Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (10.08.17) reports that Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP) has said that one of the “surprising proposals” of his party on the Cyprus problem was already being implemented and that this proposal concerns the decision as regards the return of Maronite Cypriots to their occupied villages. Asked what his surprising proposals were, Denktas said that a “decision” on principle had been taken for calling on the Maronites to return to their occupied villages and added that the details of the issue will be determined by a committee established under the chairmanship of Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci’s councillor and the participation of the “prime minister’s office”, the “finance minister” and the “religious affairs’ department”. Denktas said that this “committee” will “decide” how the Maronites will return, how their properties will be returned and whether they will be “granted” the occupation regime’s “citizenship”.
Noting that reference is made to return of 4,000 persons including the inhabitants of occupied Kormakitis villages, Denktas estimated that perhaps 2,000 persons will return and explained that they expected very few parsons to actually return and settle in the above-mentioned villages, but they could come during the weekends or holidays such as the Easter, like it happens in the occupied Kormakitis village.
Alleging that “citizenship” should be “granted” to the Maronites who will return so that “they do not feel as minority like in the Greek Cypriot side”, Denktas admitted that some problems might occur as regards the properties of the Maronites, because the occupation regime gave away these properties to Turks and for some of them distributed “title deeds”. Noting that the solution formula to this problem will be found at the above-mentioned “committee”, Denktas alleged:
“Let them come and live there but they will live under Turkish Cypriot administration. If they want citizenship, they will be granted. If they want white card they will be granted, so that they move more easily. My proposal for Varosha is similar. I say let it open under our administration. A call will be made to the old owners. They will come and reconstruct it. Of course, this proposal should be completed. A study should be carried out regarding the investments we will have to make on the infrastructure there.
If necessary, we should take some unilateral steps in the current environment. They should be steps which show that we do not want to interrupt the relations by accepting that finding a solution on the current basis will not be possible. […]”
Asked whether Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci and the Turkish Foreign Ministry agree with him, Denktas argued that in general Akinci agrees with him and that he could not ask Turkey, but since it has not reacted to the first step [for the Maronites], this means that it agrees. Noting that they should act quickly, Denktas alleged:
“We should draw attention on us and remind that we exist. This is what I am doing. Let them not remember us only when negotiations exist. […] Now we are saying ‘we exist without negotiations, we are the ones who decide for this area, we want to have contacts with you’. This is the call we are making. On the Varosha issue I tried to see what the Americans will say. They were surprised not knowing what to do due to their enthusiasm. ‘We are ready to offer financial support to this’ they said. Why? Because actually what we are suggesting is not contrary to the international law. I am not saying that the administration will always remain on us. Let us transfer the administration to you when there is a solution, but if there is no solution, let it [the city] not remain closed, let people not be scattered. Who can say no to this? […]
These proposals had been in front of my father, not all of them only a part of them, during the period of the opening of the gates. I did not deal a lot with them, because I was very concentrated on the gates and I was afraid that all together at the same time would be lost. We took that step, we took it unilaterally. […] If you take a unilateral step, this is accepted, the world sees it with understanding. Who complained to us saying ‘why you have unilaterally opened the gates?’ No one can say anything. […] These proposals are also in this way. Will the Greek Cypriots respond? If they want let them respond or not respond. Let us take the step and let them come out as the preventing side in front of the world, not we. None of these proposals will cause any loss for us […]”