Ahead of United Nations-sponsored talks, former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Turkey’s demand for two states on Cyprus is the only solution to end division although it would recognize an occupied self-declared republic.
Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT World said he also urged The United Kingdom to open direct flights to the occupied side that no other country apart from Turkey in the world recognizes.
That came in an online seminar held by British Turkish Cypriot Association (BTCA) and Council of Turkish Cypriot Association (CTCA), the report said, essentially siding with Turkey over Cyprus and the European Union.
“British government needs to accept in their mind, two-state solution is the only solution,” Straw said, according to the report, blaming himself for what he said was going along with the EU admitting the Greek-Cypriot government.
New Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they will no longer even consider reunification of the island split after unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions.
The occupied territory does not belong to the EU and has been isolated for decades, the last attempt at bringing the two sides together failing when talks in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana collapsed.
That was because of Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot side refusing to remove a 35,000-strong standing army and demanding the right of further military intervention, leading Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to walk away.
But he said he’s willing to try again and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was at the Swiss debacle, has scheduled an informal meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from April 27-29.
The so-called five party talks will include the Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots as well as the three guarantors of security for the island, Greece, Turkey and The UK, the former Colonial ruler which still has military bases there.
“The first thing to do is we have to get to established in their minds of British politicians, not least current foreign secretary if they want a solution, the solution is going to have to be a two-state solution,” also said Straw.
He said the UK has accepted similar solutions around the world, including in the Balkans and that it must use its influence as guarantor of security and having a military presence on Cyprus to force a two-state solution over any objections.