Turkish, Greek Cypriot administrations ‘on same page,’ says Turkish Cypriot president
NICOSIAThe leaders of Turkish and Greek Cyprus are on the same page for a solution this year on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, according to Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı.
Speaking during a visit by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş on Oct. 18 in Nicosia, Akıncı said he and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades were “on the same page” in pushing for a “solution in 2016.”
“We hope that we can move into a format in November where we will have continuous meetings abroad,” Akıncı said, adding that this way the “final format” to resolve the dispute “will be shaped with guarantors” in the shape of a quintet conference.
Such a conference will include Turkish Cyprus, Greek Cyprus, and the three guarantor states: Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
“A natural calendar for a solution has occurred. Therefore, we are proceeding step-by-step,” Akıncı said.
Türkeş said Turkey “wholeheartedly supported the accelerated solution process,” and wished the Turkish Cypriots success in the process.
The Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey partially intervened into the north after a coup aimed at unification with Greece.
Akıncı and Anastasiades re-launched peace talks in May 2015, under the guidance of the United Nations. Since then, the two leaders have engaged in multiple meetings in order to find a peaceful solution to the more than 40-year-old conflict.
On Oct. 16, Akıncı and Anastasiades agreed to the number of armed forces which should be present in both parts of the island.
“We have come to an agreement that there should be an equal number of armed security units and federal investigation units,” Akıncı said Oct. 16 following face-to-face talks with Anastasiades in Nicosia.
The Turkish Cypriot president said citizenship issues – including legal residence, property rights, basic freedoms, and the right to vote – had been the main agenda items on Oct. 16.