Cyprus talks to be launched in Geneva
An informal meeting under the auspices of the United Nations will be launched on April 27 in Geneva with the participation of Turkish and Greek leaders as well as the top diplomats of the three guarantor countries - Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom - which will seek whether there is a common ground for a new formal round of negotiations to resolve the decades-old stalemate in the island.
Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar paid a visit to Ankara on April 26 to hold talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of the crucial Geneva meetings slated to end on April 29.
“We will show to the entire world how right we are. Our biggest force is the fact that Turkey is 100 percent standing behind us,” Tatar told the reporters before leaving the island for Ankara.
Tatar said he would explain the new vision of the Turkish Cyprus as many things changed in Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean, stressing, “Thus we will tell them that there cannot be a solution based on a federal ground and that an agreement in Cyprus can only be possible with the cooperation of two independent, sovereign and equal states.”
Tatar also said he would meet with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Geneva on April 27 before the start of 5+1 meetings. Tatar and Çavuşoğlu are expected to travel to Switzerland together.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on April 26, the meeting will be held with the participation of Tatar and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, as well as guarantor countries - Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom - by their foreign ministers Çavuşoğlu, Nikos Dendias and Dominick Raab, respectively. The EU will not participate in the meetings but will be present in Geneva to observe the talks.
Turkey and Turkish Cyprus underline that they will no longer discuss a bizonal, bicommunal federation with Greek Cyprus as the latter has never agreed to share government with them as seen in the 2004 referendum and during the Crans Montana talks in 2017. Turkey says there is no meaning in negotiating over the same model after 53 years of futile talks.
Greece and Greek Cyprus, however, insist that the U.N. parameters that stipulate a federal solution cannot be abandoned, and the new round of talks should be held with the same understanding. Talks in Geneva will help Guterres to observe whether a new effort should be launched for resolving the deadlock in the island.
In an interview with Greece’s Kathimerini newspaper, Tatar reiterated that the Turkish Cypriots were as sovereign as the Greeks on the island, stressing, “We will never accept the thesis of a federation that will go to a unitary structure.”
UK can assist historic opportunity: Tatar
Turkish Cyprus issued a call on the United Kingdom to assist a “historic opportunity” to end a decades-long stalemate in Cyprus by recognizing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Tatar said.
Speaking to British tabloid The Sunday Express, Tatar “urged Boris Johnson’s government to get behind his plan for a two-state solution,” which he will propose at the talks in Geneva.
Tatar said that “after Brexit freed Britain from the EU it can now fulfill its role as a neutral guarantor for the eastern Mediterranean island, ensuring that both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots are treated in a balanced way.”
Citing sources in the British government, the daily said U.K. ministers are considering to officially recognize Turkish Cyprus as an “independent country.” Resolving the longstanding dispute on the island would help around 300,000 Turkish Cypriots who live in the U.K. to seek direct flights to their country, the daily added.
“With the developments in the eastern Mediterranean, the island has become even more valuable,” Tatar told the daily.
What we have at the moment is peaceful coexistence with two neighboring states, Tatar said, highlighting the fact that the two communities on the island were “different people,” with “different language, different history and different culture.”
“Since 1974, we have been separated. The young generation doesn’t know one another. They have different languages, cultures and experiences. There have been so many bitter experiences that there is no hope for a federal relationship in the future,” he stated.
“Therefore, we demand that our state is recognized,” he said, adding that he had “positive talks” with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Europe minister Wendy Morton.