Turkish Cypriot PM: Peace talks must yield results

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 11.03.2019 00:02

Any future talks on the Cyprus issue between the Greek and Turkish sides must be result-oriented and time-framed, the prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC] said on Saturday.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) in London, where he was attending various meetings, Tufan Erhurman said Turkish Cypriot leaders, cooperatively with the Turkish Republic, would not permit a time-wasting approach from Greek Cypriot officials for resolving a problem that has continued for more than four decades.

The Turkish Cypriot premier said the process that followed the rejection of the Annan Plan in 2004 by the Greek Cypriots did not work for the benefit of Turks at least in the middle term, even though the Turks said "yes" to it.

Underlining that the Turkish Cypriots together with the Turkish Republic have continued to search for a solution in the shortest time possible despite the Annan Plan's rejection, Erhurman said this process carried them to Crans-Montana, a Swiss town where negotiations for a solution on the island were held between May 2015 and July 2017.

"There was a reality accepted by all international actors in Crans-Montana: The Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish Republic exhibited a serious will, which even astonished the Greek Cypriots," he said.

"This will was for reaching a just and sustainable solution as soon as possible. However, the Greek Cypriot side, especially [Greek Cypriot leader] Nicos Anastasiades, displayed behavior that they did not come to Crans-Montana prepared for a solution there," he said.

Erhurman added that following the Crans-Montana talks, the Greek Cypriot leader started introducing various concepts.

"For the first time, the Greek Cypriot side gave messages to [U.N.] authorities [...] behind closed doors that they could discuss formulas such as a two-state solution and confederation," he said.

"They opened definitions such as ‘loose federation' or ‘decentralized federation' for discussion in public, and in a way, they scrambled up the situation," he added, referring to the Greek Cypriot side.

Erhurman said that following the Crans-Montana negotiations, the Turkish Cypriot side conveyed the message that if there would be a negotiation process from now on, it would be a result-oriented negotiation process and would have a time frame.

"This was also added in honorable [U.N.] Secretary-General [Antonio] Guterres's report as it is and, indeed, became the official position of the U.N.," he added.

Erhurman said the Greek Cypriot side has always had an understanding that holding longer talks on the Cyprus problem would work for their benefit.

"That's why we, as the Turkish Cypriot side, and in cooperation with the Turkish Republic, are determined not to give an opportunity to such a thing," he said.

LAST talks saw no progress Erhurman said some trust-building steps were taken in the latest talks, but no progress has been made toward resolving the problem.

"We, as the Turkish Cypriot side, are saying that our will is clear. We showed it in the Annan Plan and Crans-Montana.

If there would be negotiations for a solution in the earliest time possible with this method we are indicating, we are there. But if this does not happen, we have to focus on things we need to do for social and economic development of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus because we could not reach the state we desired in actions on [those] developments in this situation of uncertainty that went on for all those years as we waited for a solution to the Cyprus problem," he added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent yea

rs, including the latest initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K. collapsing in 2017. In his latest report published January, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also reiterated he has confidence that "prospects remain alive for a comprehensive settlement within a foreseeable horizon."

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