Talks about whether to resume talks to reunify Cyprus after negotiations fell apart in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana will start until after the June 24 snap polls in which Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is looking to strengthen his hand.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said the dilemma will stay on hold until then and an as Erdogan has gained near-dictatorial powers in the wake of a failed July, 2016 coup attempt against him and purged civil society and the military.
The sit-down between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci ended after Erdogan and the Turkish side said they would never remove an army from the northern third occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion and wanted the right to militarily intervene – invade – again when they wanted.
Kotzias, speaking after a meeting in New York with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was in Switzerland and failed to broker a deal, said they would be set aside for now. Greece, along with Turkey and the United Kingdom, the former Colonial ruler which keeps a military base on the island, are guarantors of security, along with a UN peacekeeping force.
“We discussed the future negotiations on the Cyprus issue and how they should be prepared,” Kotzias said without saying what they were nor anything of substance as he usually does to evade answers.
Asked what Guterres intended to do about UN-led Cyprus talks and if he would be appointing a special envoy soon, Kotzias said the Turkey won’t accept the temporary nominee, American diplomat Jane Holl Lute to pick after Norway’s Espen Barth Eide gdave up, the latest in a long line of brokers who failed to make any progress.
“It remains to be confirmed. I told him I did not know the adviser he proposed but trust his choices and judgement. We will not begin negotiations before the Turkish elections… We cannot do everything at once,” Kotzias added, said Kathimerini.
Erdogan won’t recognize Cyprus, a member of the European Union he wants Turkey to join and has barred its ships and planes and sent warships to try to block foreign energy companies from drilling for oil and gas.
Anastasiades, who is willing to accept a Turkish-Cypriot President to rule the island on a rotating basis, also offered a share of the energy revenues if found but that wasn’t enough for Erdogan who said he wants Turkish-Cypriots to share in the operations or otherwise would start their own.