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Tatar Won't Budge: Only Two States on Cyprus, Not Reunification

Αssociated Press

The leader of the Turkish-Cypriots, Ersin Tatar. (AP Photo/Nedim Enginsoy)

NICOSIA -- With United Nations-sponsored talks set for April in Geneva, Switzerland, the leader of the occupied Turkish-Cypriot side of the divided island said the only topic he will consider is two separate states, not reunification.

That would give recognition to the isolated side, an idea already rejected out of hand by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades who had said he was willing to talk reunification even as Turkey is drilling offshore for oil and gas.

Tatar, a hardline nationalist who in October, 2020 ousted moderate leader Mustafa Akinci - with the help of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - said that,"If an agreement is to be reached on Cyprus its basis will be the cooperation of two equal states living side by side, based on sovereign equality," Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah said.

That came after he met Un envoy Jane Holl Lute, an American diplomat who, like all the others before her during decades of failed talks, hasn’t been able to make any headway either.

"We discussed with Lute that an agreement could be achieved by ensuring the international equal status of these two states," he added but there was no word from her if that was so or what she said.

On the meeting of the two sides, the UN and the three guarantors of security on the island - Greece, Turkey and the former Colonial ruler the United Kingdom - he said details were discussed but didn’t reveal them.

Lute "confirmed that it (the U.N.) will be in search of whether there is common ground that can really move forward as a result of all the discussions," he said, the tough talk from Tatar, who said he would follow Erdogan’s line of two states, undercutting hopes.