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Politics

Occupying Turkish-Cypriots Won’t Budge: Two States Only

September 17, 2021

NICOSIA – The self-declared Turkish-Cypriot government – unrecognized in the world – will insist at a meeting at the United Nations that the world accept the northern third of the island it has occupied since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion.

That has been stated repeatedly by Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar who will get a chance to make that demand in person at the UN, where his self-declared government isn't a member.

But the UN has sponsored talks in New York on Sept. 18 in an attempt to find a solution to the Cyprus dilemma that has evaded a long line of diplomats, envoys for officials for decades.

All those ideas centered on reunification but the last round of talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana after Tatar said that's off the table and that he wants total recognition of the isolated, occupied side.

That follows the line of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government doesn't recognize Cyprus – a member of the European Union that Turkey fruitlessly has been trying to join since 2005 – and bars its ships and planes.

“We will not take a step back from our position put forth in Geneva,” Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, the self-declared foreign minister who can talk only to Turkey told Turkey's Anadolu Agency about informal talks in Geneva in April.

He said the problem is the “Greek-Cypriot administration being recognized as the Republic of Cyprus on their own,” although it's in the EU and the UN and his side isn't.

“You have to accept that there are two separate people, democracies, states and sovereignties on the island. There is no meaning in running after consensus formulas on the Cyprus issue as long as the reality of one island and two peoples is not accepted,” he said.

That has been rejected out of hand by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, whose entreaties to the UN to intervene over repeated Turkish provocations, including partial reopening of the abandoned Varosha resort on the occupied side and drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters have been ignored.

UN Secretary-General U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – who took part in the Swiss debacle and then issued a report blaming nobody for anything – said that there is "no common ground yet" to resume formal talks.

resume formal negotiations on the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Ertuğruloğlu said he expected Guterres to accept what the Turkish-Cypriot side called reality and declare there's no chance of common ground and that the only answer is to recognize the occupied side, which would mean acceptance of a 35,000-strong invading army in a EU country.

“The UN must be retrieved from being a side against the Turkish-Cypriots,” he said in a shot although his side needs the good will of Guterres and the international body to listen to its arguments.

“Official negotiations will only start as two separate states,” he said, a proposal dead in the water already.

He criticized Stephen Lillie, the United Kingdom's High Commissioner to Cyprus  – the UK is the former Colonial ruler and has military bases on the island – for telling the Greek newspaper Kathimerini a federation is the only answer.

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