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Politics

Turkish-Cypriot Leader Tatar Wants His Way Or No Way for Island

The new hard-line leader of the Turkish-Cypriot occupied northern third of the island, who said he wants two states and recognition for the isolated population there, said there's no other answer and that he won't even discuss one.

Ersin Tatar, elected in October 2020 with the aid of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then swearing allegiance to him, said the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government should focus on his proposal and give up reunification hopes.

He told Turkey's pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah that's a propaganda mouthpiece for Erdogan, who doesn't want independent or critical media, that the Greek-Cypriot side is trying to scuttle a two-state idea that he will propose at the United Nations General Assembly opening in September.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said despite repeated failures to bridge the gap that he's willing yet again to talk about a Federal solution for the island split by two unlawful Turkish invasions in 1974.

But Tatar said that Anastasiades should instead focus on starting result-oriented negotiations based on the vested rights of both sides and what the Turkish-Cypriot leader said is the current reality of the island, the paper reported.

"It is time for reconciliation, cooperation and action for stability. The path to realistic and sustainable reconciliation is through taking brave steps forward, not backward, in accordance with the changing conditions of our island, region and the world," Tatar said – but only on his terms, others not accepted.

The last round of reunification talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Erdogan and the Turkish-Cypriot side's then leader, Mustafa Akinci, saying a 35,000-strong standing army would never leave and demanding the right of further military invasion when they wanted.

With Turkey also drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters and Erdogan and Tatar further reopening the abandoned resort of Varosha on the occupied side in violation of UN resolutions, prospects for a solution have gotten dimmer.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who presided over the Swiss debacle and later issued a report blaming nobody for anything, said there is "no common ground yet" to resume formal negotiations on the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Tatar said he wants to hold talks in New York at the UN opening with officials there and with the Greek-Cypriot side that's a member of the European Union that Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005.

He told the paper that it's not possible to have reunification, only permanent partition, demanding recognition for the self-declared republic accepted only by Turkey in the world, and wanting to keep an occupying army on an island where one side is a member of the EU, the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government.

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