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08NICOSIA880 2008-11-06 15:31:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nicosia
Cable title:  

CYPRUS: "RULING" TURKISH CYPRIOT PARTY GROWING

Tags:   PGOV PREL TR CY 
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1.(C) Summary: An inconclusive October 22 meeting between the
"ruling" Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and RoC President
Demetris Christofias's AKEL is symptomatic of growing CTP
disillusionment, at least at the leadership level, with its
hitherto traditional Greek Cypriot (G/C) allies. CTP's main
grievance is the slow pace of Cyprus negotiations, which the
party blames on Christofias's refusal to use a renamed Annan
Plan as the basis for the present UN-brokered process.
Christofias's rejection of Annan borders on perfidy for CTP,
which claims to have spent the past three years jointly
working out the bugs in the plan with AKEL. T/C allegations
that the Greek Cypriots are leaking information on the
negotiations to gain leverage have further soured relations
with CTP. End Summary.



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Speed up the Process! Use the Annan Plan!


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2. (C) Unal Findik, "ruling" Republican Turkish Party (CTP)
Central Committee member, told Poloff on October 30 that the
October 22 CTP-AKEL leadership meeting was cordial, if
inconclusive. Findik, who accompanied CTP Number Two Omer
Kalyoncu to the meeting, said that discussions over
accelerating the UN-brokered peace process dominated the
encounter. Andros Kyprianou, an RoC MP and AKEL spokesman,
was the main representative from the G/C party. Findik said
that speeding up the UN-brokered process, which he said was
"dragging" badly, was not matter of meeting twice a week vice
the present once. Rather, he said that CTP bluntly told AKEL
that the talks needed the framework of the Annan Plan
(without naming the plan or advertising its use) if there
would be any hope of wrapping up negotiations in a timely
manner, i.e., by mid 2009, an unwritten compromise date
between the two sides. He claimed that Kyprianou had said he
was not "against the idea." That said, Findik complained
that the T/Cs still saw no signs that this was in fact the
case or that Kyprianou's concurrence would have any influence
on the G/C position. (Note: Per Ref A, T/C Negotiator Ozdil
Nami, also a "deputy" from CTP, broached the same idea with
the Ambassador, but said he hesitated to bring up using the
Annan Plan with the Greek Cypriots for fear of a backlash.
End Note).



3. (C) Findik said that CTP and AKEL had met regularly over a
three-year period after the 2004 G/C rejection of Annan to
discuss improving the plan to make it acceptable to the Greek
Cypriots. He claimed, by way of example, that the two sides
had even ironed out their differences over the composition of
the presidential council; now, however, the G/Cs reject a
council in favor of a rotating presidency. He added that
minutes of all the meetings existed; in fact, he had often
been the notetaker. Findik even said that in October 2007,
Kyprianou had asked CTP to indirectly support Christofias by
emphasizing a "federal" solution and making Christofias's
life "easy." In return, Kyprianou promised that Christofias,
if elected, would use the Annan Plan as the basis for the
negotiations (of course without naming it as such).



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"AKEL is a Bigoted Leftist Party"


--------------------------





4. (C) Probably the best indicator of growing CTP frustration
with AKEL is an October 29 television interview by Kutlay
Erk, Talat,s special envoy for international relations.
Erk, a bicommunalist of long standing on the liberal wing of
CTP, dubbed AKEL a "bigoted" leftist party, adding that,
while he trusted Christofias, sincerity, CTP still had not
"forgotten 2004." As late as this spring, Talat,s press
spokesman, Hasan Ercakica, in a conversation with Poloff
jokingly dismissed Erk as someone who did not yet
"understand" the realities about the G/Cs. Kalyoncu long has
expressed to us his consternation over AKEL's timidity and
what he termed its "nationalist bent," dubbing it a
"Hellenistic" communist party. On a brighter note, some in
CTP have told us that its rank-and-file membership is more
positively disposed to AKEL than the leadership (Ref B).

NICOSIA 00000880 002 OF 002





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"Leaking is harming the Process"


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5. (C) Findik said that CTP had urged AKEL at the October 22
meeting to stop the leaking of information on the
negotiations, which he said was "harming the process."
Kyprianou denied that the G/Cs were leaking and blamed
UNFICYP officials instead. Findik found the accusation not
credible, and said that Christofias was trying to create,
though press leaks, an agenda that he could impose on the
T/Cs. As proof, he cited a recent story in the G/C daily
"Politis," which was picked up by the T/C press on October
30, in which Christofias allegedly offered Turkish Cypriots
residing on G/C property long-term leases (15-20 years)
before transfer to the rightful owners. Findik, whose
brother chaired the T/C property working group, said that a
similar suggestion had been made to the Turkish Cypriots
during the preparatory phase of talks, but was quickly
rejected.



6. (C) Mehmet Dana, a member of Talat,s negotiating team,
said that Talat and Christofias had discussed the issue of
leaks during the tete-a-tete portion of their November 3
meeting. Dana said that if the leaks did not stop, the
Turkish Cypriots might have to provide public information --
which he underscored was not a desired outcome -- given the
plethora of T/C press inquiries they were receiving on
stories in the G/C press based on allegedly leaked
information.



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Comment:


--------------------------





7. (C) Bad blood will continue to affect AKEL-CTP relations
barring a meaningful gesture by Christofias to break down
deep-seated T/C suspicions of G/C intentions. Turkish
Cypriots and some in the international community perceive
that such a moment came -- and was lost -- after the
leaders, May 23 agreement, when Christofias agreed to the
principle of two constituent states, a key Annan Plan
principle, only to walk it back after taking fire from his
nationalist coalition partners. Consequently, many in CTP
continue to view AKEL as weak-willed and opportunistic, prime
facia evidence being Christofias's last minute rejection of
the Annan Plan in 2004, his decision to align AKEL with
former RoC President Tassos Papadopoulos in a coalition
government, and, now, his refusal, even discretely, to use
the Annan Plan as a basis for negotiations despite alleged
promises his party made to the contrary.
Urbancic