ANKARA — Further undercutting exploratory talks before they begin, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his only position on Cyprus is for two states, wanting acceptance for the northern third occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion.
A planned United Nations-sponsored meeting to discuss how – or whether – to proceed with reunification talks for Cyprus shouldn’t proceed if Turkey and Turkish-Cypriots keep up demands for two separate states, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who presided over the last found of failed talks in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, was to bring together officials from Cyprus as well as the three guarantors of security for the divided island: Greece, Turkey and the former Colonial ruler The United Kingdom.
But Mitsotakis said the exploratory sit down shouldn’t even happen if Erdogan and the new hardline Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar won’t discuss anything other than permanent partition.
Erdogan repeated Feb. 10 the only way to resolve decades of dispute over Cyprus was to establish two states on the island, and a federation favored by Greece would not be on the agenda of the planned talks, the Reuters news agency reported.
“There no longer is a way out for Cyprus other than the two-state solution,” Erdogan said in reference to a peace deal that would be negotiated between two equal sovereign states. “Whether you accept it or not, there can no longer be such a thing as a federation.”
Erdogan said: “There is no point in discussing old solution formulas … which disregarded the Turkish people on the island and condemned the negotiations to failure for 50 years. That business is finished now.”
That came two days after Mitsotakis and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades – who said he wouldn’t negotiate as long as Turkey kept drilling for oil and gas off the island – said they would only accept a peace deal for the island based on UN resolutions.
That rejects the two-state formula supported by Turkey and Turkish-Cypriots which puts the sides at loggerheads but no word on whether the talks would proceed if they have differing agendas they won’t talk about.
Erdogan also told lawmakers from his AK Party he could not meet Mitsotakis despite a resumption of talks between the two NATO members over their maritime disputes. Erdogan said Mitsotakis had "challenged" him, and called on the Greek premier to "know his limit,” the report said.