The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus's (KKTC) newly-elected President Mustafa Akıncı will pay an official visit to Turkey on Wednesday, as part of his first visit abroad. The KKTC Foreign Minister Özdil Nami will be accompanying President Akıncı during his visit to Turkey. In Akıncı's meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the two leaders are expected to discuss the resumption of stalled peace talks on the ongoing dispute on the island. President Akıncı's official visit to Turkey will end on the same day, as he will be meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades on May 11 during the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide's dinner.
With President Erdoğan having called Akıncı to congratulate him ahead of a visit to Kuwait, relations between the two nations have been described as "rocky" due to his remarks saying that rather than viewing Turkey as the "motherland," his country wanted "brotherly" ties with Ankara, drawing a rebuke from Erdoğan. Since it was founded, Turkey has called Turkish Cyprus its "child country," while Turkey is called the "motherland" by Turkish Cypriots. The editor-in-chief of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis, Başaran Düzgün, spoke to Daily Sabah about the relationship between President Erdoğan and President Akıncı and said that there is no disunity in terms of views between the two leaders.
"There is no difference of opinion on the subject of a resolution between Erdoğan and Akıncı, both leaders are supportive of the Annan Plan," said Düzgün. Meanwhile, Düzgün defined the meeting on May 11 between Anastasiades and Akıncı as a "normal procedure" but said we must expect momentum in the peace talks. "With Akıncı replacing Derviş Eroğlu, the negotiations will gain momentum and will be more efficient," added the editor-in-chief of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper.
In efforts to repair any damage that may have been caused by his remarks, Akıncı said, "The love of the motherland is in our hearts, it has an emotive meaning." Commenting on a possible tension between Ankara and Nicosia, Dr. Mehmet Uğur Ekinci, a researcher at the Ankara-based think tank Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), said, "A real tension between Nicosia and Ankara would happen if Akıncı challenged Turkey's right for guarantee. Akıncı has so far not given any signal that he would do that thus he considers Turkey's guarantee essential for the security of Turkish Cypriots." Similarly, Ekinci's statements in which he has stressed goodwill to the Greek side, Dr. Sylvia Tiryaki, who is the deputy director and co-founder of the Global Political Trends (GPoT) Center in Istanbul, said that "the only way to have a resolution is to have goodwill on the table from both sides."
Furthermore, commenting on the future of the negotiations, Ekinci said, "Both sides are making optimistic declarations and are willing to accelerate the process through confidence-building steps." In regards to the negotiations, Dr. Tiryaki said that there are enough materials on the table to have peace, as the talks have been ongoing for years and that there has not been any change within the island. She continued by adding, "It is unhealthy to portray Turkey as the problem, because the problem did not start with Turkey. Therefore, we should not get confused with the problem we are trying to resolve."
Additionally, Dr. Nikolaos Stelya who is an expert on Turkology, a historian and journalist, also spoke to Daily Sabah regarding the future of negotiations, saying, "The huge gap between the two communities is still present in the negotiation process… The two parts should come to an agreement regarding the essential terms of the final agreement and most importantly overcome their obsessions and inflexibilities."
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