March 25, 2017
By Esra Aygin
Hopes that negotiations may restart soon have revived among Turkish Cypriots, as a legislative amendment expected to render ineffective an earlier decision to commemorate a 1950 Enosis petition in schools is to be passed.
The amendment introduced by ruling DISY and supported by opposition AKEL is to be voted on in the plenum on March 31. It gives the authority to decide on commemorations to the Education Minister, therefore making it possible for the minister to overturn the Enosis commemoration decision.
“The decision of the Greek Cypriot parliamentary committee is pleasing,” said Baris Burcu, the spokesperson of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in a written statement. “The vote at the plenum, which will render the Enosis decision ineffective, will open the way for negotiations.”
Burcu added that Akinci is ready to meet with Nicos Anastasiades in a social gathering at the end of March.
The Enosis decision by the Cyprus parliament last month led to a collective backlash among the vast majority of Turkish Cypriots, prompting Mustafa Akinci to leave the negotiation table until the decision is retracted or rendered ineffective.
Turkish Cypriots consider the Enosis aim as the reason behind the inter-communal clashes of 1960s that saw them withdraw from all state organs of the Republic of Cyprus and move into enclaves throughout the island. A Greek-backed coup aimed at Enosis resulted in the Turkish military intervention in July 1974.
“It is with great pleasure that I find out today that DISY’s proposal regarding the 1950 Enosis commemorations at public schools has been approved by the education committee of the Greek Cypriot parliament,” Fikri Toros, President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, wrote on his Facebook page.
“My hope is that the next necessary steps to render ineffective the commemoration decision will also be taken, so that a climate based on trust is re-established and negotiations continue,” Toros wrote.
“We no longer have the luxury of losing time… The comprehensive solution process, which we hope will continue as soon as possible, can be successful if first of all the two leaders and all the relevant sides show the necessary political will and courage.”
Toros, together with his Greek Cypriot counterpart Phidias Pilidis, President of the Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry, through backstage diplomacy played an important role in enabling the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaderships to communicate and discuss ways to overcome the crisis.
Akinci and DISY leader Averof Neophytou and AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou came together at dinners in the past weeks hosted by Toros and Pilidis to discuss the issue.
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