Turkish Cypriots stand firm on their insistence for a two-state solution on Cyprus as an UN-led conference to resume moribund talks looms in Geneva.
Tahsin Ertugruloglu, foreign minister of the breakaway, occupied north, told the Financial Times that attempts at reunification over five decades had proved a “total failure”.
He said Greek Cypriots and the international community must accept the “undeniable reality” of “two separate national entities, two separate states, two separate democracies, two separate peoples”.
The UN has convened five-party talks at the end of April “to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon”.
The last round of UN-sponsored negotiations collapsed four years ago in Switzerland; there have been no Cyprus talks since.
Turkey and the breakaway north have become more hardline on the Cyprus issue since Ersin Tatar, a staunch supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected Turkish Cypriot leader last year.
Essentially, politicians like Ertugruloglu are seeking formal partition rather than reunification.
“This new road we have embarked on is not something we have tried and tested,” Ertugruloglu said.
“It is a brand-new path.”
The Cyprus government has dismissed the notion of a two-state solution, saying it is not even up for discussion.
President Nicos Anastasiades said he is ready to resume peace talks, but both Nicosia and Athens have rejected the idea of a sovereign northern Cypriot state.
And the international community also supports a solution based on UN resolutions reunifying the island as a bizonal federation, as agreed at high-level talks in 1977 and 1979.
“Do I expect them to genuinely try to turn a new page? No, I do not,” Ertugruloglu said of the Cyprus government.
“But just because they may not be interested in turning a new page does not mean that we are going to abandon where we stand and fall in line with what they do.”
Ertugruloglu told The Financial Times he did not see room for a compromise based on a federation of two-zone and two communities.
He said he could imagine “two states co-operating in certain fields, perhaps preparing the ground for future generations to consider a confederation”.
But he added that any confederation would have to be based on “two sovereign states”.
Ertugruloglu said there could not be co-operation on managing gas resources unless the north was first recognised as an independent state.
“We expect the United Nations to be honest and sincere and come out and openly say so at the end of this: is there common ground or not?”
Britain, a guarantor power for an independent Cyprus alongside Greece and Turkey, has also come out against a two-state solution.
“The only country we have absolute confidence in is motherland Turkey.” (source The Financial Times)