Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has accused Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci of having planned to leave the negotiating table beforehand last week, in a bid to avoid being seen as intransigent with regard to Turkey’s demand to maintain troops on the island and the right to intervene in the event of a settlement.
In an interview to Cyprus daily Phileleftheros published on Sunday, Anastasiades insisted that Akinci and Ankara should not persist on equating the majority Greek community on the island with the minority one of the Turkish Cypriots.
“There is no justification for their insistence for the minority to call the shots and for the majority to obey,” he said, adding that this was unprecedented and that the Turkish Cypriots “must understand this.”
The United Nations-backed talk to reunite the island received a setback last week after they were abruptly ended due to the objections raised by Turkish Cypriot to a decision by Cyprus Parliament for Greek Cypriot schools to commemorate a referendum in 1950 which backed union with Greece.
Anastasiades has admitted that the decision was ill-timed and wrong but also said that the Turkish Cypriots had overreacted and used it as an excuse to the stop the talks.
The Cyprus President also said last week that he expects Akinci to return to the negotiating table only after a referendum is held in April in Turkey over whether to expand the powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Greek Cypriots say the solution to the Cyprus problem not only depends on Greek and Turkish Cypriots striking a deal, but, more importantly, on the will of Ankara which maintains more than 30,000 troops there since it invaded in 1974, dividing the island along ethnic lines.