Turkey Warns Cypriots: Unity Talks Last Chance

Turkish Prime Minister Binaldi Yildirim is essentially powerless

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, blaming Cypriots, said this is the last chance for a unity deal to be struck on the divided island.

He said Turkey wants UN-backed reunification talks on Cyprus to continue but cautioned that Turkey is running out of patience, 42 years after it unlawfully invaded and as it still keeps a standing army there and won’t recognize Cyprus – a member of the European Union – and bars its ships and planes.

Turkey, now in chaos after a failed coup, wants to join the EU and has said a refugee swap deal with the bloc could be off unless it gets all it wants. With the turmoil, there is fear that the Cyprus negotiations could be scuttled.

“The Turkish Cypriot side has, with full sincerity, acted constructively,” Yildirim told a joint news conference with the mostly symbolic Prime Minister of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, Huseyin Ozgurgun, although it is the President of the occupied territories, Mustafa Akinci, who conducts the talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

“This is the last chance for the Greek Cypriot side, which has always acted as the game spoiler. We recommend they use this chance wisely,” Yildirim added, according to Reuters.

Like Ozgurun, Yildirim has no power and it is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said he barely survived assassination, who has the last word on what his country will accept in the negotiations.

Only Turkey recognizes the administration on the one-third of the island it unlawfully occupies.

The international community regards the Greek Cypriot government in the south of the island as the legitimate authority for the whole island, which has been split along ethnic lines since the 1974 invasion.