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Akkinci says Turkish side to lose in absence of solution
2003-01-20 14:13:21

Nicosia, Jan 20 (CNA) - A Turkish Cypriot politician said the Turkish Cypriots expect the same commitment from the Greek Cypriot side on the UN Secretary General's plan for a Cyprus settlement, noting that if the opportunity is missed, the real losers will be themselves.

Speaking after meeting here Monday United Democrats' leader George Vassiliou, Mustafa Akkinci, former leader of the Communal Liberation Party, said Turkish Cypriots want a solution to the Cyprus problem and accession to the European Union in order to live a better life, and stressed that only a united front in Ankara would force Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to sign the Annan plan.

Vassiliou agreed that if no solution was found, the consequences would be much greater than anyone would have anticipated.|

Noting that both sides are going through ''difficult times'' after the Copenhagen European Council, Akkinci said he regards February 28, a timeframe set in the revised Annan plan, as well as March 30 when the two communities will decide on the Annan plan in referenda, and April 16 when Cyprus will sign the EU Accession Treaty, ''as very important dates in the history of Cyprus''.

''Of course, we definitely want to see a solution achieved by that, so that a united Cyprus signs the accession treaty with the EU, and all the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots become members of the EU'', Akkinci said, noting however that ''we need to see an achievement in the negotiations that is pursued by Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash''.

Referring to the demonstrations in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, Akkinci said ''Turkish Cypriots, in very large numbers, is showing that they want to become a part of the EU family''.

He dismissed reports that the Turkish Cypriots are only after obtaining money and European passports, saying it is an insult to them but they ''wish to have a better life'' and regard the EU as a place in which ''they will exercise their democracy, respect of human rights, will have their Turkish Cypriot identity accepted before the international fora''.

Akkinci said the Turkish Cypriots expect ''from the Greek Cypriots the same commitment to the Annan plan because there will not be any other Annan plan if we miss this opportunity, because if we lose it, the real loser will be the Turkish Cypriots''.

He said Turkish Cypriots might emigrate in large numbers if no solution is achieved and more settlers from Turkey will flood the occupied areas. ''That would not mean the north will be free from the Turks, there would be more and more people coming and settling in the north from Anatolia'', he added.

Vassiliou congratulated Akkinci for the ''heroic demonstrations of the Turkish Cypriots'', adding ''we have an obligation against ourselves, our island, to make use of the dynamism which the Turkish Cypriot mobilisation has created, and at the same time realise that we have a unique opportunity because the consequences will be a lot worse than anyone could ever imagine''.

Asked if there could be an agreement with Denktash leading the Turkish Cypriots, Akkinci said ''this very much depends, unfortunately, not on the wishes of the Turkish Cypriots''.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.


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