President Mustafa Akinci issued a message on the occasion of the Muslim Feast of Sacrifices, which begins today. Referring to the importance of social solidarity for overcoming the economic difficulties experienced because of the devaluation of the Turkish lira (TL) against foreign currencies, Akinci expressed the belief that the Turkish Cypriots will achieve this.
“I am sure that when discussing the economy, the foreign currencies exchange rates issue, many of you say that ‘if the Cyprus problem was solved and we adopted the Euro, we would have been saved from these troubles”, he said, arguing that this view is partially correct, but reminded that Greece and Cyprus had experienced great economic crises a few years ago in spite of the fact that they use the Euro. He added: “The Greek people and the Greek Cypriot community have faced serious problems. They started getting out of these difficulties slowly after receiving EU aid and taking significant, radical steps which they had implemented in their economies. Therefore, I think that it is necessary for me to stress that we also need long term reforms”.
Noting that each crisis brings some opportunities, Akinci argued that it depends on the states and the communities whether they will benefit from these. He added: “I think that this crisis has shown more clearly to Turkey the political and physical geography to which it belongs and the importance of relations in this geography. More specifically, it seems that the opportunity for an improvement of the relations of Turkey with the EU has been created again. For this, the sides should undoubtedly do their bit. In parallel to this, Turkish-Greek relations might come to a better point with the release of the two Greek army officers who had been in custody. The development of Turkish-Greek relations and the continuation of Turkey heading towards the EU will undoubtedly be useful for Cyprus as well. […]”
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Akinci said that September could be important and added that at the end of this month, all sides concerned with the Cyprus problem will be in New York. He noted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will separately meet with the two community leaders as he does every year and argued that the meetings this year will be different. Guterres will want to decide what the next steps will be in the light of the report, which will include the results of the meetings held by his temporary special representative [Jane Holl Lute] with all sides.
“Almost everybody has understood now, that from now on the period of open-ended negotiations which last for years has been closed”, he said, arguing that the UNSG will investigate whether there is any will to establish a “new common structure”, in which we will live in equality, freedom and security. Akinci noted that he has no doubts on this issue, but his determination is not enough. He pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side should also show the will which it had not shown to date and all the other sides and the international community should help in this.
Arguing that in particular, the “silent majority of the people” and civil society should be more sensitive than ever regarding possible developments at the junction which the Cyprus problem had reached after 50 years. “I wish for a meeting regarding what is reasonable and in the light of common sense in the Cyprus problem as well”, he concluded.