Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades says his administration will embark on a global campaign to elicit reactions to positions put forth by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, with the two leaders on the divided island not shying away from taking serious jabs at each other.
Following the UN 5+1 informal meeting in Geneva last week, President Nicos Anastasiades said his government was set to launch an awareness campaign against positions submitted in Geneva by Tatar, with the Greek Cypriot leader noting a two-state formula was outside parameters set by United Nations resolutions and decisions of the Security Council calling for a federal settlement.
“The effort is to draw reactions from both the UN and the EU, but also countries that can exert influence on Turkey,” Anastasiades said, referring to an informal European Council in Portugal this weekend but also other contacts in the coming weeks.
“We see that saber toothed monsters have swung into action and are employing various methods,” Tatar remarked on Monday.
The Greek Cypriot leader, who remained firm on a federal solution model during the Geneva meeting, responded to media questions about the Turkish Cypriot leader’s remarks after Anastasiades had referred to the Cyprus problem in his Easter Sunday televised address.
Tatar took issue with Anastasiades after the Greek Cypriot leader spoke out against “arrogance from those who dream of a new Ottoman Empire” while also speaking in favor of European principles as a basis for a reunified island.
Anastasiades said Tatar in Geneva drove the point that Turkish Cypriots were co-founders and on the other hand 'he thought I insulted Turkish Cypriots because I called them fellow citizens of mine'
“My answer to Anastasiades is to look in the mirror and see who the arrogant person is,” Tatar said.
Anastasiades argued Tatar’s two-state claim aimed at “creating a regime subordinate to Turkey, a claim that not only goes against international law and terms set by the UN Secretary General, but also clearly against the will of the majority of the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.”
“My advice to Anastasiades is to look at the election results once again and see that the Turkish Cypriot people have elected me as their president because of my policy and vision for a solution model that is based on two sovereign equal states,” Tatar responded.
On Tuesday Anastasiades said he was surprised by Tatar’s reactions, saying on one hand the Turkish side in Geneva drove the point that Turkish Cypriots were co-founders in the Republic of Cyprus but on the other hand “he thought I insulted Turkish Cypriots because I called them fellow citizens of mine.”
“I just have one thing to ask him about the 97 thousand Turkish Cypriots who have Republic of Cyprus citizenship and passports and also enjoy all the things that Cypriot European citizens enjoy, should they be ashamed?” Anastasiades asked.
Tatar further accused President Anastasiades of “trying to deceive world public opinion by conducting a black propaganda based on lies and slander.”
“My proposal based on the cooperation of the two equal sovereign states, which I brought to the negotiating table, is the will of the majority of the Turkish Cypriot people and is also supported by Turkey,” Tatar said.
Anastasiades says his government “will seek out every friendly nation” beyond steps already taken through members of the UN Security Council and the EU, referring to an informal EU council in Portugal.
Tatar said he also had a message for the EU, calling on Brussels to “fulfill promises made to the Turkish Cypriot people in the Annan Plan referenda” while calling on Europeans to “abandon the adoption of the pro-Greek stance.”
The Turkish Cypriot leader also reacted to Anastasiades’ vision for a solution where the Greek Cypriot leader spoke about “European principles as a basis for a new sovereign and independent state based on previous agreements and without foreign dependencies or occupation forces.”
Tatar says a federal solution is unrealistic for divided Cyprus, a position backed by Turkey, one of three guarantor powers on the island.
“Our proposal, which we put on the negotiating table, is for the benefit of Cyprus and the region and is the most realistic solution,” Tatar said referring to equal sovereignty between two states on the island.
Tatar also raised multiple issues in Geneva including “isolations and embargoes that have been imposed on our people for many years.”
Asked about the intensity of Tatar’s statements, Anastasiades told reporters on Tuesday “the issue was whether the toll on fellow Turkish Cypriot compatriots had been calculated given actions that lead to their isolation.”
Tatar argued that embargoes and isolation on Turkish Cypriots “were human rights violations still ongoing.”
Anastasiades said the two-state solution was not feasible, adding it would never be accepted by the international community or the European Union.
“I don’t want to get into this argument but patience has its limits,” Anastasiades told reporters.