NICOSIA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s impending visit to Greece is raising hopes that it will lead to some kind of breakthrough over the collapsed unity talks for the island divided since an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974.
The negotiations at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana broke down this July after Erdogan said he would never remove an army on the northern third that’s been occupied for 43 years, and that he wanted the right to invade further when he felt like it.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades walked away from the table where the secret talks were being held with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who doesn’t have the last word – that belongs to Erdogan.
Nevertheless, Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said there are hopes something will come out of Erdogan’s meeting with Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras even though Turkey refuses to recognize Cyprus and bars its ships and planes while hoping to on the European Union, to which only the legitimate government belongs.
Christodoulides was speaking after a meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Jonathan Cohen in the Cypriot capital, where it was reported they also discussed energy, and developments in the Middle East region.
“The expected meeting between the Greek Prime Minister (Alexis Tsipras) and the Turkish President is important and we hope it would yield certain results,” said Christodoulides, pointing to the roadblock of the guarantees under which Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom, the island’s former Colonial ruler, which still has a military base there, provide security.
Beyond that it wasn’t explained what could possibly come out of Erdogan’s meeting with Tsipras that would lead to any hope for the resurrection of the talks that Turkey already has declared are dead.