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Politics

UN Hid Turkey’s Demand to Keep Army On Occupied Cyprus Side

November 15, 2021

NICOSIA – An unpublished but official record of a July 6, 2017 meeting at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana aimed at trying to reunify Cyprus – which failed – revealed that Turkish Foreign Mevlut Cavusoglu said a Turkish army on the occupied northern third would never leave.

That was in the official minutes of a meeting he had with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said a report in Hellas Journal, and he later put out a report blaming neither side for the debacle.

That demand was later widely reported as the reason why the talks ended, with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades rejecting it outright, along with Turkey’s insistence on the right of further military intervention – invasion – when it wanted.

The report cited the unpublished minutes as stating that, “The Treaty of Alliance could be constructed as a new treaty but should contain a clause that provided for the permanent presence of Turkish troops. Zero troops was a red line for Turkey.”

Guterres was also reportedly handed a non-paper by Cavusoglu outlining Turkey’s positions in detail, the report said, adding that the UN chief was asked to keep it secret from Anastasiades and Greece’s then-foreign chief, Nikos Kotzias from the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.

All that happened as Guterres, who joined a long line of UN chiefs failing to make a breakthrough, went back-and-forth between the two sides, said The Associated Press at the time although it wasn’t said if he went along with Cavusoglu.

It also took place hours before a stormy working dinner hosted by Guterres for all participants, which ended without an agreement, continuing a logjam that’s lasted since Turkey twice invaded in 1974 and seized the northern third of the island.

“Unfortunately…an agreement was not possible and the conference was closed without the possibility to bring a solution to this dramatically long-lasting problem,” Guterres told reporters on the morning of July 7, the AP reported.

Also speaking to reporters after the working dinner, Cavusoglu had claimed the talks collapsed because of Greek and Greek Cypriot insistence for Turkey to pull out all of its troops from the island and for military intervention rights to be abolished.

“For Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side it is not acceptable for troops to be withdrawn,” he told reporters.

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