Letter from the General Secretary of the Central Committee of AKEL to the President of the Republic on the Cyprus problem
24 January 2024, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
As he had informed during the last session of the National Council, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of AKEL, Stefanos Stefanou, has already sent a letter to the President of the Republic in which the Party’s proposals for breaking the deadlock on the Cyprus problem and the effort to create preconditions for a positive outcome are set out in detail. These are specific proposals that form a comprehensive proposal which is based on four main pillars. Attached to the letter as separate annexes are AKEL’s proposals on the Guterres Framework, the creation of a positive agenda and the measures of the Republic of Cyprus towards the Turkish Cypriots.
Without any guaranteeing that the desired response from the Turkish side and the current Turkish Cypriot leadership will exist, AKEL insists that if these initiatives respecting the “red lines” of our side are undertaken, incentives can be created for the resumption of a meaningful dialogue. At the same time, the adoption of such initiatives will certainly contribute towards restoring the Greek Cypriot side’s credibility among the international community.
The letter is reproduced in full:
“As we had stated during the last session of the National Council, with this letter we are submitting specific proposals which constitute a comprehensive proposal in the direction of the effort to break the deadlock on the Cyprus problem.
For more than six years, the Cyprus problem has been in a state of a dangerous stalemate since the end of the Crans Montana Conference on Cyprus in 2017 when there has been no negotiation procedure underway. This is the longest stalemate recorded since 1974. The historical experience of the Cyprus problem shows that whenever a negotiation procedure is absent we always observe
attempts to impose new negative fait accompli by the Turkish side. All the more so because this time the responsibility for the collapse of the negotiation procedure on the part of the United Nations was not only not attributed to Turkey, but the occupying power was in effect relieved of any responsibilities and the responsibility was apportioned equally on both communities. We note this as a fact and not to apportion responsibilities, since that is not the objective of this letter.
Bearing in mind the situation as it has evolved, and with the responsibility of the Turkish side given, which is now essentially demanding a two state solution and is moving towards more and more new partitionist fait accompli, we must reflect on what we must do to resume the negotiating procedure within the agreed framework and from the point where it had remained at Crans Montana with the Guterres Framework and the convergences that have been recorded so far. This was, after all, the position of the Secretary General of the UN himself following Crans Montana, which was reiterated in a series of Reports he had submitted. Over time, the above position was being gradually weakened and was abandoned after the election of Tatar to the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community.
AKEL’s position remains that the negotiation must continue from where it left off at Crans Montana, with the Guterres Framework and the convergences reached up to the end of the Conference. We recognise that you adopt the position of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, but this alone is not enough to convince the United Nations that the Greek Cypriot side is ready to move forward. We believe this is occurring for two reasons:
First, the solution of Bizonal, Bicommunal Federation with political equality constitutes the general framework and not the specific and detailed content that has been attributed to it through convergences that have been recorded after decades of talks. By sticking to this general position, we are effectively talking about a negotiation from scratch.
Secondly, we cannot be saying that the talks must continue from the point where they had remained while this is being challenged in practice. More specifically, we cannot challenge at one’s choice without obligation points of the Guterres Framework, such as aspects of the issue of property and political equality, for example.
It is certainly not satisfactory to anyone of us that while in the areas subject to territorial adjustment the first choice is correctly given to the owner, in areas that will not be subject to territorial adjustment the first choice is given to the user. However, the framework is inextricably linked to the convergence that have been recorded, which on this specific issue determine restitution criteria. This means that yes, the user will have the first choice, but it cannot be satisfied if the owner will fulfill the restitution criteria. Furthermore, the European Court of Human Right’s (ECHR) Demopoulos decision, which by the way gives the user the first choice not only in areas not subject to territorial adjustment, but also in areas subject to adjustment, was based on two arguments. Namely, the emotional attachment to the property and avoiding inconvenience. Neither of these elements exist if the user is not a real user but simply has a “title deed” of the pseudo-state. There are many properties in the occupied territories that are not used by those to whom they have been granted, illegally, that is. In contrast, almost all Turkish Cypriot properties in the free areas are being used by the users.
Convergences have been recorded on the major issue of political equality and, in particular, effective participation, focusing on the rotating presidency and the single positive vote in the Council of Ministers and, for that reason, we cannot reopen this issue. In fact, any rejection of these convergences renders a solution to the Cyprus problem impossible and creates enormous difficulties in the effort for a resumption of the negotiating procedure. At the same time, it invalidates the Guterres Framework and, together with it, it also entails the proposal submitted the UN Secretary General himself for the abolition of the Treaty of Guarantee and any intervention rights from the first day of the solution, as well as the rapid withdrawal of all the occupying troops, with the only open issue being the ELDYK and TOURDYK military contingents [Note: The 1960 Treaty of Alliance provided for the stationing on the island of the Greek Force in Cyprus (ELDYK) and a corresponding force called the Turkish Force in Cyprus (TOURDYK) composed of 950 and 650 soldiers respectively].
The argument that the Guterres Framework is up for negotiation and therefore it is not reprehensible for the Greek Cypriot side to seek changes to it is erroneous given that only the outstanding issues of the Framework are up for negotiation, not the agreed ones. To confirm this position we refer to the attached analysis (attachment no. 1).
Taking the above into account, AKEL has proceeded since 2020 to formulate specific proposals moving along four axes (annexes 2, 3).
● The first axis of the stance that the Greek Cypriot side must adhere to is consistency to the solution of Bizonal. Bicommunal Federation with political equality, as outlined in the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
● The second axis is the consistent acceptance of the Guterres Framework as well as the convergences that have been recorded up to the end of the 2017 Crans Montana Conference, including the convergences registered on the content of political equality.
● The third axis is the adoption of a positive agenda. This cannot be limited to the Euro-Turkish issues, as these alone cannot be a catalyst for creating the preconditions for the resumption and successful conclusion of the negotiation procedure. What Turkey is most interested in is the field of energy, which is confirmed by repeated statements made by Mr. Erdogan and the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Fidan. If this proposal was timely when we submitted it three years ago, it is even timelier today because of the ever-increasing energy crisis. It goes without saying that making use of the energy issue as an incentive for the Cyprus problem can and must proceed without violating our “red lines”. It also goes without saying that AKEL’s proposal is not of the “take it or leave it” variety, but is indicative of the content we attach to the positive agenda. For that reason, our proposal is open to discussion, but unfortunately this did not happen because the issue was never raised for discussion in the National Council, neither by you, nor by the previous President, Mr. Anastasiades.
● The fourth axis is the unilateral adoption of confidence-building measures by the Republic of Cyprus towards the Turkish Cypriots, on which you have already taken a position, but which have not been taken forward. We remind you that AKEL has proposed a number of such measures, which are food for thought regarding the actions which you have expressed your intention to take.
However much this may be repeated, it is clear that we are at a particularly critical juncture on the Cyprus problem. What is happening on the ground and the arrival of the UN Secretary General’s envoy on Cyprus coincide with regional developments that can, under certain preconditions, have a positive impact on the Cyprus problem. More specifically, these include both the effort for the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations with a view to resolving the problems between Greece and Turkey and the revival of the EU-Turkey rapprochement effort against the background of a positive agenda.
We do not claim that what we propose above is the magic formula for a solution of the Cyprus problem, because first and foremost Turkey’s stand remains unpredictable. However, we know that with such initiatives we take on our share of responsibility, and if Ankara does not respond, it will be the one exposed and no responsibility will also be assigned on the Greek Cypriot side, as has been systematically the case since Crans Montana.
In conclusion, we want to assure you that AKEL, as it has always done, will continue to play a creative role through the National Council in the direction of the solution of the Cyprus problem solution within the agreed framework.”

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