cypriots for four decades, was one of the foremost agenda items for his presidency.
Akıncı’s post began with a row with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the nature of the ties between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus, but a phone call between the pair defused the tensions, media reports said.
“It was a call to congratulate [me on my election victory],” the Turkish Cypriot leader told Anadolu Agency on April 28, referring to his phone conversation with Erdoğan the previous day. “We briefly chatted because he was at the airport and 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.
Conflict between the two arose when Akinci said the relationship between the countries should be one of siblings, rather than “a motherland and its infant,” during a live interview on April 27.
“Do his ears hear what he says?” Erdoğan said in response during a press conference, after being asked by a journalist if he approved of the statement.
Foreign Minister Nami, meanwhile, is to represent Turkish Cypriots in negotiations with Greek Cyprus, Akıncı has said.
Akıncı believes “an important window of opportunity to resolve the Cyprus issue” is available, according to statement made May 1.
The president said he believes Nami will make “serious contributions to the negotiation process that is soon to start with his experience, focus on solution and EU vision.”
The statement also said Nami had accepted the negotiator role and would resign his post as foreign minister in the coming days.