Turkish Cyprus briefs US Secretary of State Tillerson on talks impasse
NICOSIA – Anadolu AgencyU.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on March 1 that a solution to the Cyprus issue had significance beyond the island’s two communities, according to Turkish Cypriot presidential sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Tillerson made the comment during a telephone call with Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı, sources said.
Akıncı recalled that the Greek Cypriot parliament recently voted to introduce a yearly public school commemoration of a 1950 referendum in which Greek Cypriots voted overwhelmingly for Athens to take over the island, an idea known as “Enosis” (Union).
Akıncı reportedly told Tillerson that the passing of the law in the Greek Cypriot parliament destroyed the current negotiations on the island.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turkish population and the subsequent intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
Reunification talks - brokered by U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide - were launched in May 2015 to discuss a permanent settlement for the divided Mediterranean island.
During their last meeting as part of the talks in mid-February, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, accused each other of storming out of the meeting.
Akıncı refused on Feb. 22 to attend a scheduled leaders’ meeting on Feb. 23 on the grounds that Greek Cyprus has done nothing to repeal the “Enosis” law.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Öztürk Yılmaz said the reunification talks should not resume unless the Greek Cypriot parliament’s decision to back “Enosis” celebrations is dropped.