Politics, World

'No common ground between Turkish, Greek Cypriots'

Anadolu Agency interviews TRNC Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu on sidelines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 19.06.2021
'No common ground between Turkish, Greek Cypriots' Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu speaks during an interview within the Antalya Diplomacy Forum at NEST International Convention Center in Antalya, Turkey on June 19, 2021.

ANTALYA, Turkey

There is no common ground between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriots, and the UN should recognize that during the second 5+1 Geneva talks, said the TRNC foreign minister.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum, Tahsin Ertugruloglu said the meeting held in late April was not "a new negotiation process," and only aimed at determining if there is a mutual understanding, allowing negotiations to begin.

The UN must see it "very clearly that there is no common ground anymore," he asserted, adding that he expects Jane Holl Lute, the UN special envoy on the Cyprus dispute, to highlight this in her report to the Security Council.

The TRNC will shape its policies according to the final decision from the UN after a second round of talks, he added.

The minister said that as long as the Greek side is treated as a "state" and the Turkish side as a "society," there will be no common ground to start any negotiation process.

"As long as they continue to be recognized as the Republic of Cyprus, they never foresee any power-sharing with the Turkish Cypriots ..." he said, arguing that in such circumstances, "no one should think of sitting down with us and establishing a new partnership in good faith."

"It is naive to expect a different result by repeating the same things," Ertugruloglu added.

Asked if better Turkey-Greece relations could affect the Cyprus issue positively, Ertugruloglu said he doubts Greece will approach Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots "sincerely" for improvement in ties.

The unofficial first 5+1 meeting – with both sides of the island, the guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and Britain, and the UN – was held in Geneva, Switzerland from April 27-29.

Turkish Cypriots expect nothing from EU

"For us, the European Union is not an impartial organization," said the minister, noting that the group lost its "neutral stand" "when they made the Greek Cypriot side a member of the union by violating its own laws, and membership conditions.

"It [EU] is one of the sides of the problem, a side against us," he said. "Therefore, we have no expectations from the European Union."

Partial reopening of Maras city

The minister said the partial reopening of Maras does not affect individual property rights of former owners, and all disputes shall be resolved according to international laws.

The city, which has been closed for nearly 50 years, needs infrastructure to be turned into a fully livable city, he said.

"Maras will turn into a living city under Turkish rule," Ertugruloglu said. "In other words, the return of Maras to the Greek side is out of the question."

Cyprus issue

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long struggle between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

The island has been divided since 1964, when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded in 1983.

The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the EU in 2004.

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