The Cyprus talks have reached a critical stage, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Ozturk Yilmaz has said. Turkey is being squeezed on its foreign policy and its hands are tied, he argued.
Speaking at a press conference in the Turkish Parliament, Yilmaz noted that the developments in Syria have alienated Turkey significantly from the (political) scene. He explained that if you take under consideration the decision of the Iraqi Kurds to hold an independence referendum, the developments in Qatar, the friction with the USA, the clash with the EU and the non-normalisation process with Russia, then it is thought that the Cyprus talks are held in an environment where Turkey’s hand is weak.
The Greek Cypriot administration has never believed in political equality in Cyprus, Yilmaz argued that the Greek Cypriot side considers the Cyprus settlement as follows: “the expulsion of the Turkish army, the creation of a United Cyprus and the turning of the Turkish Cypriots into a minority”.
Stating that Turkey stands alone on the Cyprus issue, Yilmaz said:
“Our concerns have fairly increased due to the biased attitude of the esteemed president on the island (referring to President Mustafa Akinci) towards the solution. In order to have bargaining power in the negotiations, it is important some times to change your tune, sometimes to leave the table, sometimes to break up the table, sometimes not to bring something to pass. But, if you go to the negotiations with the mentality ‘I want a solution at all costs, no matter what you say’, then at that moment, you tie your hands.
“The demands that you don’t want will come in front of you. We have warned before not to submit a map on the territory issue. (…) now it is the turn to abolish the Treaty of Guarantee and Alliance. The Greek Cypriot side wants to abolish the unilateral interference right formulated in article 4 of the Guarantee Treaty. They want first to decrease the number of the army and later to abolish it completely”.
Yilmaz went on to say that a solution which will not include Turkey’s active and effective guarantees as well its right to intervene, then it will be the beginning of the end for Turkey. He stressed that when Turkey loses Cyprus then Turkey will lose everything in the Eastern Mediterranean. He reiterated that Cyprus is a national case and this issue is a red-line.