President Mustafa Akıncı has drawn harsh criticism from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan after he published on social media on Saturday, his comments regarding Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in north-eastern Syria.
Akıncı said that he had only posted his comments after he had been criticised for remaining silent about Turkey’s military action.
President Akıncı said that what was needed was dialogue and diplomacy instead of military action in Syria which was now in its 10th year of war.
“I don’t think there is anyone who does not want the good of Turkey and to get rid of the problem of terrorism,” Akıncı wrote.
President Akıncı said that staying silent at times, does not mean there are no words to say and sometimes situations are so confusing it’s difficult to come out with a simple yes or a no. He added “Some are curious about my opinion, but many are anxious to make material for their own political purposes. Some know it well that they even invented conspiracy theories on this silence”.
“And if what someone says will affect the situation, you may need to remain silent,” he said.
“Even though we called the offensive in 1974 Operation Peace, it was a war and blood was spilled. Now, even if we say Operation Peace Spring, what is being spilled is not water, it is blood. For this reason, it is my greatest wish that dialogue and diplomacy come into play as soon as possible”.
“In 1974, at the age of 27, I got the task, as every young Turkish Cypriot, to join Turkey’s military action caused by the Greek fascist junta. In the battle of Dereboyu in Nicosia, my friends were martyred. Like many of us, I learned what war means by experience. Therefore, I do not want any society to experience the suffering of war. I do not wish for any Turkish, Kurdish, Arab child to bleed”.
“For me, a happy and peaceful future of Turkey is possible to create through a dialogue between Turks, Kurds and Arabs, and all the peoples of the region. A situation must be created where Syria, within its territorial integrity, supports its borders, and Turkey can feel safe on its own borders”.
Meanwhile Turkish President Erdogan accused President Akıncı of stepping beyond his limits.
He wondered if there was any other country in the world besides Turkey that had fought for the TRNC state as Turkey had done. “No. He must know his limits. The seat he sits on is not something he acquired. It was won by the intervention of the Turkish Republic, a favour from Turkey,” said Erdogan.
“I believe that the people of the TRNC will give him the lesson he needs,” Erdogan added.
Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay said that Akıncı’s comments were “unfortunate”.
NGOs and government ministers also added their voices to criticise the President. However, he did receive support from the Turkish Cypriot trade union platform. It said in a statement that “insults and threats” that Akıncı had exceeded his limits were unacceptable.
“Any attack on Mr Akıncı is regarded by us as an attack on the Turkish Cypriot community, which is the one that elected him leader,” the platform said.
“Mr Akıncı ’s statement was very clear that “no Turkish Cypriot wants Turkey to have problems within its territory or with the security at its borders. And, like Mr Akıncı, we are of the opinion that this issue will not be resolved by bloodshed but through negotiations.”
Yeni Duzen, Cyprus Mail