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16 June, 2024
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Tatar's UN meeting and rhetoric challenge Cyprus peace talks

The Turkish Cypriot leader's assertive stance heightens uncertainty


The meeting between Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, and UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, held in New York, along with Tatar's subsequent rhetoric, both publicly and in an interview with the British newspaper "Telegraph," does not signal optimism for a change in attitude towards resolving the Cyprus problem. Tatar remains committed to portraying the Turkish Cypriot community as isolated while advocating for sovereign equality and a two-state solution.

According to Kathimerini's Yiannis Ioannou, since meeting with Guterres, Tatar has connected developments in Pyla, particularly the issue of road opening, and the incident last August, to actions by the Greek Cypriot side. He has portrayed this as a "threat of use," aligning with the themes of sovereign equality and Turkish Cypriot isolationism. His comparison of a violent incident in the buffer zone to a situation resembling Gaza in Cyprus marks a qualitative shift in his rhetoric, especially as it was made in an interview with the widely-circulated "Telegraph" before meeting with Guterres.

Tatar appears to be strategically focusing on two areas:

1. Deconstructing the basis of the talks, emphasizing delegitimizing the existence according to UN Security Council resolution 186/1964.
2. Exerting pressure to secure negotiating concessions from the Greek Cypriot side through the UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, Maria Angela Holguin-Cuellar

The recent election results in Turkey, where Erdogan faced defeat, reinforce Tatar's unilateral rhetoric. He not only reiterates the two-state solution but also issues indirect threats in a more passive manner over the past three years.

Looking ahead, Holguin is expected to return to Cyprus in early May after the Easter holidays for a third visit, aiming to break the deadlock. She will also conduct diplomatic efforts in Brussels and European capitals, seeking a trilateral meeting with the two leaders to facilitate progress toward resolution.

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