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Politics

Greece, Cyprus Ready to Talk Cyprus Reunity Turkey Doesn’t Want

NICOSIA — After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and new Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said they want two states on Cyprus where Turkey has occupied the northern third since a 1974 invasion, Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said reunification talks could resume.

He said Greece and the Cypriot government that’s a member of the European Union that Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005 – while refusing to recognize Cyprus and barring its ships and planes – are on board for new talks.

The last round collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Erdogan and then-Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci – a moderate, unlike the hardliner Tatar – said they would never remove a 35,000-strong army on the occupied side and wanted the right of military intervention.

But Dendias said there could be a “Five Plus United Nations” scheme that would involve the guarantors of security on the island – Greece, Turkey and the former Colonial ruler the United Kingdom, to discuss a solution.

That has evaded a legion of diplomats, envoys, politicians and others attempting to bring together the two sides for 46 ½ years with virtually no progress and now the talks are likely dead in the water after Erdogan and Tatar said they’re not interested.

Dendias told Kathimerini he backs UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ proposal to bring Turkey and Cyprus together along with the guarantors, which has been tried a number of times and failed outright.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who said he would never talk as long as Turkey keeps drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters, immediately relented after Tatar beat Akinci but that has gone nowhere either.

Dendias admitted there’s little chance of any approach succeeding but that he wants to take another shot at it regardless even though the UN’s Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute, an American diplomat, hasn’t made any progress either. 

He said the hard line drawn by Erdogan, who’s defying soft EU sanctions to forge ahead with the energy drilling and by Tatar – who said he would parrot whatever the Turkish President wants – were “not encouraging.”

Tatar, self-declared president of the self-declared republic on the occupied side that no other country in the world recognizes called on Guterres – who presided over the Swiss debacle – to consider a two state idea that could bring permanent partition.

Tatar wrote Guterre asking him to keep an open mind but only for what the Turkish side wants after blaming the Greek-Cypriots for intransigence and the stalemate that  keeps going on.

Greece and the Greek-Cypriot administration are blocking a solution, he claimed in the note, after Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also met with Lute and then tweeted, “that Federation project is no longer sustainable."

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