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TRNC News Today 15th February 2016 – Akinci: “No blocking in the negotiations”

TRNC News Today 15th February 2016

 

President Akıncı: “No Blockage in the negotiations”

Stating that there is no blockage in the negotiations and the difficult issues have been discussed, President Mustafa Akıncı emphasized that the negotiators will study harder to speed up the negotiation process.

Mustafa Akinci

Akıncı said: “If we make a compromise for the rest of the points of the four chapters discussed previously in the following 1-2 months, the aftermath of solving the issues of territory and security-guarantees, I hope that 2016 will be the year that we take a step for a permanent peace in Cyprus. We can make a settlement which can be approved by both sides and make the future of Cyprus better than today”.

President Akıncı also mentioned about the “rotating presidency” and he said: “Our attitude on this issue is very clear, but the Greek Cypriot side has some problems on the issue, that is why there is no agreement on this issue yet but I think reconciliation is inevitable”.

Furthermore, mentioning the issue of “citizenship”, President Mustafa Akıncı said: “My opinion on this issue is not a secret, I’m conducting the negotiations according to the official data of the TRNC. Therefore, the seriousness on the negotiating table should continue.”

In a report prepared for the US Congress, it was noted that 2016 is critical for the Cyprus problem

In a report prepared for the US Congress, it was noted that the first months of 2016 are critical for the Cyprus problem. The report, which bears the signature of the US Congressional Research Service specialist Vincent L. Morelli, and aims to inform the members of the US Congress and the committees of the Congress was published under the title “Cyprus: Proven Difficulty of Reaching Reunification.”

US Congress report

According to the report, it has not been proved yet whether the agreements reached in the Cyprus negotiations will result in a permanent solution approved by both sides in Cyprus or not.

Furthermore, it was evident in the report that the positive relationship between President Akıncı and Greek Cypriot Leader Anastasiades caused a new optimism for a solution in Cyprus.

Bozkır: “We opposed the transfer of the Cyprus problem to the EU process”

Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs and the Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır stated “We always opposed the transfer of the necessary elements for the solution of the Cyprus problem to the EU process because if some of these elements were transferred, the problem would never be solved”.

Volkan Bozkir

Stating that if the Cyprus problem is solved, some important chapters can be opened, Bozkır said: “If the Cyprus problem cannot be solved, it is the EU’s commitment to open the 5 chapters blocked by the Greek Cypriot Administration without the decision of the EU Council.

Sunday Mail 14th February 2016

Lack of seriousness in changing ‘red lines’

A STATEMENT made by government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides last Tuesday, I think, was adequate to show the full extent of the irresponsibility, ineptitude, sloppiness and complete lack of seriousness in the handling of the Cyprus problem.

He said: “In the last few days many statements have been made about the Cyprus issue. We will not follow the example of on air negotiating, as we do not consider it a show of seriousness and commitment to the negotiating table.” Something similar was said by President Anastasiades in his interview on Sigma TV. “If we want a settlement we must be grounded and negotiate seriously,” he had said.

changing red lines

Seriousness? The first to show a lack of seriousness and the first to engage in “on air negotiating” are these two. I went through the archives of the Public Information Office (PIO), which records and releases all the statements by government officials of the last two months. During that time hardly a day went by in which there had not been a statement “on air” either by Anastasiades or his spokesman. Christodoulides would do well to keep quiet instead of passing judgement on others

I had written about this behaviour last Sunday but I thought I should also give some examples to better illustrate it. For instance, one of the “red lines” drawn recently “on air” by Anastasiades was the ruling out of a rotating presidency. But this had been accepted some time ago by our side. It is one of the Christofias-Talat convergences.

In the relevant UN document of 30 April 2013 (Convergences 2008-2012, Section 1) it is clearly stipulated that that there would be direct elections for the presidency (president and vice president) and the term would be six years with four for a Greek Cypriot and two for a Turkish Cypriot. For the Turkish Cypriots the rotating presidency of the federal government is a real red line after everything that happened in 1963.

It is one of the few issues on which Mustafa Akinci has taken a hard line, saying that without it there would be no settlement. How much seriousness, under the circumstances, does Anastasiades’ “on air” backtracking contain?

Another “red line” regularly uttered by the president “on air” is the matter of guarantees. He does this fully aware that, while Turkey has shown readiness for some amendment to the guarantee system of 1960, “so that Greek Cypriots do not feel insecure”, it would not agree to their immediate scrapping.

On this, it is interesting to mention that even Tassos Papadopoulos, in the changes to the Annan plan he proposed to the UN in 2005, did not seek the immediate abolition of the guarantee system. In the relevant document submitted to the then Under-Secretary-General Sir Kieran Prendergast, Papadopoulos had proposed the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee until Turkey became a member of the EU, but wanted the right of unilateral intervention to be ruled out. (It would be good if this is borne in mind by Nicolas Papadopoulos, who soon will demand a chunk of Turkey territory to agree to a settlement).

On the issues of property (which Anastasiades cannot stop talking about) and settlers, our side had shown considerable flexibility when Papadopoulos was president. With regard to properties, Papadopoulos told the UN that Greek Cypriots “accepted the need to protect current users that had been displaced”. As regards settlers he proposed that “a maximum number of 30,000 settlers could remain” and asked that the rest withdrew “at brief time intervals”. His son should also bear this in mind when he appears on television insisting that not a single settler should remain and that all refugees (of whom three quarters are dead) should return to their homes.

So if we want to negotiate with anything resembling seriousness Anastasiades and his spokesman should bear in mind that all the above are recorded and we cannot now backtrack and declare new “red lines” on air. Negotiations are not a game which we can switch off and start from the beginning when we feel like it. This is not “on air negotiating” but a joke and the Cyprus problems cannot be solved with jokes.

(Sunday Mail, 14 February 2016)

The masters of contradiction

WE ARE bracing ourselves for entry into the rough seas of an election period that is marked by hysterical rhetoric. Perhaps it is for this reason the so-called parties of the centre – incidentally, it would be more accurate to refer to them as ‘far-right’ – have started citing, as an argument against a settlement of the Cyprus problem, that we could not trust Turkey to implement all the provisions of an agreement.

DIKO chief Nicolas Papadopoulos, speaking at the Athens Energy Forum 2016 organised by the New York Times, made it clear that even if there were a settlement, we should still not co-operate with Turkey in the energy sector because Greek Cypriots did not trust Turkish politicians.

Masters of contradiction

Someone could counter this argument by saying there were mechanisms via the UN, EU, NATO that would force Turkey to fulfil its obligations. If the far-right parties believed that these mechanisms were ineffective, they would have been more consistent if they proposed abandoning the talks as, according to their evaluation, these were a waste of time and energy.

What I would like to point out is that if there were a Nobel Prize for Political Schizophrenia or Untrustworthiness, Cypriot politicians would have a sterling record of enviable successes and would have been known by everyone, including the Papua tribe of New Guinea. From the establishment of the Cyprus Republic until today we would have boasted the highest number of Nobel winners as a proportion of our population. The supporting data is overwhelming and exciting. Limited space, however, allows me to list only a very small compilation.

Top of the untrustworthiness league was the first president of the Republic of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios. As president in the first years of the Republic’s existence, he worked on its destruction through the notorious Akritas plan with a subsequent president, Tassos Papadopoulos, as one of his accomplices. The whole plot was set up in order to achieve enosis, which was expressly ruled out by the constitution and which every president takes an oath to respect and obey.

Later, in 1968, displaying some insight and moderation, Makarios explained to the Cypriot people, that while union with Greece was desirable it was unachievable. This turn was necessary for the talks between the two communities to commence. But while the talks to amend the constitution were taking place, some of Makarios’ ministers at every opportunity praised enosis as the only national option.

Even Makarios was often carried away by the flow and had occasional outbursts in support of enosis, which according to his declarations was unachievable. At a memorial service in Yialousa in 1971 he said: “Cyprus was Greek since the dawn of history and will remain Greek.”  The confusion among foreign diplomats was total. Foreign diplomats who described the Greek Cypriot leadership as “schizophrenic” were more than justified. In truth, what else could it have been?

The words and deeds of our deputies are document masterpieces of glaring contradictions and about-turns. What stands out perhaps is the criminalisation of rusfeti. Cyprus’ deputies, in their efforts to ensure equality before the law, are constantly telling us that rusfeti is a violation of constitutional law. What schizophrenia! With deputies, who pose as the custodians of legality, as the protagonists and the parties backing them, rusfeti is still the national sport of Cypriots.

All the parties are emphatically schizophrenic. DISY, for example, transmits two completely contradictory messages. One is optimistic and cheerful – it relates to the meetings of the DISY leader with representatives of Turkish Cypriot parties in an attempt to forge a better communication and understanding between the two communities. The other is ominous and nightmarish – every year the party’s leading officials attend the memorial service for General Grivas, to the joy of ELAM and the remnants of the criminal EOKA B.

If Pindarus were alive today he would have accused Pindaru (the Nicosia street where DISY headquarters are located) of opportunism and would probably have written at least one poem about the lax political ethics of our country.

AKEL is no different. While it had been strenuously championing the Annan Plan, a few days before the referendum it made an 180-degree turn, coming up with the slogan “Vote ‘no’ so we can cement the ‘yes’,” a theory that is extremely difficult for any rational person to comprehend; possibly more difficult than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. DIKO, meanwhile, accepts the settlement of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation (BBF) yet reviles and demonises it on a daily basis.

Turkish Cypriot politicians have good reason to be at a loss – they do not know who and when and where is speaking the truth or lies. They do not know what to conclude.

One would have thought that the prestige and moral rectitude of the members of the National Council would never have been doubted. Unfortunately, the recent leaking of a confidential document by a member or members of the National Council, a few hours after it was given to them by the president, emphatically shows that not even the leaders can inspire confidence or trust.

In conclusion, as many doubts as Greek Cypriot politicians have about the trustworthiness of their Turkish colleagues, the latter have as many if not more about our politicians.

The moral: a culprit cannot pass moral judgements on others.

(Sunday Mail, 14 February 2016)

 

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