Having been under attack from his own side for supposedly diluting the vital elements of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating position, particularly on the issue of security and Turkey’s guarantees, President Mustafa Akıncı has been at pains to stress nothing could be further from the truth.
Speaking at the Akıncılar Festival on 6 May, the TRNC leader claimed his position about Turkey’s guarantees had been misunderstood and that “there are many distortions regarding this issue nowadays”, taking aim at comments from the Greek Cypriot side which seemed to misrepresent the framework established by the UN Secretary General António Guterres on 30 June last year.
President Akıncı stated it was not possible to reach a solution when Greek Cypriots insisted on “zero troops, zero guarantees”, adding, “Nothing like that exists either in our plan, or in our programme, or in the recommendations of the UN”. He reiterated that any demands to exclude Turkey from Cyprus’ future security arrangements would not be accepted by the Turkish Cypriot side.
At another event on Monday, 14 May, President Akıncı called on both sides to respect the core principles of the talks while adapting to the current realities on the island. He criticised the Greek Cypriot side for constantly seeking to dilute these principles and distorting his statements.
President Akıncı: “Equality, freedom, and security are not exaggerated demands, but fundamental requirements”
The president underlined that political equality is of paramount importance to Turkish Cypriots, as reflected in a rotating presidency and their effective participation in all aspects of decision-making on the island. He emphasised it was vital that one side did not try to impose its will on the other and the need for Turkish Cypriots to feel secure.
Responding to statements made by the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades during a reception for newly appointed British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie, that “Turkey must give up its provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Turkish Cypriot side must give up its extreme demands and then we can consider the negotiations,” Mr Akıncı said, “Equality, freedom, and security are not exaggerated demands, but fundamental requirements.”
The President of the Republic @AnastasiadesCY received today the credentials of the High Commissioner of the #UK to #Cyprus @UKinCyprus @StephenLillieUK .@foreignoffice @CyprusMFA
Read more here: https://t.co/QqVqYhT4Iu pic.twitter.com/hSZvK7G3jO
— PIO Cyprus (@CyprusPIO) May 11, 2018
He also censured Mr Anastasiades for asserting that the search for natural resources off the coast of Cyprus was the sole prerogative of the authorities in the South. President Akıncı said, “The riches in the Eastern Mediterranean are common [to both peoples]. They do not belong only to the Greek Cypriots.”