Turkey tough­ens stance

Athens claims high ground as Er­do­gan warns troops will stay on Cyprus ‘for­ever’

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Turkey’s dis­missal of the de­mand for a full with­drawal of its forces from di­vided Cyprus in the event of a set­tle­ment, and its over­all at­ti­tude at the in­ter­na­tional sum­mit in Geneva on Thurs­day, con­firmed, Athens claimed yes­ter­day, Ankara’s un­will­ing­ness to be con­struc­tive in the bid for a so­lu­tion.

“We told them clearly. When it comes to guar­an­tees and se­cu­rity, do not ex­pect Turkey not to be in­cluded. We will stay there for­ever,” Er­do­gan told re­porters.

Turk­ish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci echoed sim­i­lar thoughts, say­ing that if one side de­mands “no sol­diers” as part of a deal, then there may be no room for ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The UN-hosted talks in Geneva ended on Thurs­day with a pledge that they will con- tinue be­tween tech­ni­cal groups from both sides of the di­vide to tackle the thorny is­sue of post-set­tle­ment se­cu­rity.

Greek govern­ment of­fi­cials ap­peared con­fi­dent yes­ter­day that the Greek side won the moral high ground, as it was the one, they said, that showed a clear in­tent to find a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able so­lu­tion. Sources told Kathimerini that Athens asked for the po­lit­i­cal ne­go­ti­a­tions to con­tinue yes­ter­day, but Turkey re­fused. The same sources said that Turkey’s re­fusal was an ef­fort to de­fer the dis­cus­sion of se­cu­rity and guar­an­tees to a later phase.

De­spite Er­do­gan’s re­marks, Cyprus Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades said yes­ter­day he ex­pects the tech­ni­cal groups to aim for se- cu­rity ar­range­ments that will be “rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent” from present ones on the is­land. “The fact that the UN an­nounce­ment out­lines a clear in­tent by par­tic­i­pants to reach a mu­tu­ally ac­cept­able so­lu­tion on the se­cu­rity and guar­an­tee is­sues is a man­date to the work­ing groups to process new forms [of guar­an­tees], ac­cept­able and rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent from the guar­an­tee sys­tem of 1960,” he said. Both Athens and Ni­cosia also also wel­comed the sub­mis­sion of a map on Wed­nes­day by Turk­ish Cypri­ots – for the first since the 1974 Turk­ish in­va­sion – with the pro­posed ter­ri­to­rial ad­just­ments. Anas­tasi­ades said that al­though the map sub­mit­ted by the Turk­ish Cypri­ots did not live up to ex­pec­ta­tions, it con­sti­tuted a ba­sis for ne­go­ti­a­tion.

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