Erdoğan wants to attend ‘picnic’ in Cyprus’ Varosha

Erdoğan wants to attend ‘picnic’ in Cyprus’ Varosha

Erdoğan wants to attend ‘picnic’ in Cyprus’ Varosha

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged to attend a “picnic” next month in Varosha of Turkish-controlled North Cyprus, as he pushes for a two-state solution on the divided island.

“I believe it would be beneficial to have a picnic there all together during our visit on Nov. 15...We are watching from our screens here, but we want to experience it in person. God willing, we will do that too,” Erdoğan said at a press conference with the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Oct. 26

Both leaders have voiced their support for the resumption of peace talks for Cyprus based on a solution envisioning two separate states, departing from a formula followed for decades.

Erdoğan stressed that it was time for a realistic proposal about a two-state solution on the divided island of Cyprus to be discussed and added that the parameters of the current talks were not sustainable.

The approach of Greek Cypriots had blocked previous attempts to find a solution, the president emphasized. “It is obvious that the Greek side has no intention of accepting a solution on the basis of the equal partnership of the Turkish Cypriot people.”

“It must be understood that no result can be achieved under the current parameters following a negotiation process that has lasted more than half a century,” Erdoğan said.

“At this point that we have reached, we believe with certainty that to start negotiations based exclusively on the option of a federation is a waste of time. Therefore, we believe a two-state solution must now be brought to the table with a realistic proposal,” he stated.

Cyprus was split after Turkey’s interference in 1974, which was triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. The latest attempt at reunification between the two Cypriot sides collapsed in disarray in mid-2017. Ankara accuses the EU of violating laws by only admitting Greek Cypriots.

Earlier this month, North Cyprus partially reopened the beach town of Varosha, a fenced-off resort area abandoned in no man’s land since 1974, a move criticized by the United States, Greece and Greek Cypriots.

Tatar, for his part, said that a Turkish proposal to hold an informal meeting between Turkey, North Cyprus, Greek Cypriots, Greece and the United Nations was “the last chance” for an agreement.

Turkish Cypriot leader said that a meeting, which U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to call soon, could test the ground for a two-state deal. The meeting would bring together the two sides and Cyprus’ “guarantors’,’ Greece, Turkey and Britain.

“The five-party conference ... in our opinion, is the last chance for the settlement of the Cyprus issue,’’ Tatar said. “We are of the opinion that this meeting will determine whether a two-state solution based on sovereign equality can be brought to the table and whether an agreement can be possible.’’