NICOSIA – Any idea of reunifying the island has been rejected out of hand by Turkish-Cypriot hard line leader Ersin Tatar but the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government has floated the idea of rebooting talks dead in the water.
“The Greek-Cypriot side will use all available tools for the resumption of the UN-led Cyprus settlement talks,” Government Spokesman Marios Pelekanos said, reported Kathimerini.
The last round of talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkey and then Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said a 35,000-strong Turkish army on the occupied side would never be removed and as they demanded the right of further military intervention.
Akinci, who lost the support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, lost a re-election bid in October, 2020 to Tatar, who openly admitted he’ll do whatever Erdogan tells him.
“The impasse is due to the intransigence of Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot side,” Pelekanos told reporters, noting that in 2018 that Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had reached an agreement with Akinci to try to restart talks anyway.
“This was followed by the election of Ersin Tatar as the head of the Turkish Cypriot community and since then we have had an obstacle called Turkish intransigence,” Pelekanos said.
He added that, “We are obliged and we will continue to utilize all available tools to bring back Turkey to the negotiating table for the resumption of a creative dialogue that will lead us to a solution to the Cyprus problem.”
He said, however, that, “We recognize the challenges, we are realists, we are monitoring the stance of the Turkish Cypriot side daily, we monitor the statements of Mr. Tatar, and our side will continue to utilize every available tool to achieve our goals.”
Asked if the United Nations would try to help the two sides find a path to resume discussions, he noted that there hasn’t even been appointment of a new UN envoy for Cyprus.
Pelekanos said Colin Stewart, the new UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus, has stated he will continue contacts with both sides, a tactic that has failed for decades, after two unlawful Turkish invasions in 1974 led to an ongoing occupation.
“The common ground is there, in the convergences agreed, the UN resolutions which define the UN chief’s mandate, in the High-Level Agreements and at the point we left off in Crans Montana where a great amount was covered and great progress was achieved in many of the issues discussed,” the spokesman said.
That was contradicted by any sign of real progress but continuing a diplomatic spin indicating there was reason for optimism amid intermittent note of despair that there isn’t.