World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking to a United Nations envoy Monday, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci warned against a Greek Cypriot move to celebrate the idea of the island becoming part of Greece, or “Enosis” (union).
The Greek Cypriot parliament voted Friday to introduce in public schools a yearly commemoration of a 1950 referendum when 96 percent of Greek Cypriots voted for the island to be annexed to Greece.
Speaking on the telephone with UN's Cyprus Envoy Espen Barth Eide, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci asked Eide to urge the Greek Cypriot leader not to sign the decision, said a statement from Akinci’s office.
During the conversation, Akinci also stated that it was unacceptable for Enosis, an idea which has made Cyprus suffer greatly, to be celebrated.
Separately, in a written statement Monday, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades described the decision as "a mere reference to a historical fact,” not a change in policy.
“I strongly feel that if we all want to achieve the same goal, we must work with determination by abandoning any unacceptable demands and conditions that do not serve the interests of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots,” he said.
On Sunday, Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun also slammed the move.
Ozgurgun in a written statement called it "the most severe blow" to the ongoing negotiations to reunify the island, and "the clearest evidence of the Greek side's desire to own the whole island".
The issue of reunification of Cyprus remains unsolved despite a series of discussions which resumed in May 2015.
The main goal is to find a political solution as the sides seek to reunify the island under a federal system after more than 40 years of division.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
Cyprus’ three guarantors -- Turkey, Greece, and Great Britain -- were assigned when it gained independence from the U.K. in 1960.