The opening of a border crossing at Derinya is being be obstructed by the Turkish military and President Akinci is aware of the issue, but cannot openly discuss the problem. In an article written for ‘Kibris Postasi’, journalist Ulas Baris says that although the Greek Cypriot side says that the existing road is fine, the Turkish Cypriot side is proposing an alternative road citing security and other reasons.
Recalling that Dr Okan Dagli, a member of the Famagusta Initiative recently said that the existing road was suitable and that political will was required to open the border crossing Baris writes:
“Who is [needed to show] this political will? President Mustafa Akinci himself. Very well, where does this political will come from? From around 60% [of the votes] which he secured in 26 April’s elections. That is, the only thing needed for President Akinci to open this gate is the political will. Let us stop and consider this. Is the TRNC a normal system? No, it is not. Why? Because, regardless of all the denial, there is another political will dominating the professed political will. If you like you can call it Ankara, if you like you can call it the army, but this is the situation in which we find ourselves. In my view, if the esteemed president is prevented in the manner I have tried to explain in the very beginning of this article by the above-mentioned political will, he has no other option than coming out and explaining this openly to the people. Or when this issue came onto the agenda from the very beginning, he should have said to his interlocutor ‘I do not have the authority to open this gate my friend’ […]. However, he spoke and said that the gate would open the soonest.
People who think like me, had actually understood months earlier that problems would have been experienced at this border crossing, when Varosha was burning and our authorities were watching from a distance. […]
Varosha is a military zone under the army’s control. […] political will has no say in the military zones. Therefore, the army is the main competent authority in the Derinya crossing issue. […]”.
Baris notes that since the expectations in the Cyprus negotiations have grown so much, they have to face certain issues. He expresses the view that Akinci could follow the actions of former President Talat prior to the opening of the Ledra Street crossing.
He concludes by saying:
“Mr Akinci must urgently decide: he will either open the gate giving the message to his Greek Cypriot interlocutors that ‘I have political will’ or he will have to shelve the issue with a move that will be tantamount to saying ‘I cannot disobey the higher authorities’. It is not possible to remain silent on this issue”.