NICOSIA – Cyprus’ new President Nikos Christodoulides said he wants to use the run-up to Turkey’s May 14 elections in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a stiff challenge to get into position for a possible restart of reunification talks.
Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar has already rejected that idea and instead demanded the United Nations and world accept a self-declared republic on the northern third occupied since 1974 Turkish invasions.
He generally takes his marching orders from Erdogan, who has also taken a hard line on negotiations that have failed for decades, the last round collapsing in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.
Those fell apart when Erdogan and then Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said a 35,000-strong Turkish army in the territory isolated from the world would never leave and as they demanded the right of further military intervention.
In an interview with Euronews, Christodoulides said the lull before the elections should be use to advantage to be ready with whomever is in power in Turkey as that would influence the Turkish-Cypriot stance.
“We have a period until the elections in Turkey, which we should take advantage of, so that dialogue can resume,” he said, although that has never come close to working and seen a long line of envoys and diplomats walk away in failure.
Euronews asked him what changes he foresees if Erdogan stays in power and continues a two-decade reign as Turkey’s leader or if the leader of the main opposition, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, becomes President.
“I certainly do not expect radical changes in Turkish foreign policy. At least this is what the history of Turkish foreign policy shows over time. But the election of a new president, whether it is Mr. Erdogan or the leader of the current opposition still brings a new situation,” Christodoulides said.
“The important thing is to make use of this period, and that is what we have agreed with the three presidents of the EU institutions, to create the conditions immediately after the elections in Turkey, to resume talks on the basis of the agreed framework. Because, more than anyone else, we want an end to the occupation and the reunification of our homeland,” he added.