Relations with Turkish Cypriots since referendum

Your relationship with Mehmet Ali Talat is said to be not at its best. Since the referendum, how have relations been between the two communities? It is not right to evaluate relations between AKEL, its leaders, including the general secretary, and officials of the Turkish Republican Party (TPK), including Talat, simply on the basis of the latest events. These relations have a history and have been forged on the basis of absolutely common targets, rapprochement between the two communities on a sociopolitical, not to say a class basis, which unfortunately, and through no fault of AKEL, I believe, have been disturbed due to the fact that the TPK and its president have been forced to change their position, dare I say, for no reason. They do have a partial excuse. The situation in the occupied territories has been irregular. No one can judge political leaders in the occupied territory as one does political leaders in the free part of Cyprus. Political life in the occupied territory has developed under Attila’s boot, and where the commander of the occupation forces plays a decisive role. There is no free political life, no matter what anyone says, whether Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots or those abroad. «State structures» were set up when the pseudo-state was declared and the occupation authority and Turkey wanted to accustom the entire political spectrum to these «state structures.» We should not forget that. So under these conditions, people are obliged to function politically and to determine their policy on Cyprus by taking into consideration the establishment in the occupied territory and in Turkey, as well as the will of the government in Ankara. Therefore, over time, they have made their own concessions which to a certain extent are understandable. As for how far this can go, I am of the humble opinion that they have overstepped the limits in the Turkish-Cypriot community. In that sense, the relationship between the two parties has been disturbed. However it is true that since the referendum, the «no» vote by the Greek Cypriots and the «yes» vote by the Turkish Cypriots, an even greater distance has emerged, irrespective of what has gone before or who is responsible, because the two parties were not coordinated. Now the goal is for them to come together again and this process has begun. There are frequent contacts at the highest level between the two parties in order to make the concerns of the Greek Cypriots understood. We are at that stage now and I hope and pray that relations between the two parties will be restored as soon as possible. This will be a good message to ordinary Turkish Cypriots.