Turkey says solution on Cyprus should be based on realities

Turkey says solution on Cyprus should be based on realities

Turkey says solution on Cyprus should be based on realities

Turkey’s top diplomat has explained why a federal solution is not possible on Cyprus at an informal 5+1 meeting in Geneva held by the U.N. to seek whether there is a common ground for a new round of talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriots to end the decades-old division.

“A fair, permanent and sustainable solution can only be achieved based on realities on the Island,” said Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Twitter, on the first day of the two-day meetings on April 28.

The meeting convenes Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders Ersin Tatar and Nicos Anastasiades as well as the foreign ministers of three guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is chairing and hosting the meetings in Geneva. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, and U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab are leading the delegations of the guarantor countries.

“In Geneva [I] stated strong support for the Turkish Cypriot side’s vision of sovereign equality and equal international status and its proposal to this end. [I] explained why a federal solution is not possible,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) underline that they will not negotiate a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with the Greek Cyprus as the latter has never wanted to share anything with the Turks on the island. Instead, they propose a two-state solution and establish a neighborhood relationship with the Greek Cyprus which says it sticks to a federal model.

As the delegations arrived in Geneva on April 27, Guterres held bilateral meetings with them and hosted them at a reception later in the day. The informal meeting started early on April 28 and scheduled to end on April 29 although a one-day extension is also possible.

Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar called his meeting with Guterres “productive,” and said his side conveyed its views on the dispute to the U.N. chief. “Guterres knows the Cyprus issue well. Now he will discuss the issue with the other side. We will discuss the issue intensively tomorrow and the day after,” Tatar said.

UN chief ‘realistic’

Ahead of the talks, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, had said: “The secretary-general is realistic. This is an issue that he knows well. He has participated in discussions before. So, he is realistic.”

He said Guterres decided to call this “informal meeting” following consultations over the past several months. “As we have repeatedly said, the purpose of this informal meeting will be to determine whether a common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus issue within a foreseeable horizon,” said the U.N. spokesman.

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long struggle between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement. The island has been divided since 1964 when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The TRNC was founded in 1983.

The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the EU in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N. settlement plan in a referendum that year, which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the EU.