Ankara thwart­ing Cyprus deal

Tur­key’s FM in­sists re­moval of its troops from is­land as part of any deal is a non-starter

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

With the Cyprus Con­fer­ence at the Swiss re­sort of Cras Mon­tana in its sec­ond week, there were no signs, at least un­til yes­ter­day, of a break­through that could lead to a deal to re­unify the eth­ni­cally-di­vided is­land.

If any­thing, there was gloom as Tur­key’s For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu was em­phatic yes­ter­day in his re­it­er­a­tion that the key de­mand of Greece and the Greek Cypri­ots for the with­drawal of Turk­ish troops from the is­land as part of any agree­ment, is a “non­starter” for Ankara.

Speak­ing to re­porters, Cavu­soglu said that any­one be­liev­ing that Tur­key will re­move its troops as part of any deal to re­unify Cyprus un­der a fed­eral um­brella is “dream­ing” and should “wake up.”

Cavu­soglu has also re­jected the other key Greek de­mand for the abo­li­tion of the “anachro­nis­tic” sys­tem of guar­an­tees that grants rights of in­ter­ven­tion to third coun­tries. When asked by Greek For­eign Min­is­ter Nikos Kotzias on Mon­day night why Ankara in­sists on re­tain­ing the sys­tem, Cavu­soglu, re­port­edly, said: “We want to re­tain rights of in­ter­ven­tion so we can use them.” The right of in­ter­ven­tion, he added, will re­main un­til Turk­ish Cypri­ots feel safe.

For his part, Kotzias ap­peared un­fazed with what Greeks de­scribe as Turk­ish in­flex­i­bil­ity.

“I think that the Turks are very ner­vous, and we are very deter­mined,” he said, as the Greek de­mand to abol­ish the sys­tem of guar­an­tees has also been backed by the UK, which, along with Greece and Tur­key, are the is­land’s guar­an­tor pow­ers. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Euro­pean Union, UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res are also toe­ing the same line.

Mean­while, Athens pre­sented its po­si­tions yes­ter­day on what a set­tle­ment would look like in terms of se­cu­rity ar­range­ments.

Among its pro­pos­als is a “sun­set clause” which would state the pre­cise date when the last Turk­ish sol­dier leaves the is­land. It also pro­posed the cre­ation of a mech­a­nism to mon­i­tor the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an agree­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Greece, the mech­a­nism will in­volve the UN and not the guar­an­tor pow­ers. Athens has also called a friend­ship treaty to be signed be­tween Tur­key, Greece and Cyprus that will deal with is­sues such as mi­gra­tion, ter­ror­ism and oth­ers.

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