Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey has accused Greece of “fleeing” efforts to reunite Cyprus.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, was a little more diplomatic after the talks in Geneva failed to produce a settlement. He said that future negotiations should “find the ways and means so that both communities of this beautiful island will feel safe and secure.
“We need time. We can’t have everything on day one,”
He was talking to Geneva news at the time.
Since 1974 Cyprus has been partitioned into Greek zones and ethnic Turkish zones since Turkey sent troops to the country to put down a Greek Cypriot uprising that sought to form a union with Greece. Violence between the two has simmered since 1960, as power sharing has dwindled.
Erdogan has said he will leave Turkish troops their together to protect the minority ethnic Turks.
The focus of the latest talks has been the security of the two communities. Both sides want guarantees of safety. These talks are seen as the best opportunity to come to a settlement.
Erdogan said, “We have told Cyprus and Greece clearly that they should not expect a solution without Turkey as guarantor. We are going to be there forever,”
Cyprus gained independence from London in 1960. In the subsequent treaty, Greece, Turkey, and Britain were assigned “guarantor” powers. Greece wants to scrap this system as it believes Turkey abused it in its 1974 invasion. Currently Turkey has 30,000 troops stationed in the North.
The Turkish president said, “It is out of the question for Turkish soldiers to pull out completely, and we’ve discussed this before. If something like this is being considered, then both sides should pull their troops out of there.”
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said, “The fact that the U.N. 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,”
The talks are set to continue.