Cyprus talks cannot last forever: Turkish Cypriot PM
Bahadır Gültekin – ISTANBUL
The lingering efforts to find a resolution to the decades-long Cyprus issue should be “result-oriented” and “time-limited,” the prime minister of the Turkish side of the divided island has said, as both sides prepare for a round of trilateral talks.
“It wouldn’t be right to say that we’re going to put [the U.N. parameters] on the shelf completely, but the alternatives should be on the table. Negotiations should be result-oriented and time-oriented. Endless talks will not save Cyprus,” Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar told Hürriyet Daily News.
The premier’s remarks came when he was asked if he would put the U.N. parameters aside if he runs for president and gets elected.
The U.N. parameters foresee a bi-zonal and bi-communal federal solution on the basis of agreements hammered between both sides’ Cypriot leaders in 1977 and 1979.
Tatar also stressed that a two-state solution in the EU that could be recognized internationally is “realistic.”
He said that such a solution would be a better alternative to a federal one for the island, divided in 1974, and Cyprus’ realities require different approaches.
“Alternative methods should come to the table; and one of these is the two states in the EU. The important thing is to continue this process with our determination and unity,” he said, giving the example of the recognition of Kosovo.
“Kosovo got in a separation when the negotiation process collapsed, because the people wanted to continue in their own way. However, we cannot act as a whole in Turkish Cyprus, because Mustafa Akıncı [president of Turkish Cyprus] and the Republican Turkish Party [CTP] say that there is still no possibility of a solution other than an agreement on a federal basis,” Tatar said.
When asked about his thoughts on the reception of the Greek Cypriot administration and whether they will accept the two-state solution despite opposing the idea of a federation with political equality, he said, “Whether they accept it or not, if we want it as a single body as the Turkish Cypriot people, this idea will come to a respectable point.”
Speaking about the U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding the call upon all states not to recognize Turkish Cyprus, Tatar underlined that Turkish Cyprus “has to resist.”
“It may be a problem, but we have no other choice. The Greek Cypriot administration offers a zero-guarantee and zero-troop requirement for a federal deal,” he said.
“We can’t sign something like this, it’ll be the end of us. We have to resist until the end,” he added.
The premier also conveyed that he does not believe the upcoming meeting between Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı, his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nikos Anastasiades and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will yield any result.
The trilateral meeting will take place on Nov. 25 in the German capital of Berlin.
“The differences of opinion between the two sides are at a peak. The Greek Cypriot administration wants zero troops and zero guarantees. They say they won’t sit at the negotiation table if Turkey doesn’t withdraw the ships [from the eastern Mediterranean]. What more are you going to talk to them?” he added.
When asked if the future relations between the TRNC and Turkey will proceed on the basis of equality from the perspective of two sister states or the motherland and babyland, in the event of Tatar getting nominated and elected as president, he stressed that a realistic approach is needed.
“A country with a population of 82 million supports you with all means to keep you alive. TRNC as a state may have to depend on every opportunity offered by Turkey and its shadow. Equal-sister states? Where equal sister states? We need to be a realist a little bit,” he said.
Tatar believes that he and his government partner Kudret Özersay’s possible nomination will not create a break in the government.
“There is no need for the government to break down. If the main thing is to serve the public, there is no need to take this to the point of conflict. We didn't negotiate the presidency. Rumors of an agreement are insulting to both me and Özersay,” he said.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power.
In 1983, Turkish Cyprus was founded.
The decades since then 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 the second round of the presidential election in Turkish Cyprus in April 2020, Tatar might challenge incumbent Akıncı.