Mustafa Akinci met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday. The main topic of conversation was the Cyprus negotiations, which have reached a critical stage. At a joint press conference Akinci said equality, freedom, security were the three main targets for a settlement and without them a solution could not be reached.
He added that “the feeling of closeness and support from Turkey gives strength to Turkish Cypriots.”
President Erdogan said Turkey stands by the Turkish Cypriots in the negotiations and is looking for completion of the process before the year’s end. He repeated that a possible solution would release great potential on the island, and tap into unused resources. He noted that all efforts to achieve a solution had to be made if there was a real desire for one.
The Turkish President also thanked Akinci and Turkish Cypriots for standing by Turkey’s side after it had struggled to quell the attempted coup, thought to have been masterminded by FETO, a widespread organisation founded by Erdogan’s former ally Fethullah Gülen. During the coup attempt on 15th July, 240 people died and a further 2,200 were injured.
President Akinci, for his part, thanked Erdogan for his hospitality. He said that his meeting with Erdogan regarding the Cyprus negotiations had been very useful and close cooperation with Turkey would continue.
He pointed out that he and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades were from same generation. He also noted that this was the last window of opportunity to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Referring to natural gas explorations in the South, he said that he hoped that this would not become an issue creating further tension and therefore undermining the negotiations.
Akinci said there were two reason for meeting with President Erdogan, one was to inform Erdogan about the current stage of the Cyprus negotiations and the other was to show support for Turkey following the 15th July coup.
“The Turkish nation has put up a great democratic fight and they will continue to strive for bigger and better things,” said Akinci.
He also emphasised that if any groups linked to the FETO group were discovered in the TRNC, they would be rooted out. Turkish Cypriot believe in the rule of civil law and no such organisation could be allowed to exist in Cyprus, he said.