Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci argues that failure to reach a Cyprus solution based on the principles of a bizonal and bicommunal federation will see partition on the island take on a permanent form as differences widen.
“We need to hurry up. After all these years we have come to a crossroads, a decisive moment,” Akinci said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper.
Akıncı said conditions were being created for lasting division.
“It’s becoming more consolidated each year, physically, demographically, economically. It consolidates in the mind of youngsters.”
Akinci and his wife – both born in the south – had a closer, more emotional relationship with Greek Cyprus than a newer generation including their own children, said The Guardian.
He argued that if there is no solution to reunify Cyprus under a federal “roof”, then the Turkish occupied north of the island would become more dependent on Ankara and end up being a “de facto Turkish province”.
Akinci appeared to be moderately confident that stalled UN-backed talks that crashed in July 2017 as Swiss resort will resume soon.
“The train derailed at Crans-Montana. I think we have since then put it back on a realistic and mutually acceptable path.”
The Guardian noted that Akinci, a fierce critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ankara’s meddling in Turkish Cypriot affairs, will be challenged by Ersin Tatar “a populist who supports Ankara” and is in favour of a two-state solution in crunch Turkish Cypriot leadership elections on 26 April.
The UK paper noted that tensions between Akinci and Turkey have increased recently due to his criticism over Turkey’s decision to invade Syria.
Akinci also told the paper that he disagreed with President Erdogan’s vision of Ankara’s view of its relationship with the Turkish Cypriots.
He argued that while Ankara sees the relationship as a one between a “mother and a baby”, “I want independent, brotherly relations” and the preservation of the distinctive secular, democratic and pluralistic identity of the Turkish Cypriots.