President Mustafa Akinci has suggested a system of guarantees for Cyprus, in which Turkey will guarantee only the northern part of the island. Citing UN sources, Turkish daily Milliyet’s correspondent for North Cyprus, Sefa Karahasan argues that President Anastasiades has indicated that “he could see something positive in this proposal” provided that the Turkish army does not remain on the island.
According to the paper, the Turkish Cypriot side has begun working on proposals for a system of guarantees which the Greek Cypriots will not perceive as a threat. The Greek Cypriot position is that any guarantees are unacceptable. The Turkish Cypriot side responds that “any agreement which does not include Turkey’s guarantees will not be accepted” by the Turkish Cypriot community.
According to Akinci’s proposal, “if the Greek Cypriots take into consideration the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriot side on the issues of legal residence and property, the system of guarantees will be implemented only in the northern part of Cyprus and not on the entire island”. Recalling that in the past “the two peoples had been scattered across the island”, Akinci said that all Turkish Cypriots are now living in the northern part of Cyprus and this is why Turkey’s guarantees for south Cyprus might be unnecessary.
Karahasan argues that Akinci’s proposal “had a positive influence on the UN” and had topped the agenda during US Assistant of State Victoria Nuland’s recent visit to the island. “Anastasiades, who exhibits a hard stance as regards the guarantees, asked for Nuland’s help on this issue”, claims Karahasan, saying that Nuland, who also met with Akinci, was against the guarantees and said that “the presence of the Turkish army on the island is unnecessary”. She noted, however, that some elements may be needed to encourage the Turkish Cypriots to vote “yes” in a possible referendum.
“Let us not call it ‘guarantees’, let us call is assurance”, she reportedly said. According to Karahasan, Akinci replied that “whatever change is made, it should ensure that the security of the Turkish Cypriots will be assured by Turkey”.
Nuland has reportedly insisted on the full withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Cyprus and wondered whether a time table should be prepared for this. She said that Turkish military presence should be evaluated again in five or ten years. However, Akinci said that Turkey’s military presence in Cyprus should continue until Turkey joins the EU. Nuland allegedly replied that Turkey will not be able to join the EU, that the presence of the army should not be correlated to Turkish-EU relations and that the US does not see positively the formula of “security by the EU”.
On his part, Akinci opposed guarantees by the UN and the EU. He also rejected Nuland’s suggestion that instead of the presence of the Turkish army, a “contingency force” should be based on the island. He argued that the Turkish Cypriot community needs Turkey’s guarantees, reiterating the view that the system of guarantees could be agreed at a conference with the participation of the guarantor powers.
According to Karahasan, Nuland said that the training could be undertaken by the police officers who will be part of the federal police force and asked for a list of officers to be drawn up to be sent to Hungary for training. Akinci was reportedly positive about this suggestion, but President Anastasiades was not.