The Collapse of the Talks to Reunify Cyprus Again: Who is to Blame?
Talks to reunify the divided island of Cyprus collapsed in the early hours of July 7. However, Greeks blamed Turks, Turks blamed Greeks for the result. So who is to blame for the collapse of the talks? You should decide better
“Unfortunately, the Greek Cypriot side did not take an expected constructive stance for a solution, given that it feels comfortable for being an European Union member,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said in Ankara on July 7, after the collapse was announced. He said the Turkish Cypriot side tried to remain constructive all from the beginning, accusing the 2004 move to accept Greek Cyprus as a full member of the EU of laying the foundation for the negative outcome at the talks. Turkey will do everything within the framework of international law to defend the rights of Turkish Cypriots, Yıldırım added.
“The Turkish Cypriot side has fulfilled all its duties at the bargaining table for a permanent and fair solution,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu added. “This outcome shows the impossibility of reaching a settlement within the parameters of the United Nation’s goodwill mission,” he said. He said the prime ministers of the grantor nations – Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom – would have been invited to the discussions in the Swiss Alps if there was a positive atmosphere. Çavuşoğlu stressed that Turkey now has to assess and decide its next steps to resolve the Cyprus issue.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı also criticized the Greek Cypriot side for the failure. “This chance we lost might hardly ever come again,” he said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t manage to complete the last trial of our generation to reunify the island successfully,” Akıncı told reporters. “At a point where both sides have lost, unfortunately, the talks failed,” he said. Akıncı said while the Turkish side was willing to take steps toward reducing the number of troops on the island, from the first day of the talks the Greek Cypriot side began with a “zero-troops” position. But the talks’ collapse was not only about the presence of Turkish soldiers on the island, he said. “This is not the end of the world. We will find a way to live with honor. We will manage this,” he added. Speaking about the idea of a rotating presidency, Akıncı said the Greek Cypriot side was against the idea but signaled it could accept it if the Turkish Cypriot side accepted having “zero troops” on the island.
According to the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, Ankara willfully “drove the Crans-Montana conference to an impasse” and revealed its true intention to perpetuate its military presence on the island, countering international law and the resolutions of the United Nations.
In a statement on Saturday, Greek Foreign Ministry accused Turkey of making promises in order to create a “false impression that it was ostensibly willing to negotiate.” But, it said, Ankara refused to put those promises down in writing.
The statement added that Turkey compromised the effort of the United Nation Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday to set down, in writing, the points of convergence that had been achieved, in order to shape a framework for an agreement so that conclusive negotiations could continue, with Greece’s consent, in New York. But, the statement said “when the critical moment was reached at the Conference, Turkey resolutely refused to allow a number of promises it had made to the Secretary-General to be set down in writing.”
This was when Turkey, Athens said, revealed its true aim, which was to secure “rights” of intervention. “As soon as Turkey was faced with the Secretary-General’s proposal for a binding written record of the potential compromises, it was forced to reveal and admit its real positions and intentions,” the statement said, “to continue the violations in the name of the Treaty of Guarantee, to ensure and perpetuate its military presence in Cyprus.” And it became evident, the statement read, that, throughout the duration of the multilateral negotiations, “Turkey had no intention of compromising.” “Turkey sought to deceive the UN Secretary-General. Immediately after these revelatory developments, the UN Secretary-General was forced to declare, in short order, that the Conference had ended,” the statement said.