NICOSIA – The collapse of Cyprus’ unity talks – over Turkey’s refusal to remove a standing 35,000-strong army and the right to militarily intervene – means the divided island is likely going to remain split into two separate states, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said.
He said that’s the only option if a political solution can’t be reached and none has since Turkey’s unlawful invasion in 1974 when it seized and continues to occupy, the northern third of the island.
The rest has a legitimate government and is a member of the European Union Turkey wants to join even while refusing to recognize Cyprus and barring its ships and planes from Turkish airports and ports.
Permanent partition has been a fear of the international community but a long line of politicians, diplomats and envoys have failed to get the two sides anywhere near an agreement despite constant rosy predictions the last two years that talks between Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, two moderates, would finally bring a solution.
Akinci told the Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah, the pro-government publication backing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has near-dictatorial powers and the last word on his side on Cyprus, a “two separate state” solution is looming.
He said the Turkish side of the island was willing to live with two separate states and accused Anastasiades of being intransigent.
“If one side (the Greek side) does not want to come to terms, it means that they are not ready to live with us under the same roof. In that case, there are currently already two different states,” he said.
While the talks were secret he said that Anastasiades had conceded he was willing to accept a rotating Presidency in which a Turk would rule the whole island every other term, which the Cypriot government denied.
“I made a lot of efforts to prepare the Turkish side for a political solution. When it comes to the equality of the Turkish Cypriot with the Greek side, they have not made efforts in this regard,” he said, indirectly slamming Anastasiades and likely closing the door for now on the prospects of more negotiations, especially after the United Nations gave up.
While it was Turkey which invaded he said Turkish-Cypriots suffered in the brief war despite a successful occupation that has continued for 43 years.
“The Greek Cypriots’ sufferings were conveyed to the Greek society but (…) Turkish Cypriots suffered extensively on this island. This also needs to be conveyed to them,” he said.