Turkey Rejects Confidence-Building Measures for Divided Cyprus

NICOSIA – Turkey’s Foreign Ministry disputed reports that officials from the country spoke with Greek authorities about so-called Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) over the Cyprus dilemma, which has seen the island split since unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions.

Turkish-Cypriots occupy the northern third, protected by a 35,000-strong Turkish army in a territory it calls a Republic but which no other country in the world apart from Turkey recognizes, leaving it isolated for decades.

Turkish-Cypriot hardline leader Ersin Tatar said he won’t even talk about reunification, a failed agenda the United Nations has been pursuing without any success and that instead he wants two states accepted by the world.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, with the Greek-Cypriot side a member of the European Union, has rejected that out of hand and the Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah said Turkey won’t even consider CBMs.

Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriots have complained about Anastasiades’ government and Greece reaching out to the EU and dismissed his idea to open the Ercan Airport on the occupied side to more international travel.

But that would be done only in exchange for return of the abandoned resort town of Varosha in occupied land, which the Turkish said will never happen, and as it has moved to partially reopen it.

Anastasiades’ government even sweetened the port by recommending the port of Famagusta could open under EU control but the Turkish-Cypriots said those are all duplicitous measures aimed at undermining their alleged rights.

“With these so-called proposals, the acquired rights of the Turkish Cypriots are targeted,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry told the Anadolu Agency, adding that CBMs are not on the agenda.

“The news that the package was discussed with the Greek Cypriot side by the authorities of our country is purposeful and untrue news aimed at creating a misperception,” it added.

Tatar said it was a “propaganda stunt” to hold down the Turkish-Cypriots and hat it would amoung to his side acknowledging the “sole authority (and) sovereignty of the Greek-Cypriot polity over the island,” the paper said.

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides had described the proposals around Varosha and Famagusta as a confidence-building measure that would hopefully lead to a return to peace talks.



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