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Politics

Unless Two States on Table, Turkey Won’t Take Part in Cyprus Talks

February 12, 2021

ANKARA — Turkey will not take part in planned United Nations talks aimed at restarting reunification negotiations for Cyprus unless the agenda includes two separate states, which would bring recognition for the occupied northern third.

Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin forwarded the demand from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and also said previous failed proposals shouldn’t be discussed either, Turkey wanting to set ground rules, almost 47 years after it invaded.

That came after the leaders of Greece and Cyprus said they would only accept a peace deal based on UN resolutions, rejecting the two-state formula supported by Turkey and Turkish-Cypriots, Reuters said in its report on the dilemma.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who took part in the last found of talks that fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana after Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot side they would never remove a 35,000-strong army on the occupied side called for the new talks.

Those are designed only to talk about whether to actually negotiate and to set terms on how to do that but has seen as much bickering as previous discussions that have fallen apart for decades.

UN resolutions call for Cyprus' reunification under a two-zone federation but both sides have accused the other of intransigence, the new Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar saying he will follow Erdogan’s lead in accepting only two-state recognition.

The occupied side set up a self-declared republic recognized only by Turkey, otherwise isolated in the world while on the same island with the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government that’s a member of the European Union.

"We cannot discuss the things we discussed for 40 years for another 40 years," Kalin told an interview with broadcaster TRT Haber. 

"Now, this issue will be discussed under the UN's roof. It will be discussed at the 5+1 talks, we will now be discussing a two-state solution," he added.

Erdogan said the only way to resolve the Cyprus dispute was a two-state solution, rather than a federation favored by Greece and the UN. The talks would – if they happen – would bring together Cyprus and the UN and the three guarantors of security for the island: Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Greek Cypriots won’t discuss the two state idea as implies sovereign authority for Turkish-Cypriots who make up less than 20 percent of the population but want equal representation as well.

A Turkish delegation led by Vice President Fuat Oktay held a second day of talks on the occupied territory and agreed to further cooperation in a host of areas ahead of the planned talks next month at the same time they said they wouldn’t take part unless they get their way.

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