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Politics

Cyprus Unity Seen Scuttled, Turkey Gets Tougher On Drilling Before Talks

November 11, 2020

NICOSIA — The election of hardline nationalist Ersin Tatar as the new leader of the occupied northern third of Cyprus is seeing Turkey unwilling to negotiate reunification, likely dashing any hopes for planned talks.

After Tatar said he wants only a two-state de facto permanent partition but would meet with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades as well as the guarantors of security on the island – Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkish-Cypriots won't accept “just to negotiate.”

He said Turkish-Cypriots who voted out incumbent moderate Mustafa Akinci, who had failed to make any progress for five years in talks, the last round collapsing in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana don't want more fo the same.

“They sent this message clearly in the last election,” the state-run Anadolu Agency reported him as telling the 12th Ambassadors Conference in Ankara, referring to the election of Tatar.

The new leader, who won narrowly, benefited from a last-minute opening of a beach front at the abandoned resort of Varosha on the occupied side by Erdogan, who wanted Tatar to be his man in Nicosia, not Akinci, who didn't want partition.

Turkey is drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters and Anastasiades had said he wasn't willing to talk again as long as that happened but he and Tatar met for a photo opportunity formality meeting and agreed to five-party negotiations.

Cavusoglu also said that “no one should expect Turkey to give up resources it has a right to” in the Eastern Mediterranean, while adding that any initiative seeking to “exclude” Turkey from drilling has “no chance of success.”

That has set up new talks for almost certain failure as has been the case since Turkey unlawfully invaded in 1974 and as it keeps a 35,000-strong standing army on the occupied side.

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