Anastasiades Says Turkey Undercuts Reunification Restart Talks Hopes

The National Herald

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (Julien Warnand, Pool Photo via AP, FILE)

NICOSIA- After his government set conditions that Turkey has repeatedly said are non-starters, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades again blamed Turkey for undermining any chance of beginning new talks to reunify the island divided by an unlawful 1974 invasion.

Anastasiades said he was disappointed that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said there won't be negotiations unless the issue of political equality is first clarified and gives Turkish-Cypriots occupying the northern third an equal say, reported Kathimerini.

Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are set to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a bid to find common ground so that talks resume. The UN chief failed to broker a deal in 2017 when talks fell apart at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

That happened when Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would never remove a 35,000-strong Turkish army on the occupied land recognized only by Turkey in the world and wanted the right to militarily intervene when they wanted.

“I want to make it clear that under the threats and terms set by Turkey, not only can the necessary climate not be created, but the effort under way by the secretary-general is also being spoiled,” Anastasiades said.

That came after Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told the paper that his government harbored hopes of restarting talks with a five-party conference and that it could happen as soon as December but only if Turkey refrains from "violations and provocations.”

Erdogan has sent energy drill ships into Cypriot waters to hunt for oil and gas, defying the Cypriot government, United States warnings, and ignoring sanctions imposed by the European Union that Turkey has been trying to join since 2005.