President Mustafa Akinci has said that positive developments and momentum exists in the Cyprus negotiations and argued that behaviours which could harm this must be avoided.
In an interview with TAK news agency, Akinci said that in his recent statements, President Anastasiades had referred to the issues in the negotiations, which he said that the two sides had agreed upon, “only from his own point of view”. He added that the “points of agreement” are issues which only the two sides together could announce. “We are ready to do this. Otherwise, what Anastasiades has done is a unilateral interpretation and includes at the very least, deficiencies and mistakes”.
Akinci said that the leaders have the right to express their views, but an announcement on behalf of the two sides should be made jointly and with the consent of both sides.
President Akinci said that a confederation formed by two sovereign states has never been on the negotiating table and added that what has been discussed at the inter-communal talks is a federal Cyprus established by two founding states, which will be politically equal and will not dominate each other. He admitted, though, that “some Turkish Cypriot leaders” had referred to a confederation from time to time.
Referring to President Anastasiades’ statement that he does not accept the rotating presidency, Akinci said:
“Unfortunately this continuous stance of the Greek Cypriot side is a serious disappointment for us. However, let me say the following: If the Greek Cypriot people will not stomach a Turkish Cypriot being at the head of the common federal state during certain periods, this means that there will be no agreement”.
Asked to give an example on what he called a “unilateral interpretation” by President Anastasiades, he replied:
“For example, let us take a look at the issue of population. When you look at the statement it is perceived as if we have also agreed the proportion of population to remain constant. There is no such a thing. To start with, our citizens will, without discrimination, become citizens of the new united federal Cyprus. The population in Cyprus will develop naturally. If the effort is to say that the demographic structure in Cyprus will not be altered, with population transferred from outside, this is something else. In any case we also do not want this. However, there is still no text on which we have agreed on this issue. There are some proposals on the table”.
Asked to comment on the four freedoms issue, Akinci said:
“Cyprus will on the one hand be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and on the other will be committed on EU values and principles because we will be in the EU. Within this framework freedoms will exist of course. We also want to live in a modern country based on the human rights in which these freedoms will be valid. In this sense, the right of everybody living anywhere they want will be respected (right to abode). This means the following: If one has his legal residency in his own area and wants to have a summer house, to stay in a hotel in the other area and establish a business with the permission of the municipality, he will be able to do this. These persons will use their political rights in the area where their legal residency is. However, this is on one side of the coin. In the other side, there is the protection of the bi-zonal, bi-communal character. In this sense, the Founding State will have the power to regulate on the issues of permanent residency and internal citizenship”.
Akinci said that within this framework, they do not want to “endanger the Turkish Cypriot majority in the North”. He argued:
“Our understanding when we say bi-zonality is not limited only to ‘political majority’. We cannot make our people approve an agreement in which we will not be the clear majority in the sense of population and property in the North. This issue has been expressed many times by our side at the negotiating table. Within this framework, it is obligatory for the Founding States having powers on the issue of purchasing properties in the future, at least until a certain balance is achieved between the two economies”.
Asked to comment on President Anastasiades statement that there is “progress to a great extent” on the property issue, Akinci replied:
“This is correct. Therefore, when in the past we have been saying that progress exists only on the issues of Governance, Economy and the EU, now we can include property in these. I have also said this recently. There are still unsolved aspects of the property, of course, but it is true that some distance has been covered. It is also true that the old owner of the property will file the first application. However, the situation of the person living in it will also be taken care of. It does not necessarily mean that the first to make an application will take that house. The issue is that comparing to someone who lived in the house 42 years ago only for a few years, the other who lives in that house for many years after 1974 has more rights. The ECHR’s decision on the Demopoulos (2010) case established this”.
In response to a question on the issue of guarantees, Akinci said:
“We have said it many times. The guarantees will be discussed at the very end within a five-party framework. Both we and Turkey have many times announced that this issue will be discussed when the day comes. The recent allegation that the guarantees will be abolished and moreover that we agree with this, is wrong. It is obvious that the Turkish Cypriot community wants the continuation of Turkey’s guarantee. The important thing here is what kind of a formula we can find so that while the Turkish Cypriots feel safe, the Greek Cypriots will not feel threatened. I believe that the way of this will be found, but when time comes”.
Asked whether he wanted to add anything else, Akinci replied:
“What I want to add refers to what has been written about how the state will created. It is known that we have differences on this issue. According to them, only the Republic of Cyprus exists and it will be evolved, because according to them, the TRNC does not exist. We say, however, that the does TRNC exist and it will turn into a founding state with the solution.
When past international agreements are examined, the agreements we have made will also be examined, not only those made by the Republic of Cyprus. Those which are not contrary to the new constitution and the foundation agreement will continue being valid.
The point I want to finally stress is the following: Positive developments and a momentum exists in the Cyprus negotiating process. We must stay away from any kind of behaviours which would harm this. In both sides, circles exist which immediately start predicting calamity at every opportunity and are panicked when the possibility for a solution increases. We are not going to pay attention to these circles, the intention of which is known. However, we should behave carefully with the statements we make.
I repeat, the leaders are of course free to express their positions. However, making a statement on behalf of the two sides could happen only with the consent of the two sides and jointly. We are ready to enter into such an effort”.
TAK News Agency, Kibris Gazetesi