By Andriana Petratos
The newly elected leader of Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci, during his sworn-in ceremony mentioned that he is willing to open up occupied Varosha in exchange for the reopening of Tymvos port and airport.
During his address, Akinci said: “We will seek an agreement whereby the closed area of Varosha is opened under UN auspices, while at the same time relieving the bottleneck in trade and tourism by opening Famagusta port to direct trade and Ercan Airport to direct flights.”
The ceremony was attended by the vice president of the Turkish government and minister responsible for Turkish Cypriot affairs, Bulent Arinc, who supported Akinci during verbal attacks by Tayyip Erdogan and members of the Justice and Development Party.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, phoned Akinci and congratulated him and offered US support for the peace talks, pledging to assist the negotiation process. He also reaffirmed US support to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation under the auspices of the UN and Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide, expected to visit Cyprus this week for a push to resume the negotiations.
Turkish Cypriot media reported Mr. Akinci, called on Greek Cypriot President, Nikos Anastasiadis, “to show the determination exemplified during the Annan Plan period and protect future generations from facing greater challenges in finding a solution, adding that “a Federated Cyprus will contribute in the strengthening of Cyprus-Turkey relations.” As a confidence building measure, Akinci also proposed opening new checkpoints and opening Turkish Cypriot mobile networks in the south and Greek Cypriot part in northern Cyprus.
Akinci mentioned that the economic crisis and natural gas will facilitate towards a solution to the Cyprus issue, noting the Turkish Cypriot community is also willing to share with the Greek Cypriots the water that will arrive soon in occupied Cyprus from Anatolia.