Turkey Tears UN Over Peacekeepers, Special Cyprus Envoy

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci hake hands after a press conference and their meeting in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot northern part of Cyprus' divided capital Nicosia, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

A United Nations envoy sent to Cyprus in a bid to see if collapsed unity talks can be rebooted isn’t going to work, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said, adding a blast about international peacekeepers having their mission extended on the divided island.

The UN’s Security Council extended the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a period of six months, as it regularly does, but this time it didn’t sit well with Turkey, which also expressed unhappiness that an American diplomat, Jane Holl Lute, was sent to the island.
Turkey said the extension of UNFICYP and Lute’s mission does not mean “any restart of the negotiation process,” which ended in 2017.

That talks at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana fell apart when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci insisted on keeping an army on the island in the northern third occupied in an unlawful 1974 invasion and demanded the right to militarily intervene again when they wanted.

“We believe that any process in the coming period can only be successful if it is based on the current realities on the island and the experience gained from the negotiations conducted during the past half century, and if it aims for suitable expectations and outcomes,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, the Hurriyet Daily News in Turkey reported.

“Turkey sees no meaning in these wordings contained in the most recent resolution of July 26 on the extension of UNFICYP’s mandate, which prejudge the result of the contacts by the secretary-general’s consultant and the possible future shape of the settlement process. These wordings also do not contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus issue,” the ministry stressed.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres, who was at the Swiss talks but failed to get a deal that has eluded a long line of diplomats for decades, sent Lute to sound out both sides on their willingness to sit down again but she hasn’t made any headway yet either.

She is a temporary special consultant as Guterres hasn’t named a new Special Envoy to repace Norwegian Espen Barth Eide, who last year became the latest to give up when the Swiss talks collapsed. Turkey hasn’t given its backing to a new envoy yet.