Turkish Elections Over, Cyprus Says Unity Talks Restart on Table

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, waves to supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara, Turkey, early Monday, June 25, 2018. Erdogan won Turkey's landmark election Sunday, the country's electoral commission said, ushering in a new system granting the president sweeping new powers which critics say will cement what they call a one-man rule (Presidency Press Service via AP, Pool)

With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan winning re-election in snap polls he called to strengthen his hand, gaining near-dictatorial powers, Cyprus’ government it’s waiting to see if he’s genuinely interested in rebooting collapsed unity talks.

The negotiations fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said Turkey would never remove an army it’s kept on the northern third of the island that’s been divided since an unlawful 1974 invasion and as they demanded the right to militarily intervene – invade – further when they wanted.

That was too much for Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades who walked away from the talks being brokered by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the latest in a long line of diplomats to fail to find a solution.

Anastasiades said despite the debacle in Switzerland he’s willing to sit down again with Akinci but only if Turkey drops its insistence on keeping an army and military intervention, with no indication that will happen.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou told the Cyprus News Agency that the Cypriot government is ready. “Now, there are no longer any negative factors. The elections have taken place and we are waiting for Turkey to respond to the United Nations Secretary General’s initiative to establish its true intentions with regard to Cyprus,” he said.

“The Greek Cypriot side is ready to return to the negotiating table. It is high time, now that the elections are over, to hear from Ankara,” he stressed.

Erdogan refuses to recognize Cyprus, a member of the European Union that Turkey wants to join and bars its ships and planes. He’s also sent warships into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to try to keep foreign energy companies from drilling for oil and gas in waters where they are licensed to look.

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