Northern Cyprus FM says Turkey will keep soldiers on island, remain as guarantor

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 22.06.2017 00:09

The foreign minister of Northern Cyprus, Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, said yesterday that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will be present in Cyprus and Turkey will remain a guarantor country, even after a possible solution is reached, referring to the condition of Turkey and Turkish soldiers in the upcoming June 28 Cyprus negotiations in Switzerland.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) in Ankara where he came to hold several official talks, Ertuğruloğlu highlighted the fact that Cypriot Turks and Greeks are old partners in the foundation of the Cyprus Republic.

Yet, he said, the main problem lies in the fact that the Greek Cypriots sees the Turks not as a partner, but as a minority, adding that it does not seem possible technically or diplomatically to have an agreement that is based on equality following a negotiations process that is based on inequality.

"If no agreement is going to be reached, the U.N. should officially declare this," Ertuğruloğlu said, adding that Cypriot Turks are the ones most desirous of an agreement.

Turkey and Turkish Cypriot delegations are meeting in Ankara today to give the final touches to the strategy that will be followed during the upcoming negotiations. During the talks in Ankara, the U.N. mediator's draft document on security and guarantees, which was presented to the parties yesterday, will also be evaluated. The draft does not include any solution offer.

Stating that the Greek side does not have the policy to put an end to the 50-year-long negotiation process, Ertuğruloğlu said that because of this, the Greeks are not aiming for a sincere negotiation process nor a mutually accepted agreement.

"In terms of the land and the guarantees, there is a play that is designed to put the Turkish side, Turkey and Turkish Cypriots into a difficult position. They create an atmosphere as if every issue has been agreed except the land and guarantees. The Greek side also tries to do that. U.N. Cyprus Special Consultant Eide's preparation of two separate documents on these issues show that Greeks are also fooled by this play," said Ertuğruloğlu, adding that in this way, the aim is to make Turkey abandon its guarantor position.

The Turkish side demands the continuation of its position as a guarantor and its military presence on the island following the solution. The Greek side, on the other hand, goes against Turkey's guarantor position, which allows Turkey to have a one-sided interference right as well as a military presence on Cyprus.

"They should know that Turkish Cypriots will not accept any formula except the guarantee of the motherland," Ertuğruloğlu said.

Cyprus negotiations that are being conducted under the surveillance of the U.N. will start on June 28 in Switzerland with the participation of guarantor countries Turkey, Greek and the U.K. alongside Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastadiadis.

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