NEW YORK — Even before an informal lunch brokered by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York aimed at trying to resume reunification talks, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades rejected demands by Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar for recogntion for the occupied territory.
Anastasiades responded "no" when asked by Turkey's Anadolu Agency if he was open to a two-state solution, and added: "I am open to a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation."
That made the lunch about the menu as Anastasiades, looking glum in the obligatory photo with Tatar and Guterres, had previously repeatedly said he would not talk about recognizing the occupied northern third where Turkey keeps a 35,000-strong standing army.
Asked about that, Tatar told the news agency that, "Our state has already been there for 60 years. There are two states and those are Cyprus' truths. "No one will abandon their 60-year state from now on.”
As only Turkey recognizes the occupied territory, Tatar had no standing to speak at the UN but met on the sidelines with Guterres, who was at the last failed rounds of unity talks that collapsed in July, 2017 the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.
At that time, the Turkish-Cypriots had a more moderate leader, Mustafa Akinci, but even he dug in his heels and said the Turkish army would never leave and he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted the right to further invade.
Tatar, who – backed by Erdogan – defeated Akinci in October, 2020 elections, said since there have been decades of diplomatic failures to reunify the island that the only solution was permanent partition and two separate states.
That stance has essentially killed any hopes, for now, of even talking about talking about talking again as Anastasiades said he won't come to the table again under those conditions, leaving the Turkish-Cypriots to still remain on their own.