Greek Cypriot return to North would create tensions: Eroglu

Further to the Cypriot presidents’ meeting on Monday, Turkish journalist Verda Ozer, reports in Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ (4/6/14), that after his meeting with President Anastasiades, Eroglu met with a group of Turkish journalists who were visiting the island.

Ozer writes that Eroglu entered into the room with a “sullen face” and said that there had been tension in the presidents’ meeting, with both men raising their voice from time to time. She says that the most critical issue was territory, as the Greek Cypriots want the return of 100 thousand Greek Cypriot refugees to their former homes in the North. She goes on and reports, inter alia, the following:

“According to Eroglu, these are densely populated areas. Therefore, he says, Greek cantons will be formed in Turkish areas and this will create economic and social problems for the Turkish Cypriot people. Exactly for this reason, the issue of the territory should be discussed at the very end, according to Eroglu. The Greek Cypriots are in favour of its discussion at this stage. Eroglu interprets this as follows: ‘The ‘Greek Cypriots want the negotiations to enter into deadlock and create the perception that ‘look the Turks do not want a solution’. 

Ozel then refers to the issue of citizenship. The Greek Cypriots say ‘there should be only the citizenship of the established unified state and this to be determined by the federal state’, because they are afraid that the TRNC will award citizenship to all those coming from Turkey. Eroglu is annoyed about this issue as well, she says.

She goes on to say that the Greek Cypriot side wants the EU to sit at the negotiating table. Eroglu is against this because he thinks that the EU will not be able to behave impartially.

Ozel further reports that another “minefield” is the wish of the Greek Cypriot side for a permanent Greek Cypriot president and a permanent Turkish Cypriot vice president as well for a single voters’ list.

She writes that Eroglu argued that during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit the leaders agreed on four main chapters, but President Anastasiades changed his mind afterwards saying “how am I going to explain this to my people tomorrow?” That is to say, reaching an agreement is possible – the whole issue is to convince the public opinion, she claims.

Ozel also says that Eroglu told her that the TRNC’s relations with Israel deteriorated after the Mavi Marmara incident and that they “came closer” with Russia after Joe Biden’s visit to the island.

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