While insisting he won’t discuss reunification – only two separate states – Turkish-Cypriot hardline leader Ersin Tatar said it’s the Greek-Cypriot side that’s already undercutting planned talks over the island’s division.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was at the last round of reunification talks that collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, has invited both sides to sit down again.
They are to be joined by the three guarantors of security on the island, Greece, Turkey and the former Colonial ruler The United Kingdom, which still has military bases there.
But Tatar’s demands for only two states to be on the table, which would recognize the northern third of the island occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion has thrown a monkey wrench into the works.
So far there’s no plans not to go ahead with the so-called 5+1 talks but it’s unclear what the agenda will be with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, of the legitimate government that’s a member of the European Union, already rejecting a so-called two-state solution as a non-starter for him.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency said that Tatar blamed the Greek-Cypriot side for incitement and unacceptable demands that he has dismissed out of hand, saying he would follow the line of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who doesn’t want reunification either.
Anastasiades’ statements that "the UN parameters should not change, the Turkish-Cypriot side's plans for the complete opening of the closed Maras should end, and Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean should be terminated” are unacceptable, Tatar stressed.
Maras is the name Turkey uses for the abandoned ghost resort of Varosha that’s on the occupied side and had been off limits except for the Turkish military and officials, left to crumble for 46 ½ years.
It was partially reopened in October, 2020 on Erdogan’s orders to give a boost to the nationalist Tatar in elections for the self-declared Presidency of the occupied territory no other country apart from Turkey recognizes.
It worked, lifting Tatar to the leadership in ousting moderate Mustafa Akinci who had fallen out of favor with Erdogan in refusing to accept the Turkish President’s two state idea instead of a federal solution.
Tatar said UN guidelines for generations of talks have gone nowhere and should be set aside, without mentioning it was Turkey’s refusal to remove a 35,000-strong standing army on the occupied side and demand for the right of further military intervention that led to the Swiss debacle.
"Insisting on the current parameters is to play into a deadlock,” said Tatar, and added: “So, we will not bow to the conditions of the Greek-Cypriot side,” demanding instead they bow to him.
Turkey has been drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters near where the Anastasiades government licensed foreign companies to also hunt for energy and his offer to share 30 percent of revenues with Turkish-Cypriots was rejected.
Tatar was adamant that his side wanted more of a say and added that, “The Greek Cypriot side will never be allowed to own the energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean alone and to violate the rights of the TRNC and Turkey underfoot,” using the name for the occupied side no other country does.
While Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides' said that, "There can be no solution outside the federation grounds,” Tatar won’t hear it, saying only two states can be discussed at all.
"We've raised a solution model based on the cooperation of two equally sovereign states as a new view and a new way, and we will also bring it to the table at the informal 5+1 meeting, and there will be no backing down from this," stressed Tatar.