Foreign Minister accuses GCs of dragging their heels over the talks

Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu has accused the Greek Cypriots of leaving the current Cyprus negotiations hanging.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ertuğruloğlu said the whole negotiation process was based on “inequality.”

He referred to the Annan Plan, which was a United Nations proposal to resolve the Cyprus dispute, through restructuring of the divided island as a federation of two states under the name “United Republic of Cyprus.”

The proposed plan which went to referendum in 2004, was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side.

It does not suit the Greek Cypriot side’s interests to say yes to a proposal such as the Annan Plan. They know that they won’t approve an agreement that puts the Turkish Cypriots on an equal basis with them.

They also know that saying no a second time will not benefit them either.

Therefore, their policy is to avoid going to another referendum, and just leave this process hanging, by suspending it now and then. We should not let this happen. It is clear that the current process is no longer sustainable,” Ertuğruloğlu said.

Despite attempts to prove otherwise, we are dealing with a process where the Greek Cypriot side is recognised as Republic of Cyprus, whereas the Turkish Cypriot community is being portrayed as an ethnic minority within this Republic, whose political identity and sovereignty are being refused.

We are not sitting on equal terms,” he said.

He added that the proposal of uniting the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation would leave the door open for the future of Turkish Cypriots to be at the mercy of the Greek Cypriot side “if the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriot side are ignored.”

Ertuğruloğlu suggested including the guarantor states of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom in the process, saying meetings should also be held with these countries.

Turkey’s guarantorship is indispensable to us. It is something which is not even open to discussion,” he said, adding that the tell-tale sign of guarantorship was Turkey’s right to unilateral intervention.

We are the equal owners of the Cyprus island. We are not a nation that will be brought under the yoke of the Greek Cypriots, or left at their mercy. Our only assurance and guarantor in this matter is of course our motherland [Turkey],” he said.

Cyprus was divided into a Turkish Cypriot side in the north and a Greek Cypriot side in the south after a 1974 coup on the island was followed by the military intervention by Turkey as a guarantor power.

Talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots sides to reunify the island resumed in May 2015 after they were suspended in October 2014 over disagreements about exploring for hydrocarbons around the island.

Negotiations between Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades were last suspended for a short time, in late May.

Anastasiades had cancelled a meeting with Akıncı after refusing to attend a dinner hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, upon being told that the Turkish Cypriot leader had also been invited. He thus cut short his trip to Istanbul.

Anastasiades also cancelled a meeting set with Special U.N. Cyprus Envoy Espen Barth Eide.

The peace talks resumed on 8th June.


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