President Mustafa Akıncı gave a speech about the final stages of the Cyprus negotiations at the Near East University İrfan Günsel Congress Centre.

In his address, the President focused primarily on the last two years of the Cyprus talks and stated unequivocally that the open-ended negotiation process, which has continued over the last 50 years, is now over.

Akıncı noted that the Cyprus negotiations had become a top priority for the Greek Cypriot side in the wake of their forthcoming elections: “It would not be right for us to paint a bleak picture for finding a solution, nor can we say that 2018 will be a year of resolution.”

President Akıncı also said that the Turkish Cypriot side had made serious contributions to the negotiation process and highlighted the difference in stance between former UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon and current Secretary General Antonio Guterres. In his remarks, Akıncı emphasised that while Ban Ki-Moon had said that both sides had made “unprecedented progress”, current Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had described the recent failure of the talks as “an historic opportunity which has been lost.”

Indicating that the five-party conference had only taken place due to his decision to put the map issue on the agenda, Akıncı also stated that he had done this because of his belief in finding a solution and reiterated that all sides stood to lose from the options that were presented.

Regarding the expression “unprecedented progress”, Akıncı said that there had been an historical opportunity during the talks but it remained on paper alone, it was not a part of the Greek Cypriot side’s mentality. He also added that the Greek Cypriots had shown that they do not wish to share the benefits of being recognized as a state with Turkish Cypriots.

Reiterating that the Turkish Cypriot side does not wish the security of one side to be a threat to the other, Akıncı said, “Everybody understood this, however our interlocutor did not want to understand this.” Akıncı continued, “The regrettable fact is that the Greek Cypriot leadership has taken an active stance on future elections, but not on future generations.”

Akıncı also stated that he had taken the initiative despite heavy criticism, but that he never hears the Greek Cypriot leader say to his own people, “If you want a federation, the President of the Republic of Cyprus will be a Turkish Cypriot”, and cited this as an example of how the Greek Cypriot mentality must change.

“We will not live confined in the buffer zone and we will not continue to discuss the same issue for years. The open-ended, unending negotiation process is now over. Personally, I no longer wish to be a part of such a process any longer,” he said.

Akıncı also stated that a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal settlement, based on political equality between two constituent states, with a rotating presidency and a territorial adjustment, must be the first option on the agenda. He also said that both sides must discuss how to live side by side, under two separate roofs, in the event that there is no federation settlement but emphasised that Turkish Cypriots will never be a minority within the Greek Cypriot community.

Source: TRNC Public Information Office