June 3, 2016
By Esra Aygin
President Anastasiades’ decision to cancel Friday’s leaders’ meeting is viewed as an “overreaction” by politicians and analysts in the north.
It was a response to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s presence at a dinner hosted by the Turkish President at the UN Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and his meeting with UN boss Ban Ki-moon.
While some suspected Akinci was trapped by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who wanted to sabotage the negotiations, Anastasiades’ commitment to a solution in 2016 was questioned.
Akinci, on his return to Cyprus, said he had not attended the summit, but only the dinner hosted by Erdogan and met Ban about the peace process.
“I don’t understand this reaction,” said Akinci.
“Not being able to tolerate our presence there is meaningless. We were not invited and I did not go to an event of the UN…We accepted the invitation to an event organised by the Turkish President and nobody has the right to say anything about this. The Greek Cypriot side’s reaction is a disproportionate reaction.”
Akinci said the Turkish Cypriot side was doing its utmost for a solution in Cyprus.
“We will be doing our utmost for a solution defending our rights and looking out for the equality, freedom and security of the Turkish Cypriot people, and of course also looking out for the reasonable sensitivities of the other community.
“But this does not mean that the Turkish Cypriot people will stay constrained to the buffer zone… This does not mean that the Turkish Cypriot people will not be able to attend a dinner hosted by the President of the only country that recognises them and that they will not be able to have a fruitful meeting with the UN Secretary General. This intolerance is unacceptable.”
The day and the time of the meeting with the Secretary General had not been fixed until the last moment and this is why his trip to Istanbul had not been announced, said Akinci.
Sources close to him say that he would not have gone just for the dinner had the UNSG meeting not been organised. Critics queried if Greek Cypriots cannot tolerate the Turkish Cypriot leader’s presence at a dinner, how will they be able to accept Turkish Cypriots as equal partners in a federation.
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