Akinci Bets On Cyprus Unity Deal By April's End, Says Turkish Army Stays

The National Herald Archive

Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said Cyprus must bend to Turkey's will

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said he wants a unity deal by the end of April so he can campaign for President on his side of the divided island but said a 30,000-strong Turkish Army won't leave no matter what.
Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades won't meet again until March to resume talks that collapsed in Geneva because the country's guarantors of security, the UK, Greece and Turkey, couldn't agree on how to keep order if a deal is reached to reunify the island split since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion.
“There are five sides involved: two communities and three guarantor countries. That was the reason the Cyprus Conference in Geneva had five attendants. If no agreement is reached, the international agreements will remain in place. No one can change these agreements unilaterally,” he said in an interview with the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.
Akinci said Greece and the Greek Cypriot side should leave aside their rhetoric of ‘zero soldiers, zero guarantee’.
“Our counterparts need to understand that, in terms of guarantees, Turkish Cypriots do not see their safety in any other place than with Turkey. We are told, ‘You will be in the EU, this is enough of a guarantee’. Yet, the EU does not have such a mechanism,” he said.
That echoed the words of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the army is there to stay "forever," even if that condition scuttles a deal.
In a stark warning this the perhaps the last chance, Akinci said,  “If this does not work out, it is highly likely that we are also coming to the end of the attempt at a Federal settlement.".
“For this to happen, there is not much time left apart from the few months ahead of us.” He said that in addition to the presidential elections new tensions could emerge around natural gas exploration. Total is expected to begin drilling around the same time.
“Therefore, the months of February, March and April will be seriously decisive,” said Akinci.

He also said there won't be a deal unless a Turk is President every other term and that Anastasiades has to make more concessions.

“They will come to terms with the fact that a Turkish Cypriot will become the President of the federal state within the framework of rotating Presidency. They will share the government, the assembly and resources. Therefore, they have reservations about these issues.”

He and Anastasiades in the earlier meeting reportedly carved up the island with a secret map locked in a United Nations safe showing how much property and territory stolen by Turks would be returned.
But he said, "We have not agreed to any map. The Greek Cypriots rejected our map and we rejected theirs. The maps ... will come out last. The vault will open once everything is over.”
Akinci also said, “There are voices for a Plan B or a Plan C, like annexation by Turkey,” he said.
“These issues are not on our agenda. Such a development would benefit neither us, nor Turkey. Annexation benefits no one," he said.