NICOSIA – Signaling their talking days are over for now – following the collapse of unity negotiations – Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said denunciations by Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were “unacceptable”.
The two had started off on conciliatory terms more than two years ago when talks by the two moderates brought optimism there could finally be an end to the island’s division after it was split by an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion that saw the northern seized and occupied.
Their sit-down at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in July, overseen by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the island’s guarantors of security – Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom, its former Colonial ruler which still keeps a military base there – fell apart when Turkey said it would reduce, but never remove, an occupying army there and wanted the right to militarily intervene when it wanted.
That set off rapid-fire finger-pointing by both sides and led to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan putting in place a strategy to end the international isolation of the occupied territory only Ankara recognizes.
While blaming Akinci, Anastasiades said, “I don’t want to engage in a blame game,” and then said Akinci has no right to accuse Cypriots whose homes are occupied by Turks and whose “human rights are being violated” by Turkey.