Turkish Cypriots set terms for future talks
NICOSIA – Hurriyet Daily News
Turkish Cyprus can resume talks if its conditions are met, says President Eroğlu. DHA photoHalted reunification talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots can only be resumed with the introduction of a deadline for negotiations and lifting the embargos imposed on Turkish Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot leader has said, just a day before Greek Cyprus assumes the six-month EU term presidency.
“Following the elections in Greek Cyprus [in early 2013], we be able to see the political attitude of their new president. We can continue negotiations only if these two conditions are met,” Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu told a group of journalists on June 29.
Two-year-long reunification talks under U.N. auspices have been suspended as Greek Cyprus is set to commence the EU’s term presidency on July 1. However, as the Greek Cypriots will hold presidential elections in early 2013, talks can only be started again in the spring of 2013 with new parameters, as the current Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias has already announced that he won’t run for the seat.
As a result of evaluations in Nicosia, Turkish Cypriots have decided to change their own parameters for future talks, introducing two preconditions. Eroğlu said lifting the embargos implemented on Turkish Cyprus would be the only way to push the Greek Cypriot leadership to approach a solution, saying, “we must be at equal standards,” during the negotiations.
Having said that, Eroğlu said he was pessimistic about a solution arising from such talks, “because the other side should also want to reach a solution.”
The reason for such pessimism derives from the fact that Greek Cyprus was already accepted as a full member of the EU in 2004 and there is nothing that could keep it motivated to establish a new partnership with the Turkish community, former British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, who described the accession of Greek Cypriots to the EU as a mistake, told Eroğlu a few weeks ago.
“We should not have included Greek Cyprus in the EU before a solution. They misled us as if they would accept the Annan Plan. The second mistake was in restarting negotiation talks between sides [despite the Greek Cypriot veto of the Annan Plan],” Straw told Eroğlu, according to the Turkish Cypriot leader.
Greek Cyprus will hold its ceremony for the EU presidency on July 1 at an antique theater located on Britain’s military base on south of the island, Eroğlu said, adding that the base was not identified as EU territory.