Nicosia (AFP) – Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci called Wednesday for “realism and reasonable” approaches from the Greek Cypriots ahead of UN-backed talks aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon is to open a five-day summit in Geneva on Monday between Akinci and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades for talks billed as the last best chance for an enduring peace deal.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the northern third of the island following an Athens-inspired coup by Greek Cypriots seeking union with Greece.
“We want the Greeks (Cypriots) to leave to one side their wholesale approaches. We want them to come with realism and reasonable limits,” Akinci said during a speech.
“We want them to understand that we cannot come to a resolution with a ‘zero soldiers, zero guarantees, we won’t accept anything’ mentality,” he said.
Akinci is the leader of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or TRNC, an entity recognised only by Turkey.
For the first time, Akinci and Anastasiades are to discuss territorial adjustments in Mont Pelerin, near Geneva after negotiations were launched in May 2015.
The Turkish Cypriot leader said the goal was to achieve a federal structure with two regions and two communities based on a political balance between the two founding states that both parties can agree to.
Akinci has previously said he hopes that a roadmap for reunification can be agreed before the end of the year.
“If we leave without a result, then in 2017 the Cyprus problem has come to a point when we must put it in everyone’s hat for them to think about it,” he said.
“This is not something that we can keep discussing after 50 years for another 50 years. Everyone, including the UN, is aware of this.”