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18 July, 2024
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Spoilsport Tatar puts damper on eager Christodoulides

Turkish Cypriots see empty handed gesture in Christodoulides’ EU push, Greek Cypriots see potential


Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar believes that a political push for more EU involvement in the Cyprus Problem speaks volumes about the Greek Cypriot south, which is spearheading a “futile” initiative that has already been rejected by the north.

Tatar issued a statement on Thursday slamming a speech given by Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides to the European Parliament earlier this week, when the Greek Cypriot leader called for EU involvement in peace talks on the divided island.

Christodoulides previously said he was hoping to convince fellow EU member states that a well known political personality from the bloc ought to represent the Union in peace talks with all parties, including a stick and carrot approach with Turkey.

During his address on Tuesday, the Greek Cypriot leader called for the appointment of an EU envoy for Cyprus peace talks to help break a deadlock by “using all the political-economic instruments and tools.”

'Greek Cypriot leadership should understand efforts to involve actors other than the UN in the Cyprus issue are futile, no actor can be involved in possible processes without Turkish Cypriot consent'

Christodoulides went on to clarify that any EU help should be based on previous UN resolutions that called for a bicommunal, bizonal, federation in a reunified Cyprus.

But Tatar doesn’t buy that argument and further believes that Christodoulides is “repeating an attitude that ignores the Turkish Cypriot people and does not see them as equal.”

"The Greek Cypriot leadership should understand that efforts to involve actors other than the UN in the Cyprus issue are futile. No actor can be involved in possible processes if the Turkish Cypriot side does not consent,” Tatar stated.

Tatar also had word of advice for EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola, who described the Cyprus problem as not only a Cypriot question but also a European issue, adding that “Europe can never be complete as long as Cyprus is divided."

Metsola, who has Greek family roots and spent time in Cyprus during her college years, made the comments following statements last month by Christodoulides, who called the island’s division “a European problem.

“She seems to have forgotten the great contribution that the EU has made to the prolongation of the status quo,” Tatar said.

The Turkish Cypriot leader went on to argue that the EU allowed the Greek Cypriot side to join the bloc “in violation of international treaties that established the Republic” right after that the south rejected a UN reunification plan that was accepted by the Turkish Cypriot north, which was left out of the Union.

“If the EU wants to contribute to a compromise and a solution in Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot leader should encourage them to do so. Otherwise, it is not possible for the EU, which has become a part of the problem, to make a positive contribution to the Cyprus issue with its current attitude,” Tatar said.

Christodoulides, a career diplomat who also previously served as foreign minister, maintains that his initiative is meant to restart dialogue by enticing Ankara to come to the negotiation table and abandon Turkish positions of a “two-state” solution.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara is not ready for talks before an equal footing between the two sides on the divided island can be established.

"If there is to be a return to the negotiating table, the way to do this is through recognition," Erdogan said.

There had been no public statement from the UN about the issue but Christodoulides reportedly had a phone conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday.

Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis told state radio on Friday morning that the two men had a discussion but declined to comment on Guterres’ response to Christodoulides.

Letymbiotis also told the Cyprus News Agency that Europeans “see the prospect, they see how this proposal, this interconnection of the EU-Turkey relations with the lifting of the deadlock.”

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  Europe  |  peae talks  |  Tatar  |  Christodoulides  |  EU envoy

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