NICOSIA - Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said he’s willing to go back to the bargaining table with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who walked away from talks to unify the island divided since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion.
Akinci, who said he agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s demands to keep an army and military intervention rights on the island, where Turkey occupies the northern third, was also irked that Anastasiades let Parliament approve a decision to mark a 1950 referendum seeking unity, or Enosis, with Greece.
The measure passed with the push of far-right extremist lawmakers and as those in Anastasiades’ majority party let it happen by refusing to vote, although he hasn’t said why he didn’t direct them to oppose a vote he said was wrongly directed.
“Let us abandon the rhetoric and the excuses and focus in a positive manner on how a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality can yield a functional, modern state,” Anastasiades said without offering any specific proposals.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Cavusoglu on March 14 the Greek Cypriot side for disrupting the peace process and claiming they wanted union with Greece.
Anastasiades said the regulation adopted by parliament did not signify a policy change. “Then what can one say about the July 20 and August 15 celebrations,” he said in reference to Turkey’s 1974 military invasion of the island.
He didn’t rule out a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during a visit to New York later this month but said no trilateral talks were planned between the UN chief and the leaders of divided island. Anastasiades is to deliver a keynote address at the Invest in Cyprus Forum in New York on March 22.