LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
The Northern Cypriot government is pursuing the right strategy to protect the Turkish Cypriot people, said the nation’s president on Friday.
"We're on the right track, we see that we have reached an important stage in protecting the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people,” said President Ersin Tatar.
“After the 5+1 meeting, the situation should be evaluated again,” he added, referring to an unofficial meeting of the UN, the parties on the divided island, and guarantor countries set for February or March.
Meeting with the heads of political parties represented in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) parliament, Tatar said Turkish Cyprus standing firm on a two-state solution is having an impact on the Southern Greek Cypriot administration.
Saying 50 years of negotiations over a federation have produced nothing, Turkish Cyprus and Turkey have recently stressed that any future talks must be on the basis of two sovereign states on the island.
"With my election, a new page opened on Cyprus," Tatar said, referring to his election last October, seen as giving a mandate for a new approach to the Cyprus issue.
The Turkish Cypriots will continue their presence on the island along with Turkey, he said.
‘Turkey, Turkish Cypriots showed great flexibility in last talks’
Turning to the failed 2017 Cyprus talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland – the last talks to date – Tatar said: “Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side showed a lot of flexibility in the last talks in Crans-Montana for a federal solution on Cyprus, and the UN secretary-general and all interested parties know this very well.”
Turkish Cyprus is working in harmony with Turkey, and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean have also increased the TRNC’s power in the region, so it would be in everyone's interest to reach a compromise on Cyprus, he added.
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Turkey's intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the UK. The TRNC was founded in 1983.
*Writing by Merve Berker
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