Turkish Cypriot head puts condition on return to UN talks

"Firstly, the Greek Cypriot leader (Nicos Anastasiades) should give a clear message to the Turkish Cypriot people and to the world that he does not support this decision (vote)... and the second is to overturn it," said Mustafa Akinci.

Turkish Cypriot head puts condition on return to UN talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Turkish Cypriot leader warned Monday that a resumption of UN-brokered peace talks was conditional on his Greek Cypriot rival distancing himself from a parliamentary vote on a decades-old referendum on union with Greece.

"Otherwise, it will not be possible to make progress in the negotiations" aimed at reunifying the island, Akıncı said in a statement.

The Turkish Cypriot leader said he would "evaluate all the developments step by step" and decide on whether to resume the talks as scheduled on Thursday "once he "understands the intentions" of Anastasiades.

Akıncı said Monday that the Greek Cypriot parliamentary vote on the 1950 referendum on union with Greece, or Enosis, had "caused public indignation among the Turkish Cypriot people".

UN envoy Espen Barth Eide last week voiced confidence that the meeting would go ahead after the rival leaders engaged in a war of words over a walkout last Thursday sparked by acrimony over the church-organised referendum.

Eide said it was Akinci who stormed off but the Turkish Cypriot leader has accused the UN diplomat of "hiding half of the truth".

"Eide should not come to the situation of having the trust towards him questioned by saying one half of the truth and hiding the other," Akinci told reporters. 

He insists that Anastasiades left the room first, slamming the door behind him. Anastasiades has denied this and his spokesman squarely blamed Akinci.

Tensions have soared over the February 10 approval by the Greek Cypriot parliament for schools in the south to mark the referendum which overwhelmingly approved Enosis but had no legal value.

The amendment was sponsored by the far-right ELAM party, a fierce opponent of the peace talks.

The Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been engaged in fragile peace talks since May 2015 that observers have seen as the best chance in years to reunify the island.

Much of the progress until now has been based on the strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking Enosis.

Last Mod: 20 Şubat 2017, 17:08
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