NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Turkey’s new push for separate Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot states on ethnically divided Cyprus shows a desire to control the whole of the east Mediterranean island nation, the Cypriot Cypriot president charged Friday.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, President Nicos Anastasiades blasted the “absurdity” of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot arguments that efforts to reunify Cyprus as a federation — in line with UN decisions — have been exhausted.
“The narrative ... (that) all efforts to reaching a compromise have failed and we should seek solutions outside the UN framework reinforces the valid arguments that Turkey’s end game is not to solve (the island's partition), but to turn Cyprus into its protectorate,” Anastasiades said.
Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent state in the island's northern third nearly a decade later, that only Turkey recognizes. Ankara maintains more than 35,000 troops in the north and financially props up the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots argue that nearly half a century of talks to reunify Cyprus as a single federal entity made up of Greek and Turkish speaking administrations have gone nowhere, and that a two-state deal is now the only way forward.
The majority Greek Cypriots insist a federation is the only feasible option for peace to take root. They strongly object to Turkish and Turkish Cypriot demands for a permanent Turkish troop presence, the right for Turkey to militarily intervene, as well as Turkish Cypriot veto powers on all matters of state.
“It is not my intention to engage in a blame game, but I cannot leave unnoticed the absurdity of the Turkish rhetoric," Anastasiades said.
Anastasiades said he remains committed to resuming peace talks that have remained deadlocked since 2017 when the last major push at a deal that brought together the foreign ministers of Cyprus' ‘guarantors’ — Greece, Turkey and Britain — collapsed.