Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated on Tuesday that any reunification of Cyprus is off the table of any peace talks that may occur in the future.
He added that any deal brokered in the future regarding the island, which was invaded by Turkish troops in 1974, should be negotiated between “two equal, sovereign states.”
Making his remarks after speaking with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, the Foreign Minister’s stance will be problematic, considering the upcoming United Nations meetings which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans on holding next month on the issue of Cyprus.
Greek Cypriots are completely opposed to any deal that would lend legitimacy to the occupied northern part of the island. At present, the nation of Turkey alone, apart from every nation on the globe, recognizes the statehood of what it calls the “Republic of Northern Cyprus.”
Any two-state solution, in which there are two permanent separate zones within a federated Cyprus, will not work, according to Cavusoglu.
He told Greek Cypriots bluntly that they must find a way to accept the “de facto situation” on Cyprus and all future negotiations must be on the basis of a mutually-recognized “sovereign equality” which would result in a two-state deal.
He stated, “There are already two communities on the island of Cyprus, two peoples, two states. So there is a de facto situation whether they recognize it or not. This needs to be formalized.”
The hardliner Tatar, who won the election last year to become the leader of occupied northern Cyprus, gave his full support to Cavusoglu’s position.
In contrast, the UN Secretary-General stated last week that the UN must consider federation as the basis of any future agreement; this is what the two parties agreed upon many years ago.
However, Guterres opened up a crack in this stance when he added that the guarantor powers of Cyprus — including Greece, Turkey and Great Britain — are allowed to put forth any recommendations regarding what they think is the best way forward.
The UN chief stated, “The fact that I stick to the mandate I received doesn’t mean that I’m not open to listen to everybody and to take the conclusions of that discussion, based on whatever the parties can come to a common view about the future.”
Cavusoglu reiterated his complaint that the Greek Cypriots are unwilling to share in the potential windfalls coming out of hydrocarbon reserves in the seabed around the island nation.
The government of Cyprus has already stated that it will not negotiate the country’s sovereign rights with the powers governing occupied northern Cyprus before any peace deal is arrived at; however it pledges that Turkish Cypriots will receive their fair share of any oil and gas revenue after any accord is signed.