Turkey ready to take up ‘any new idea’ on Cyprus
NICOSIA – Anadolu Agency
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has “acknowledged in his recent reports that new ideas are needed for settlement of the Cyprus issue,” Cağatay Erciyes, a senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official, told the opening ceremony of the 2nd International Conference on the Cyprus issue.
“In this respect, we are ready to take up any new idea as long as the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots is secured and the security needs of the Turkish Cypriots are met.”
Near East University in Nicosia, the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is hosting the conference “The Cyprus Issue: The Past, Present, and Future of Cyprus” through April 3.
Under the current circumstances, added Erciyes, Turkey neither excludes the federal model nor insists on any particular model, and it should review goals towards a solution.
He said that for new talks on the Cyprus issue, subjects to be discussed and the format must be agreed on beforehand.
“We don’t want to start negotiations only for the sake of negotiating, and we know the UN secretary-general shares the same approach. None of us can tolerate another failure,” Erciyes added.
Erciyes said after many decades of negotiations, the Greek Cypriots still refuse to acknowledge the Turkish Cypriots’ political equality, adding that recent statements by Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades prove this.
“He continues to see himself as a head of a unitary state who can grant rights to a minority,” said Erciyes.
Following the Greek Cypriots’ forcible division of the island in 1963, the Turkish Cypriots suffered under a wave of ethnic violence.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was established.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries - Turkey, Greece and the U.K. - ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
In 2004, in twin referendums, the plan of then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a solution was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by Greek Cypriots.
The talks focused on a federal model, based on the political equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots’ rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, led to the emergence of other models.
In a recent report, Guterres also said that “new ideas” may be needed for a settlement on the island.