Reunification Talks Futile, Turkish-Cypriot Leader Tells UN’s Envoy

NICOSIA – It’s pointless to resume talks to reunify Cyprus because he wants the world to recognize the northern third of the island occupied since 1974 Turkish invasions, Turkish-Cypriot hardline leader Ersin Tatar told UN Special Envoy Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar.

He met with her – after she’d met with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, and stuck to his guns that he won’t budge and that any idea of bringing the two sides together is futile, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle for Cuellar.

She’s the latest in a long line of diplomats rebuffed in attempts to make Cyprus whole again, prospects that faded even more after the last round of talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

Those fell apart when then Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said a 35,000 strong Turkish army would never leave the occupied side and he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they wanted the right of further military intervention.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was at those talks and later blamed nobody for anything and has failed since then to make any progress either, other envoys unable to get Tatar off his stance.

He spoke to reporters after her visit and repeated the idea of reunification talks is going nowhere fast because he won’t have them, repeating that he won’t compromise on his demands for UN acceptance of the occupied land.

“I conveyed to the UN that there is no change in our stance. I once again expressed to Cuellar our stance that negotiations can only be initiated with the confirmation of sovereign equality and equal international status,” he said.

Her term ends on July 5 – ahead of the July 20th 50-year anniversary of the first of two invasions in 1974 that had the implicit backing of the United States and in what Turkey said was in response to a Greek-engineered coup attempt.

He said he expects from her  “an objective report encompassing pertinent truths” – that he’s established and she said she told him of the international community’s support for a resolution on Cyprus, said Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah.

Before she crossed the UN-patrolled Green Line that divides the sides, she told reporters after meeting Christodoulides that, “My impression is that everyone wants to move forward and have something happen on the island,” although Tatar doesn’t.

The “common ground is in civil society, but we have to move to the leaders and ask them to move forward,” something that no one else before her – including Guterres – has been able to do and now with Tatar’s intransigence making it even more unlikely.

Cypriot government spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiots said, “The significance of tying Turkey’s trajectory towards the EU and Ankara’s relations with Brussels to a potential progress on the Cyprus problem,” which Tatar and Turkey don’t want.

Before she came, Cuellar said she thought that her experience in helping resolve her native country Colombia’s long civil war would give her an edge in getting the two sides to talk but so far she too hasn’t been able to get them together.


NICOSIA - The World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled against Greek investors who lost $600 million in bonds and deposits in Cypriot banks in 2013, the funds seized on government orders to prevent their collapse.

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