Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci emphasized that the passage of time is working against a solution in Cyprus because of the environmental as well as the demographic changes that take place in the northern part of Cyprus.
“I reiterate this whenever I can and I don’t intend it as a threat,” said Akinci at the Ercan airport before his departure for Cyprus talks in Geneva. “This is the reality that we are faced with. The Greek Cypriot side needs to acknowledge the fact that the passage of time did not help a solution till now, and it will not in the future. The passage of time leads to environmental changes as well as demographic changes.”
About the week-long talks in Geneva, Akinci told the journalists that the guarantor powers and the international community needs to help the Cypriots to overcome the last hurdles in the negotiations.
“All sides need to act responsibly,” said Akinci “First of all the Cypriots – the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots - need to be understanding towards each other and help each other. And the three guarantor states, the UN, the EU and the international community need to help the Cypriots. We are exactly at that juncture. This is the time for those contributions.”
The Turkish Cypriot leader stated that he is not pessimistic but acknowledged that the week ahead in Geneva will be “difficult.”
“If all sides including the guarantors act with determination and sense of responsibility, and make an effort, it is possible to initiate a new period in Cyprus,” he said.
Akinci emphasized that he wants the political equality of Turkish Cypriots to be secured in Geneva this week.
“Since Geneva has become a turning point, since we are going to be talking about territory, and since security and guarantees will come to the table immediately after, we believe it is time to reach clarity on our political equality. When will we talk about this issue if not now? The Greek Cypriot side should demonstrate that it can come to terms with the political equality of Turkish Cypriots including rotational presidency and effective participation in decision making.”
In a strong message against the issue of annexation of the northern part of Cyprus with Turkey, which has been widely discussed by the media recently, Akinci stated that the Turkish Cypriots neither want to become a botch to south Cyprus, nor a province to Turkey.
“Turkey has some 800,000 km2 of land. I don’t think it needs the small land in Cyprus,” said Akinci. “It has 81 provinces. I don’t think it needs an 82nd. And Mustafa Akinci has no intention of becoming the second Tayfur Sokmen [the president of Hatay before it became a province of Turkey.”