TRNC News Today 31st August 2015

“The first big opportunity in Cyprus since the Annan Plan”

Foreign Minister Emine Çolak stated there had not been such an intensified negotiation process in Cyprus since the Annan Plan, adding “There has never been an atmosphere where the two Leaders have been so compatible and with so many confidence building initiatives. Therefore an opportunity which we have not seen since the Annan Plan has risen.  We hope that this opportunity will materialize”.

Minister Çolak answered the questions of AA journalists, expressing that relevant people from all levels, including from the highest level, are participating in the negotiation process and that the continuation of a substantive, comprehensive and result-oriented process is an important development.

Minister Çolak reminded that the Turkish Cypriots accepted the Annan Plan in the 2004 referendum, which was prepared by the then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and which aimed to reunite the two communities which had been separated since 1963 under a single bi-communal bi-zonal state. She also reminded that despite the Turkish Cypriots’ acceptance of the Plan, the Greek Cypriots rejected it. Minister Çolak emphasized that regardless of their rejection, the Greek Cypriots succeeded in becoming members of the European Union (EU), but that they have not been able to establish the relations they hoped for with the EU due to their current economic hardships. Çolak stated “If by rejecting this Plan the Greek Cypriots had the expectation of a better settlement plan, this did not occur”.

Emine Colak

Minister Çolak expressed her view that “The Greek Cypriot side may be thinking it will be more difficult to achieve their demands as time passes by” and mentioned that many factors have been effective in bringing the two sides to this positive point. Minister Çolak listed these factors as follows:

“One of the most significant factors is leadership. Nicos Anastasiades had said “yes” to the Annan Plan and is now demonstrating leadership to his community by working adamantly towards a settlement. Our President Mustafa Akıncı has put his views forward very clearly in this regard. The new Turkish Cypriot leadership was elected with outstanding support. The Special Advisor of the UN Secretary General to Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, has won the trust of the two sides by demonstrating a very positive and conciliatory approach throughout this process”.

On the other hand, crossings commenced between the sides of the Island in 2003. Perhaps the two sides began to understand each other better. According to recent statistical studies, the Greek Cypriots appear to consider a settlement more favourably today compared to 2004 and this gives us hope. We hope that the Turkish Cypriot people will again support a settlement this time as they did back then. We are hopeful that a settlement which entails the utmost gains will be developed”.

Expressing that much can be understood by the statements of the leaders regarding the progress of the negotiations, Minister Çolak stated “There are many convergences and overlapping in areas such as power-sharing, for example. By making incremental progress on this issue, it is possible to then move on to more difficult issues. We hear that there are convergences on economic matters as well”.

Stating that there are agreements on various general principles and criteria of the property issue as well, Minister Çolak expressed that international law and human rights principles will be guiding factors on the positions of the two sides on this matter. Minister Çolak emphasized that this issue will be discussed in greater detail at the Leaders’ meeting scheduled to take place on 1 September 2015, stating “The issues of territory and guarantees will be discussed at the end of the process because they are both political and emotional issues which both sides have great sensitivities towards. Furthermore, they are not issues which are only up to the two sides. They require negotiations between the three guarantor countries”.

Minister Çolak referred to the most important principle of the negotiation process as “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

Minister Emine Çolak pointed out that one of the most important factors which has allowed the Turkish Cypriots to feel safe is Turkey and that a majority of the population would like to see the continuation of various elements of its guarantorship. Indicating that the Greek Cypriots are seriously concerned about Turkey’s guarantorship, Minister Çolak stated “We need to find a formula which strikes a balance between both these concerns and needs. I believe that this is possible but it should also be considered that if other guarantee mechanisms such as the EU cannot provide the same feeling of security to the Turkish Cypriots. Therefore I believe that Turkey will have a special status in the final settlement. The details of what this will look like will not only be up to the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, but will be formulated with the say of the guarantor countries of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom as well.”

Pointing to the positive and constructive atmosphere created by many aspects of the negotiation process, Minister Çolak underlined that this opportunity should not be wasted. Minister Çolak stated  “I would like to make a call on both sides of the Island. The constructive atmosphere should be escalated even further and we need to overcome the issues that we face with a culture of reconciliation”.

Expressing that there had not been such intensified negotiations since the Annan Plan, Minister Çolak stated “There has never been an atmosphere where the two Leaders have been so compatible and with so many confidence building initiatives. Therefore an opportunity which we have not seen since the Annan Plan has risen. We hope that this opportunity will materialize”.

Pointing to the role of Turkey in the negotiation process, Minister Çolak reminded that President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan clearly reiterated his strong support of the process during his visit to the Island on 20 July.

Foreign Minister Çolak mentioned that the investments and support of Turkey on Cyprus are continuing and expressed her belief that the projects that will be realized will contribute significantly to peace on the Island.

Leaders to meet again tomorrow

President Mustafa Akıncı and the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades will meet again tomorrow within the framework of Cyprus negotiations.

Mustafa Akıncı and Nicos Anastasiades

According to the written statement of the UN; the two leaders will meet in the buffer zone at 09:30 tomorrow. The UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide will be arriving in the island today and will be present at the meeting.

Burcu: “Negotiators have not started to discuss the remedy of the exchange compensation and return”

Presidential Spokesman Barış Burcu reported that the negotiators have not started to discuss the criteria of remedy for the compensation, exchange and return under the property title.

Barış Burcu

Stating that the parties have not conveyed their positions on this criteria to each other so far, Burcu said, “Improvement on the property title is only on the joint determination regarding the varieties and categories of the affected properties.”

Vice Principal of English School dismissed

It is stated that Vice Principal of English School in South Cyprus Andonis Andoniu who is known for his good relationships with the Turkish Cypriots, has been dismissed from the duty of “Vice Principal” with a decision of the board.

English School

According to the Greek newspaper Haravgi, AKEL condemned the decision and indicated that Andoniu was dismissed due to political reasons. AKEL also blamed the Greek Cypriot administration and argued that they made a mistake by allowing the decision of the Board of Directors.

Religious ceremony held at “Ay. Fanurios” cave chapel in Girne

It is stated that yesterday, approximately 400 Girne origin Greek Cypriots held a religious ceremony at the “Ay. Fanurios” cave chapel, which is located on the shore of Karaoğlanoğlu village in Girne.

Ay. Fanurios

According to Greek newspaper Alithia 10 buses came from South Cyprus and DİKO parliamentarian Kostas Mavridis and the Head of the Ecologists and Environmentalists Movement – Yorgos Perdikis participated in the event which was organized by Girne Municipality. 
The news stated that the Greek Cypriots who came for the ceremony also found the opportunity to visit the villages of Beylerbeyi, Karaman, Alsancak and Lapta.

Rejectionists are seeking the very state they once sought to destroy

Loucas CharalambousLoucas Charalambous

SPEAKING at the opening of the overseas Cypriots’ conference on Tuesday evening, President Anastasiades said many truths and lashed out against the populism of the opposition parties.

He also launched an attack on some he did not name saying: “Do we want the Cyprus Republic? Of course we want it. But the Cyprus Republic is based on the constitution of 1960. There are some that are proposing we scrap the treaties of 1960, but it is then that we would abolish the Cyprus Republic. The constitution of 1960 gives rights to all legal residents.”

I think Anastasiades may have confused things. Who was he referring to?  Today there is nobody that would not want a return to the treaties of 1960. The joke is that some are proposing exactly this – the return to these treaties and in effect the unitary state. But this now is just a dream.

An even bigger joke is that the politicians demanding this are those posing as the heirs and upholders of the ‘struggle’  of those who in 1963, in their misguided attempt to abolish the treaties, managed to do away with the state. Who brought the Cyprus Republic to an end? Makarios, Papadopoulos, Yiorkadjis, Kyprianou, Lyssarides etc. Tassos was the man who drafted the notorious ‘Akritas Plan’.

Today’s politicians that admire the above-mentioned and have become the custodians of their legacy are Papadopoulos’ son, Lillikas, Omirou and Sizopoulos, the leaders who reject a federal settlement and want a return to the 1960 state; the state whose demise was ensured by their political idols.

This is why I think the president somehow confused things. If he had wanted to address the rejectionist politicians I mentioned he should have told them something completely different – that they, the descendants and cheerleaders of Makarios and his accomplices, had no right to say they did not accept federation nor to demand a return to the Republic of 1960, which they had dissolved.

Makarios himself admitted in the most impressive way this political crime in a letter he sent to Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou on March 1 1964, just three months after the state had collapsed in ruins thanks to his brinkmanship.

He wrote:

“Our purpose, Mr President, is the abolition of the Zurich-London agreements, in order that the Greek Cypriot people, in consultation with our mother country, would be able, independently, to decide their future. I signed these agreements on behalf of the Greeks of Cyprus. In my personal opinion, under the prevailing conditions, there was no other option. But never for a moment did I believe the agreements would constitute a permanent regime.

Since then, internationally and domestically, conditions changed and I think the time has come to attempt getting rid of the imposed treaties. The unilateral abolition of the treaties, without following the lawful procedure or the agreement of all the signatories, could possibly have serious consequences. But we will not undertake this action without prior consultation with the government of Greece.”

Yet when he wrote this, 70 days had already passed from the time the crafty priest had dissolved the state in order to free himself from the supposedly “imposed treaties”. Not only had he not consulted the Greek government, but went ahead, knowing that Greece was strongly opposed to such a move.

And while for the next 10 years Makarios and his associates were proclaiming to the world that that the treaties of 1960 were no longer valid, because they had abolished them with the tragicomic  Akritas plan, today we have his political heirs and upholders of his legacy demanding, 50 years later, a return to the state he had dissolved.

Such is their political stupidity that they are incapable of understanding that conditions in 2015 have no relation to those of 1960 and that in politics, the cost of mistakes and bad judgment sooner or later has to be paid.

(Cyprus Mail, 30.08.2015)

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