Greek Cyprus makes an offer Turks ‘can’t accept’

Greek Cyprus makes an offer Turks ‘can’t accept’

Ömer Bilge NICOSIA
Greek Cyprus makes an offer Turks ‘can’t accept’

Delegations from Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus, chaired by the respective presidents, have been meeting for peace talks under the UN’s mediation. HÜRRİYET photo

A meeting between Cypriot leaders in the U.N.-controlled buffer zone on June 2 has been overshadowed by a list of offers by the Greek side that would only bestow a minority status on Turks in any unified Cyprus, a non-starter for the island’s northern community.

Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu said his Greek counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, did not accept previous agreements which had been approved by his predecessors since 2008. The president added that the Greek side had also refused to accept a rotating presidency system while offering a single voter list without making any Turk-Greek differentiation.

The rotating presidency had previously been accepted by the Greek Cypriots.

The new offer package includes a permanent Greek Cypriot president, a Turkish vice president, a single voter list where Greek Cypriots could vote in the election of the vice president, that the EU should play an active role in the negotiation process, a proposal to give land to Greek Cypriots and simultaneous discussion about Turkey’s guarantor status and the fate of Turkish-born citizens living on the island.

Eroğlu said the Turkish side was insistent over the rotating presidency, noting that former presidents Mehmet Ali Talat and Demetris Christofias had already reached an agreement on the matter.

The president emphasized that the single voter list would abolish their desires for bi-zonality and that Greek Cypriots would be able to choose the Turkish leader.

The U.N. chief’s special representative in Cyprus, Lisa Buttenheim, said the three-and-a-half hour meeting was held in a “constructive and sincere manner” and that both leaders had agreed to continue to offer their suggestions on all essential matters.     

The next two meetings will be held on June 23 and July 7 as part of an agreement to come together twice a month in an effort to conclude the negotiation process as soon as possible, Buttenheim said.

After a nearly two-year hiatus, negotiations aimed at reuniting the island’s two communities were restarted in February in the wake of concerted pressure from the United States.