By Esra Aygin
The negotiations process aimed at finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem cannot linger on in an open-ended fashion, declared Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Nicosia on Thursday.
“We will continue efforts to find a fair, permanent, comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem,” said Yildirim in a joint press conference with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
“However, it is no longer acceptable to hold up the Turkish side and the international community and to delay the negotiations further. It’s time for the Greek Cypriot side to show a clear will.”
Yildirim was in the north for a Justice and Development Party AKP rally later in the day to garner support for the April 16 presidential referendum in Turkey. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes had arrived in Cyprus a day earlier.
The blame game that has been on the rise on both sides since the Greek Cypriot Parliament adopted a bill to annually commemorate a 1950 Enosis petition in schools a month ago was prominent during yesterday’s press conference.
Yildirim described the Enosis vote as “unfortunate,” and said it came at a sensitive time when the “Greek Cypriot side should have put forward strong desire for a comprehensive solution.”
“Instead of correcting this mistake… Greek Cypriot side is continuing to adopt an aggressive stance that ignores the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriots,” Yildirim said.
“It is obvious that this attitude cannot take the negotiations process forward.”
A solution is only possible “if the mentality, which doesn’t see Turkish Cypriots as co-owners of the island, is completely changed,” stated Yildirim.
“A comprehensive solution is possible only if the idea of an equal partnership and faith in a common future are embraced.”
Akinci said they are still expecting the Greek Cypriot side to correct the “grave mistake” of the Enosis vote. “Showing that they can correct this mistake would help rebuild the eroding trust between the two peoples.”
Reacting against the meeting between Nicos Anastasiades and President Jean Claude Junker of the European Commission on Thursday, Akinci said that the Greek Cypriot side is exploiting the issue of creating a Turkish-Greek balance in Cyprus, “which is described as four freedoms.”
“It is impossible to understand why Anastasiades would go and provoke the EU.”
Although the Turkish Cypriot side has a strong will to solve the Cyprus problem, they are not seeking a solution at all costs, said Akinci, who warned that the energy issue could lead to new tensions in the region unless there is a solution.