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Politics

Turkish-Cypriot Leader: No Unity for Cyprus, Only Two States

NICOSIA — Further digging in his heels, the new hardline leader of the Turkish-Cypriot occupied side of Cyprus said he won't discuss failed reunification efforts, demanding the world recognize his isolated territory.

Turkey seized the northern third of the island in unlawful 1974 invasions and decades of attempts to bring it back together have fallen apart, including the last round in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

Negotiations there between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and the then-leader of the Turkish-Cypriot side, Mustafa Akinci, disintegrated when the Turkish side said a 35,000-strong army there would never be removed and wanted the right of further military intervention.

Tatar said the experience of failures should lead to a “reality check,” and that he will push at the United Nations in September for recognition of the occupied side, the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government a member of the European Union that Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005. 

He said he is following the direction of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in wanting two separate states and permanent partition so that the occupied side could be a republic accepted by the UN, The Financial Times reported.

“It is time for the world to recognise the reality that we have two different states, (and) any effort to push us into a mixed marriage is doomed to fail,” Tatar said, a stance that pushed Anastasiades away from any idea of talking again.

“They are Greeks, they are Christians. We are a different race. We speak Turkish; our religion is Islam, our motherland is Turkey,” he said in making his argument for recognition.

Tatar will travel to New York in September during the UN General Assembly when he expects to meet Anastasiades again, apparently doomed to go nowhere because the Turkish-Cypriot leader said he will dismiss anything other than the world meeting his demands.

“I’m not saying that we will shut the door,” Tatar said. “I am here to negotiate for a fair settlement based on two sovereign states,” but only on his terms.

Tension has remained on Cyprus as Turkey has continued to drill for oil and gas in Cypriot waters and Erdogan has moved to further reopen the abandoned resort of Varosha on the occupied side.

That ignores UN resolutions which said the properties there remain those of the original owners, mostly Greek-Cypriots, and the UN Security Council denounced the plans for Varosha.

Not caring, Tatar said he wants the UN to now accept his demands while he won't accept its resolutions about Varosha or anything else other than acceptance of an occupied land.

Anastasiades had offered to give 30 percent of potentially lucrative energy discoveries to the Turkish-Cypriot side which represents less than 20 percent of the population but Tatar said it's not enough and he doesn't trust the Greek-Cypriot leader's word of the proposal.

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