Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is on the receiving end of new criticism from Turkey and Turkish Cypriot politicians, following his remarks on a highly contested UN framework for Cyprus peace.
Turkish foreign ministry officials, who are playing down a recent discussion on restarting negotiations for a federal solution in Cyprus, put blame squarely on Greek Cypriots for the failure to reunify the divided island.
“There is a negotiation process for the last 50 years which is still ongoing but it has turned into a vicious circle, there is no progress,” said a statement from the Turkish foreign ministry.
The reaction comes after Akinci issued a statement earlier this week, calling on President Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek Cypriot leader, to state publicly whether he accepts a UN framework as a basis to resume talks.
Anastasiades said this was a positive development but also asked Akinci publicly whether he could accept a number of points, which Greek Cypriots view as an integral part of the UN proposals.
"We have no intention of playing the same old game," he said, adding "we believe that a new path has to be tried out"
Akinci, however, appeared to have been calling on Anastasiades to say whether he would accept the UN framework as a “strategic package agreement” without attaching unilateral interpretations.
But Turkey does not see any willingness on the part of Greek Cypriots, according to Hami Aksoy, the Spokesperson of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“It is clear that this is due to the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side,” Aksoy said, adding that as long as this attitude continues in the Greek Cypriot side, there can be no federal solution.
"We have no intention to play the same old game," he said, adding "we believe that a new path has to be tried out."
But criticism did not come only from overseas, as Turkish Cypriot politicians have also been expressing irritation over Akinci’s remarks.
Akinci also criticised by Turkish Cypriots
Kudret Ozersay, a deputy dealing with foreign affairs in the unrecognised north, also appeared to be annoyed with Akinci’s statements, saying he was not expecting to hear that and did not know about it.
Ozersay, who is a strong critic of Akinci but also viewed as a moderate, served as a chief negotiator in the past in an effort to reunite Cyprus under a bicommunal, bizonal, federal system.
He said the UN framework is vague and can be interpreted in many different ways, while reiterating that the effort had failed last year and it would not lead anywhere if it were to resume “as is” again.
Ozersay has taken a tougher stance in recent years, citing what he described as unwillingness on the part of Greek Cypriots to share the island equally.
Anastasiades’ government has criticised both Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, saying that Greek Cypriots would agree to a fair solution as long as current military guarantees on the island are abolished.