The New Cyprus Party (YKP) organised a press conference at their Headquarters on Monday 15 February 2016, entitled “hidden facts of the negotiation process”, where the recent developments in the Cyprus problem were evaluated. Executive board member Murat Kanatlı, Party Council members Alpay Durduran, Rasıh Keskiner, Hamit Aygün and Nicosia District Board member Mehmet Özyücekök attended the press conference.
At the start of the press conference, Murat Kanatlı stressed the importance of the settlement of the Cyprus problem for YKP, which is why this press conference was necessary. He then gave the floor to Alpay Durduran. Mr Durduran presented the views of the party on the negotiation process and answered questions. The statement follows:
The response from the Turkish Cypriot leadership to the leaked information from the Greek Cypriot leader’s briefing, was “things are going well, there is progress”. This revealed the game being played. Eide, who contributed to the atmosphere of “things are going well”, intervened and stated that the way that federal Cyprus will be established is given in the 11 February 2014 Leaders’ Common Statement. He felt it is meaningless to bring this issue back onto the agenda. However, the Leaders circumvented the negotiation without any statement, declaring that “we are putting efforts for the solution”. They are doing it for propaganda to deceive the world.
This gave them the chance to continue without engaging in the blame game and therefore looking good.
The people of Cyprus that want an agreement should consider this behaviour.
Those who are without any doubt in favour of peace should not forget that the devil is in the detail. Peace is possible by remembering that it can be realised by stopping micro-nationalism and it must be based on realities. It might be ensured by military power or soft power as the political power balance is defined, however it can be destroyed with the first change in the balance of power.
Eide also stated that the Leaders agreed on the establishment of the Cyprus federal state and this is included in the 11 February common statement. If we read this document again, we can see that there is no sign or intention of “the federal state will be established by the dissolution of the two existing states”. At the same time, it does not include any necessity for the existing ones to stay as they are and the federal ones to be set up later. In the 11 February Common Statement it is sufficiently stated what will be done for a federal Cyprus to be established. There is no need for anything else. Eide also confirmed this because Eide is not someone who writes something in the document but means something else.
The people of Cyprus should not give any opportunity to these kinds of attitudes. The Cyprus problem cannot be solved if the Leaders are not honest with each other. The things they say and what they mean must be same. Regardless of what they are trying to say, it is the obligation of a free press in particularly and the people in general to ensure that they are maintaining their honesty with us.
Akıncı needs to explain his speech where he says a federal Cyprus will be established by shutting down the existing Cyprus Republic. Anastasiades has to explain who is trying to abolish the old state and wishes to delete the registration at the UN and the EU, by saying that the federal state will be the continuation of the old one, and he needs to be careful not to create suspicions when answering rumours created by those who were irritated by these statements.
We need to learn who encourages Erdoğan or Davutoğlu who say Morphou cannot be returned and those who say “every TRNC citizen will become a citizen of Cyprus and the EU”.
Akıncı draws a new red line by saying “bi-zonality is not limited to a political majority. We will not make our people vote in favour of an agreement which will not make us the clear majority in terms of population and property in north.”
These statements prove that we are still far from peace or the solution. It is so clear that somebody tries to make people wanting peace to see these as real efforts for peace or a settlement.
In the 11 February Common Statement it is stated that “7. Parties will seek to create a positive atmosphere to ensure the talks succeed”. This is being implemented and the positive environment is protected. The article continues: “The parties commit to avoiding blame games or other negative public comments on the negotiations”. Can we say that? Even Eide felt the need to tell them to keep quiet. In the Common Statement it is stated that (the parties): “They also commit to efforts to implement confidence building measures that will provide a dynamic impetus to the prospect for a united Cyprus”. But promises are not being kept. Steps are not being taken to provide a dynamic speed.
Dear members of the press, as YKP we have always supported the negotiations. We have even voted for the agreement between the leaders saying: “So be it, we will have chance to fix it”. We have voted for the Annan plan despite our disagreement, like in the ways achieved with bridges and proposals for crossings and we never hesitated to express our criticism. We supported AKEL’s position which said: “we need to postpone the 2004 referendums for the Annan plan and in this way we could have time to inform the people, otherwise we would get a NO vote since it is going to be rejected”, but our voice was not heard. This time we are showing the same thoroughness but the situation is not going well.
Anastasiades says: “how will this be if the security of one side is a threat for the other side?”: Akıncı says: “Our people will not vote for an agreement which will not include the guarantee of Turkey.” How will the Leaders reach an agreement?
If there are people who believe and propose: “Let Turkey guarantee the Turkish Cypriots and Greece the Greek Cypriots” as a positive proposal, much worse than the existing guarantee system, then there will be no solution.
And Erdoğan says: “do not trust the promises given by the EU” meaning he rejects the EU’s guarantee.
Since 1964, at every opportunity Turkey explained as a first principle “first, the rights and obligations of Turkey, second the security of the Turkish Cypriots”. And frequently they made an official statement such as: “if there was no treaty of guarantee and we intervened, in such situation which state wouldn’t intervene”.
Is there anybody who does not know that the guarantors disagree about the treaty of guarantee? Each has a different opinion. Only Turkey declares that an armed intervention is not subjected to the permission of the UN. Turkey also says: “we cannot ignore the incidents that will happen in an island 60 miles away”. Now surely making the issue of guarantees an obstacle to the solution is equivalent to being against a solution?
How can it be considered as supporting peace if the need for compensation is considered as the most serious problem? Don’t they always say when making the calculations that it will bring peace, prosperity and opportunities? Eide stated that this might be a problem in the beginning, then the solution will cover the cost and eventually the whole island will benefit greatly from this. This was anyway discussed during the Annan plan period.
Some people at certain times try to create reactions against the developments as if it was agreed to show an uncompromising attitude and the Leaders follow this attitude. Therefore, although the Leaders support the progress, they prefer to provoke instead of defending the progress.
Akıncı says that “If Greek Cypriots cannot get over the idea of a Turkish Cypriot being in the presidency of the common federal state for fair periods of time, then there will not be an agreement” and draws a red line.
They say that rotating presidency is a red line! What has changed; until recently the president would have been from the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot leadership was in agreement with this, but now the Greek Cypriot leader has become a racist? While saying: “we are fewer in number but we are not a minority” why has the election for the president by a general ballot become destructive of the federal state? In the past, the president would have been elected by the weighted votes of the Turkish Cypriots without belonging to a community, is this impossible now? There are ways to solve the issue of elections either with cross voting or together with the election of vice president but those proposals were rejected.
The parties repeatedly keep mentioning an agreement or a solution is in the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots or the Greek Cypriots. Whereas, we are arguing that it is necessary to work for an agreement and a solution for the benefit of all Cypriots. Currently, in America is there a discussion about electing the president in turn according to their skin colour? Is there a discussion about electing in turn Christian, Muslim or Jewish presidents? No. It is sufficient to be an American citizen. If we are going to establish a state with the rule of law, then being a Cypriot citizen should be sufficient.
Those concerned should accept to act by considering the interests of Cyprus and the Cyprus identity must earn respect accordingly. The safeguarding of the interests of the foreigners should be abandoned. We call upon political parties, non-governmental organisations and individuals who support the reunification of Cyprus to speak up against those who say something regarding the negotiation process, but mean something else.