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Cyprus President Accuses Turkey of Envisioning New Ottoman Empire

Cyprus Turkey
President Nicos Anastasiades. Credit: Republic of Cyprus Presidency

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades took a swipe at Turkey and the “arrogance of those who envision a new Ottoman empire” in a televised address on Easter Sunday.

Speaking about the failed UN-sponsored informal talks on Cyprus in Geneva last week, he accused Turkey and Turkish Cypriots who are trying to rewrite international law by ignoring the UN resolutions and EU policy on the reunification of the island.

“At the informal Geneva summit, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership recorded a new ‘historic’ performance, as they called it,” said Anastasiades.

“In defiance of the UN Charter, UN resolutions and decisions, in defiance of the EU, they asked the UN Secretary-General to become an accomplice to their own illegal actions, claiming recognition of the sovereignty of the subordinate of Turkey.”

The President said this claim was not only contrary to international law and the UNSG’s mandate but was also contrary to the wishes of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

He went on to say how he had opposed all of this during the Geneva meeting, which failed over three days last week to find common ground for new negotiations.

Cyprus to oppose attempts to legitimize Turkey’s actions

“At the end of the conference, I expressed my satisfaction with the successful management of the crisis and I wish I could have expressed satisfaction with the results of the meeting. Unfortunately, the Turkish Cypriot leadership, led by Turkey, did not allow this,” he added.

Anastasiades said he wanted to make it clear in all directions that as much as the Greek Cypriot side wants an honest compromise, “we are just as determined to reject any proposal or attempt to legitimize Turkey’s actions.”

To pursue a peaceful option, Cyprus would take advantage of every European and international means and mobilize every friendly country. He would be briefing EU leaders on the new Turkish challenges, he said.

“In the coming weeks we will launch an international campaign on the need to respect and implement the decisions of the Security Council and the terms of reference of the UN Secretary-General,” Anastasiades said, adding that he hoped for the full support of the political parties in this.

Addressing the Turkish Cypriots, he said the status quo was unacceptable for both communities. “The bottom line is that it does not lead to a solution in which, together as European citizens, we can enjoy the benefits of peace, security and prosperity.

“That is why, with all due respect, I call on you to unite to fight for our homeland, Cyprus which we both love.”

Failure in Geneva

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres admitted last Thursday that the informal talks held in Geneva had failed to find common ground.

“The truth is that in the end of our efforts, we have not yet found enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations in relation to the settlement of the Cyprus problem,” Guterres said. “But I do not give up.”

In the aftermath of the talks’ failure to reach any common ground, Anastasiades put the blame flatly on Turkey’s two-state demand.

“There is not one single chance of Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot side succeeding in this. This was something which was pointed out by the (United Nations) Secretary-General,” Anastasiades told reporters in Geneva.

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