Turkish FM’s Visit Highlights Division in Assembly

The recent visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to the TRNC has created tension in the TRNC Assembly, according to the Turkish Cypriot press. Statements by Cavusoglu have highlighted the difference in approach between himself and Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Ozersay and President Mustafa Akinci to solving the Cyprus problem.

President Akinci has always stood by the framework of negotiating, within UN parameters for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution. Following the failure of the last round of negotiations in Crans-Montana, Switzerland in July, 2017, Turkey appears to be pressing for a two-state solution. Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Ozersay also appears to agree with Cavusoglu. Or he, at the very least, has suggested corporate cooperation between the two Cypriot communities, without the need for reunification.

North Cyprus News - Mustafa Akinci
President Mustafa Akinci

President Akinci felt obliged to rebut implications by Foreign Minister Cavusoglu that he was attempting to solve the Cyprus problem single-handedly. Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay had a private dinner meeting with Cavusoglu during his last visit. This is adding to the belief that President Akinci is being sidelined by Turkey.

Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Diyalog’ reports that Mevlut Cavusoglu’s recent visit to North Cyprus and his statements regarding the federal solution in Cyprus increased the tension in the assembly between the deputies this week.

North Cyprus News - Ersin Tatar - UBP
Ersin Tatar

Addressing the assembly, leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar, claimed that 35 out of the 50 deputies in the assembly were opposed to a federal solution to the Cyprus problem, and thus, this issue should be discussed again. Tatar wondered also whether President Akinci has the authority to re-launch negotiations, in light of this development. Tatar added that this issue should be discussed and be evaluated again by the assembly and called on Akinci to brief the assembly. He then stressed the need for the Turkish Cypriots to discuss new and alternative ideas.

Diyalog also reports that the leader of the Turkish settlers’ party, the Revival Party (YDP), Erhan Arikli described Cavusoglu’s visit to the TRNC and his statements as very important. Pointing out to President Akinci’s written statement issued right after Cavusoglu’s departure from the TRNC, where he underlines the reference made to “a one-man regime”, Arikli said that if Akinci issued the above statement, he made it with some delay.

Arikli claimed further that Akinci’s statement destroyed the “highly tense climate” which developed in the TRNC during Cavusoglu’s visit. He argued that Akinci issued his statement because of Cavusoglu’s dinner meeting with Ozersay. Arikli called on Akinci not to exclude the assembly and to arrange a briefing in the assembly the soonest possible.

Defending President Akinci’s stance, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) and Minister of Education, Cemal Ozyigit, recalled that the 11 February Joint Declaration had been prepared together with Turkey and pointed out that there is no other official position on the Cyprus problem than the existing one. “There could be some different opinions in the assembly about this issue, but still, the president was not elected by the assembly, but by the Turkish Cypriot people”, said Ozyigit. He added further that Akinci does not disregard the assembly and said that it would be useful for Akinci to brief the assembly. Stating that he is in favour of a federal solution in Cyprus, Ozyigit said that a federal solution model is a realistic one. He added, however, that if society as a whole expresses a different view on this issue, his party would respect it.

North Cyprus News - Tufan Erhurman
PM Tufan Erhurman

Meanwhile, leader of the Turkish Republican Party (CTP) Prime Minister Tufan Erhurman said that if after the European Parliament elections, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Cyprus Jane Holl Lute brings a formula and there is resumption of the negotiations with the agreement of all related parties including the guarantor countries, then the framework will be clear. Erhurman went on to say that that Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu’s stance did not show that he excludes a federation model.

Also addressing the assembly, chairman of the People’s Party (HP) and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay, said that during his contacts abroad, he conveyed the Turkish Cypriot side’s positions, he put forward and explained the government’s positions and view and added that he agrees with President Akinci on the issue of UNFICYP in Cyprus, the natural gas issue, the issue of the backsliding by Anastasiades and the statements made by Lute regarding a timetable. He further added that it is not right to create tension with Turkey or communicate with Turkey via the media.

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